mightier than the sword

Any pen or pencil is a stylus to this Lenovo tablet

Lenovo’s Yoga 2 tablet may have been announced back in October, but the kickstand-equipped tablet is showing off a new trick this week at CES in Las Vegas: It doesn’t need a stylus because any conductive material — like the point of a pencil — can be used to to interact with its touchscreen.

Lenovo calls this feature “AnyPen,” and it’s only available on a special-edition Lenovo Yoga 2 running Windows for now, and only on the 8-inch model. It’s hard to determine what technology enables this feature, but any conductor, even objects like scissors or a screwdriver, can be used as a pointing device. If non-stylus pen support ends up being a largely Lenovo-exclusive feature, I can see it being a major reason to pick up one of the company’s tablets.

Even if you’re not interested in using your junky old pens as a stylus, the special-edition Lenovo Yoga 2 may be a good value. It’s an unusually shaped tablet, with Lenovo’s chunky wedge kickstand hiding a 64oo mAh battery. It’s got a 1920 x 1200 screen that’s powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor. The special edition will cost $299 when it goes on sale later this month — or $20 more than Yoga 2 tablets without the AnyPen technology.

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Most tablet styluses are capacitive pens, which simply mimic your finger. Others, like the pen that comes with the Windows-running Surface Pro 3, have buttons and require your tablet to have a built-in active digitizer. One thing all stylus-equipped touch devices have in common is indecision on how to incorporate the pen into what should be a thin and light device. Microsoft has an external loop accessory for its Surface pen (although it’s sold separately). Samsung’s Galaxy Note Tab line of Android tablets has a built-in stylus slot, but the holster increases the volume of the device.

Sure, most tablet styli are only used to circle things, but there’s a still a large contingent that appreciates clicking with a writing implement — especially for the desktop version of Windows that might have small points that users need to click on.

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5 Responses to “Any pen or pencil is a stylus to this Lenovo tablet”

  1. It’s a bit sad to read this article. Clearly a wood enshrouded pencil is not conductive. If it were what ever technology they are using simply work with a pencil while still requiring “any conductive material”. It probably uses a pressure sensitive screen.

    • Well, I’m pretty sure that it’s not a resistive screen (what I assume you mean by “pressure sensitive”) and I’m pretty sure the graphite in a pencil is conductive. Maybe you should check to see if there’s lead in your pencil or if you’re just poking with a stick.

  2. Yash Bhardwaj

    How is that supposed to be a big thing? Samsung has already put that in its devices. Just increase the touch sensitivity and you’ll be able to use anything as a styles for your phone or tablet.