Ever wondered what Microsoft’s canceled version of Windows for the Surface Duo was going to be like? Well wonder no more, as we’ve got a first hands-on look at a pre-release build from mid-2018 running on a Lumia 950. We’ve already shown you what Andromeda OS looked like in recreated mockups, so now it’s time to see the real thing running on video.
The idea of using a blank canvas for writing as the homescreen is fascinating, but it’s definitely not the first time this has been tried. In fact, one sure way to ensure your mobile platform will fail, is to build it around the notepad interface. It didn’t work for PenPoint OS, it didn’t work for Apple’s Newton, and it didn’t work for any other attempts either.
People simply do not want to do handwriting on a computer. It’s been tried over and over, and people just don’t like it. The only platform which has been able to sort of make handwriting work is Palm OS, but that’s a misnomer since Palm’s Graffiti was a standardised character set you had to learn – it didn’t recognise handwriting at all.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but believe it or not I still take handwritten notes on old-school paper for things like grocery lists and at meetings. I find using touch screen keyboards is just too tedious for input. Even when I need something on the phone I’ll type it on a desktop first and email it to myself so I can avoid the inefficiency of touch screen keyboards.
Hypothetically if I had a device that took hand written notes as well as paper it could replace paper for me. I’ve even tried buying generic capacitive pens for generic android phones but I came away very disappointed. They felt awful, like a blunt and rubbery feeling of an eraser instead of the crisp feeling of a pencil or smooth feeling of a pen. I imagine if I bought a high end phone or tablet designed for artistic work that would probably make a big difference, but I’m too price sensitive to spend a lot of money for a phone.
I did find microsoft’s fold-able tablet ideas intriguing. While I don’t think pens can revolutionize mainstream phones, I do think there is appeal for a pen that is cheap and actually works well.