S Pen Stories July 2, 2018

We now know that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 unveiling is just a few weeks away, and ahead of the event, we’re continually learning more about the company’s upcoming flagship. Now, a new report is giving us a few new details about the upgraded S-Pen.

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S Pen Stories December 28, 2016

A sketchy report reveals that Samsung may offer an external S-Pen accessory for the Galaxy S8

Following the demise of the Galaxy Note 7, fans of Samsung’s smartphones were left without many viable replacements. For most, the Galaxy S7 family was the best bet since it offered most of the same features, except for one — the S-Pen.

S Pen Stories June 6, 2016

Note 7

The follow-up to the Galaxy Note 5, America’s most loved phone, is coming.

There is a lot of confusion regarding both its name and the various potential shapes it is to come to the market with, but reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer is continuously cluing us in, this time with new high-resolution images…

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S Pen Stories January 18, 2016

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It is very easy to permanently damage the Samsung Galaxy Note 5—so easy, in fact, that inserting the S Pen backwards would physically break the stylus detection mechanism. Five months after the issue first surfaced, Phandroid is reporting that Samsung has made a small hardware fix to address the problem.

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S Pen Stories September 10, 2015

samsung-apple-jibe

Leading up to Apple’s eagerly anticipated keynote presentation last night, Sony had a jab prepared for the iPhone-makers before they unveiled the iPhone 6s, Apple TV and iPad Pro. It seems, however, Sony wasn’t the only manufacturer attempting to rain on Apple’s parade. Arguably Apple’s biggest competitor, Samsung had a few of its own jibes to share with us and took to its UK Twitter handle to publish them…

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S Pen Stories August 25, 2015

I’m sure by now, you’ve all heard about Samsung’s “design flaw” with the Galaxy Note 5. If you stick the S Pen in backwards, which you should obviously NOT DO, it will get stuck and in most cases damage the S Pen detection mechanism. Please don’t do this. It’s not a fun experiment and you will likely ruin your $800+ smartphone to a point where it’s not fixable. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

On that note, I was curious to find out why this permanently damages the Note 5, so in the name of science I decided to do some research. Thanks to my friends over at uBreakiFix, we now have some pretty interesting teardown photos of a Galaxy Note 5 that suffered from this issue and an explanation on exactly what happens when you stick the S Pen in backwards…

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Samsung dismisses Galaxy Note 5 stylus flaw concerns in statement

Yesterday Android communities around the web were ablaze with discussion surrounding a flaw in the design of the stylus eject mechanism in Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 5 smartphone. Put simply, if you insert the S Pen stylus into the device slot from one end, all is well. Accidentally insert the pen from its opposite end, however, and risk permanently breaking functionality key to the Note 5’s power-user selling points — the device will no longer detect when you remove the pen. Samsung has responded quite bluntly.

In a comment to The Verge, the company essentially says that owners should just insert the S Pen from the end they want you to:

“We highly recommend our Galaxy Note5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

Here’s our explanation of the problem from yesterday (emphasis mine):

When working correctly, the S Pen detection feature will launch a note taking app when the pen is removed while the display is powered off. When powered on, the detection feature automatically launches the S Pen menu when the Pen is removed. After inserting the Pen in backwards, however, these detection features no longer work. Our own Dom Esposito fell victim to this flaw and was not able to get his S-Pen detection features working again.

While the obvious solution to this problem is to not insert the Pen backwards, it’s a common mistake that will likely plague a decent amount of Galaxy Note 5 users. The biggest problem is that the Pen goes in backwards with zero added force, meaning that it’s incredibly easy to mindlessly put it in the wrong way.

From these comments it doesn’t appear that Samsung has any intention of recalling customer devices or fixing the problem in new units in any way at all. It also seems, however, that the company was well aware of this problem before the phone’s consumer release, since a cautionary warning about the issue is right there in the device’s user manual (we haven’t been able to determine whether or not the manual included this prior to the controversy or was updated afterwards):

S Pen Stories August 24, 2015

One of the features Samsung highlighted when it unveiled the Galaxy Note 5 was the device’s new S Pen slot design. The Note 5 features a spring-loaded mechanism to eject the Pen, which also is flush into the body at all time. This evening, however, several Galaxy Note 5 users started noticing a major flaw with the new slot design. If you accidentally insert the S Pen backwards into the slot, your Note 5 can be permanently damaged.

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S Pen Stories July 18, 2015

Galaxy Note 5 S-Pen leaks, it’s all shiny [Gallery]

While there are tons of phablets on the market now, Samsung still manages to remain unique by equipping its Note series handsets with the versatile S-Pen. In my experience, it’s been great for making quick notes or grabbing quick screenshots to edit and share. It goes without saying then, that the Galaxy Note 5 will also ship with the advanced stylus. Judging from these most recent leaks, it’s going to be much shinier than previous versions and could have a press-able, or clickable end at the top.

