PDA/Smart Phone & styli (styluses?)

Back around 2002 my workplace loaned out Palmpilots to those of us who thought we could use them. I’m not a technophobe but I won’t spend cash on stuff unless I’m confident that I’ll find it useful. I had contemplated getting a Palmpilot at that time but, for the reason stated, didn’t make the leap until this workplace opportunity came up. I took one and found it sufficiently useful that I bought one for myself out of my own pocket.

For me the big positive was the user interface using the stylus. I had been given an electronic address book/agenda thing a few years earlier but found it completely useless (the miniature QWERTY keypad just doesn’t do it for me). Subsequent workplaces have had security restrictions regarding electronic devices and, since 2006, I was forced back into paper agenda books and calendars etc. I can now use them again but my last Palm is dying blah blah blah and I want to replace it. But - it seems that nothing out there uses a stylus anymore.

Do any of you know if anything out there use a stylus interface or has that been rendered obsolete?


most smartphones now (aside from crappy Windows Mobile 6.x ones) use capacitive touchscreens which won’t work with a traditional stylus. There do exist stylus…es that work with capacitive screens, but I don’t think any smartphones come with one.

HTC, which makes some nice phones including the Android-powered Evo 4G, sells a stylus for capacitive touchscreens. They also still sell some models with non-capacitive screens, which come with an old-fashioned stylus.


A stylus really is helpful for drawing or handwriting on a touchscreen, especially a capacitive screen where you sometimes wish you could use the edge or back of a fingernail for more accuracy.

I’ve owned three Palm Pilots (Pro, V, and M505) and didn’t mind the stylus at all. I got pretty adept at Palm’s Graffiti handwriting recognition and the stylus just made sense on a small screen. Kept the display clean of fingerprints too.

I used to feel the same way – Graffiti was great – but the latest smartphone keyboards really aren’t as bad as they used to be, thanks to predictive input and smart auto-corrections. Have you tried one lately?

Also, Android (and maybe iPhone?) makes it really easy to input all your contacts/calendar events/todo lists etc. on a computer and have it automatically synced to your phone.

I like graffiti - I’ve still got a Palm Treo Pro which, although it is terrible in many ways, has a stylus and supports graffiti. The key advantage of grafitti over qwerty is that when you get good at it, you can do it entirely by feel, so you can take notes or transcribe text without looking at the device.

Grafitti is available for android now (finger-based) - not sure how good it is.

I hated the newer version of Graffiti - while they tried to make it more like handwriting vs. the older version where you had to fake out some letters, I found it much harder to make some letters and never could get it to do punctuation.

I tried a stylus for my iPod Touch because I’ve got fat fingers, but the styluses that are out there are just as fat as my fingers. I wish they had ones with more precision! Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had unintentional carriage returns / capitalization, not to mention incorrect auto-correct! I find that autocorrect really makes things quite a bit harder, since so often it’s wrong.

iPhone as well. We had to go through a couple of steps to transfer all of our Palm stuff to a Google account (including for the calendar, having to upload it to Yahoo first of all things), and we did lose some details along the way and had to do quite a bit of cleanup once it was all in Google - but then I set up both of our iTouches to sync to that Google calendar/contacts and oh boy it’s WONDERFUL. Things one of us puts in automagically appear on the other one’s calendar, for example. That’s a feature Palm never incorporated (some third parties tried, but neither of the solutions we tried worked all that well).

But as noted: we can input the stuff into the calendar / contacts list on the computer; that’s where we did the vast majority of the data corrections.

I have a smartphone but I was still faster with the original Graffiti. I will admit that they’ve gotten better.

I don’t think that’s much of an issue with any smartphone OS anymore. Even the pile of hatred and misery that is Windows Mobile can sync Outlook contacts easily.

and the HTC Sync app that came with my Incredible does this also.

Thanks for that everyone. All good stuff to consider. I currently have a Palm Tungsten and, using Teal script, modified my Graffiti to be more useful for me. Unfortunately my display has developed some “dead” spots over time. The drawing feature is something I actually use a lot, for quick and dirty maps and directions etc.

You might try the Palm Dr and keep your Tungsten going a bit longer. He does a nice trade repairing and even modding Palm PDAs for extra functionality.