Sup everyone, this is my first real post on this site, and I thought I would address a recurring topic on the adam, which is an active versus passive digitizer. First, it's important to understand the actual difference between an active and passive digitizer. If you do not know, or are not completely sure of what an active digitizer actually is, then you should read the following passage
The big argument here is that an active digitizer will be a good addition to the adam, because we will be able to have handwriting recognition, as well as "accurate" pen dictation for uses such as sketching/drawing, jotting down notes, etc. However, I'm not really sure people realize just how "unreliable" (for lack of a better term) the experience with an active digitizer actually is. I have a HP touchsmart tx2 1025dx, a convertible tablet/laptop, which has an ntrig active digitizer (as well as capacitive touch screen capability). For this reason, I can say from experience, how this feature would be if it were put onto the adam.Originally Posted by brennanyama
In short, I literally NEVER use the pen for any kind of dictation with the computer. Handwriting recognition is literally a joke, it takes the thing around 1-2 seconds to render your input into a word, and it needs to do this for every single word your write. As for general scribbling of handwritten notes--it's completely inferior to typing in terms of speed and readability. Really, the only time the pen has ever come in handy for me (as a student) is was is for writing directly on in lecture slides; however, even this is a silly application of the technology. While the pen input is moderately accurate, it is far from perfect, you still need to write slowly, or else your words will skew and you will have one straight line where your text should have been. Using a real pen, with real paper, is literally 3-4 times faster (and MUCH easier to read), and obviously way more accurate. Even a resistive screen is a far better more accurate alternative. In true reality, an active digitizer with a pen is just a crumb ahead of being useless in practical computing applications. Also, one needs to realize that (1) a pen slot takes up valuable room for hardware components, (2) looks ugly, and (3) is subject to being dropped and lost.
I already know many will pose the argument "well the adam doesn't have a keyboard, so an active digitizer is the next best thing!". While it is true that an active digitizer is superior to a passive one in terms of accuracy, I'm here to tell you--it's still next to useless. A touchscreen is great for panning, zooming, and other similar dictations with the computer (all of which can be accomplished with a passive capacitive screen), but in terms of handwriting recognition and/or handwriting in general, it frankly sucks. I assure you, a well coded, practical, user-friendly, on-screen keyboard, will be a much faster (and neater) method of dictation than writing with a pen. Also, active digitizers eat the battery faster, and are significantly more expensive. And if you want to dictate REALLY quickly with your adam, it comes equipped with bluetooth 2.1 and multiple USB ports so you can go out and purchase a portable keyboard (a bluetooth one for the tech geeks), for the same price as the price increase would be for having an active digitizer I know I'm going to.
While I know the culture of being a tech geek is "the ability for a device to do something really cool, more so than the actual practicality of that feature", I'm going to make a game call here, and say that the bads of an active digitizer outweigh the goods. I assure you, if an active digitizer gave the amazing, accurate, lightning-fast experience that everyone (who never actually tried using one before) makes it out to be, it would be on the iPad, wetab, galaxytab, eeePad, (lol) all the other capacitive tablets on the market. But the bottom line is that none of them do--they all have passive capacitive screens, and there's good reason for that. Active digitizers, are slow, power hungry, unreliable, expensive, bulky, and carry almost zero benefit. A short compilation of the pros and cos are below:
Pros of an active digitizer:
-More accurate (smooth handwriting recognition, better inking and drawing)
-You can "hover" the pen over the screen
Cons of an active digitizer:
-Bulky (making the adam fatter)
-The special stylus is fat (takes up a lot of room on the adam if a storage port is added), and subject to being lost
-Handwriting recognition at it's best, is still inferior to an on-screen/physical keyboard in terms of speed
So to sum it all up--active digitizer on the adam? A big fat NO for me. It might be a leg up in terms of features it has over the iPad, but it's an ugly leg, one which will be left docked in the stylus port once people start to realize how useless it is. Change is important, and is the entire concept of the adam, but change for the worse is certainly something we want to avoid...and I'm betting that bonus mystery feature will be more than enough to knock steve jobs off his high chair for the time being.
Discuss? Vote above ^^^