Take a look at the pictures below. They were originally shared on Chinese social media site, Weibo and picked up by Steve Hemmerstoffer at NWE. If you look closely at the two images showing the top end of the S-Pen, you’ll clearly see that the gap between the end and the main shaft of the stylus is bigger in one than the other.

If I had to guess as to why it was designed this way, I’d suggest that it’s almost certainly to help release the S-Pen from its silo. The way the phone has been designed (based on leaks) suggests that the stylus sits flush with the metal chassis of the smartphone. Case leaks have suggested that there’s not going to be any special room left for you to pry the stylus out with your fingernail. So, perhaps the end of the pen — when pressed — clicks and extends, so that you can easily remove the S-Pen from the body of the phone.

Other possibilities are easily eliminated. It’s clearly not replacing the Air Command button, since that’s still built in to the shaft of the pen. And it doesn’t extend the tip of the S-Pen either, since that’s ever-present, and visible in the photos, regardless of whether or not the top end is extended.

Rumors so far have indicated we’ll see this new Galaxy Note 5 launch alongside a Galaxy S6 Edge+ at the end of August. Both devices will essentially look like the S6 and S6 Edge, except much larger and with the inclusion of this redesigned stylus.

S Pen Stories October 23, 2014

Note 4 and Edge design choices as much about feel as look, says Samsung

Explaining some of the design choices behind the recently-released Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge, which Samsung dubs ‘Modern Sleek,’ the company said in a blog post that feel was as important as look.

Modern Sleek is not just about being modern, but also being warm and emotional. One thing the designers did not want to do was to use metal and give out the sense that the device is too hard and cold. That’s why the soft cover has a leather pattern – of the finest leather from Togo, which is considered to have one of the best feeling.

Feel was also key to the new S Pen, said the piece, involving changes to both hardware and software.

If you try out the S Pen of the Galaxy Note 4, you will definitely notice the difference. It will feel much smoother and more natural, just like handwriting. […] The designers tried using numbers of materials for the tip of the S Pen for the right feeling [and] it even recognizes how much the pen is tilted so that users can control the thickness of the writing.

Details like the curvature radius of the Edge were trickier than expected.

Finding the right curvature rate for the Edge Screen was one of the most challenging parts, [needing] to look clear from every angle [and] give the right sense of grip.

The video (in Korean with English subtitles) has a fairly cringeworthy fake interview style, but we can’t argue with the results.

S Pen Stories October 6, 2014

Note-S-Pen

There are plenty of big smartphones on the market now, but Samsung wants to remind you what makes its Note product line unique. Today, the company released a new promo video outlining some the special features that can be performed with the Galaxy Note 4’s S Pen. Features like Capture and Share, Link to Related apps and Phone Note are among some of the highlights of this new promo piece.

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S Pen Stories August 25, 2014

Samsung posts second ‘Ready to note’ teaser video ahead of next week’s launch of Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Mobile has posted to its YouTube channel a second teaser video for the Galaxy Note 4, due to be launched on 3rd September at IFA in Berlin, with satellite events in New York and Beijing. Both videos highlight the S Pen that sets it apart from other tablets.

The first video focused on the concept of saving handwriting from being a lost art, while this new one showcases some of the other uses of the pen, from annotating maps through playing games, editing photos to typing on a keyboard.

If an early posting on an Indonesian retail site is genuine, the Note 4 will have a 5.7-inch 1440×2560 Super AMOLED display, a quad-core Snapdragon 805 (with a second version substituting an Exynos 5433) and 4GB of RAM. A separate report says that it will have a 16MP camera with a capacitive touch shutter button.

We’ll find out for sure in nine days on 3rd September.

S Pen Stories August 27, 2013

Samsung launches child-friendly Galaxy Tab 3 Kids

If you have young kids, and you have a tablet, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve held your breath while they use it. Samsung has today launched a special kids version of the Tab 3 in an easy-to-grip casing with recessed screen, and preloaded with children’s apps.

The tablet is supplied with an S Pen variant called the C Pen to allow kids to draw on the screen. Apps include education, gaming, entertainment, and e-book reading, and there are parental controls to allow parents to set specific times when the tablet can be used (so no sneaking it under the covers after bedtime!).

Pricing and availability for the U.S. and Europe haven’t yet been announced, but is expected to be available sometime in the next quarter at around $200. Specs are unexciting, but should be plenty good enough for its intended purpose.

Press release below:

Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids comes pre-loaded with top ranked kid’s apps and brand new Kid’s Store aimed at driving the educational possibilities of technology for kids. Pre-loaded content includes educational, games, entertainment and e-book apps. The tablet also offers parents the ability to select the apps they want their kids to have access to using the Application Manager.

Developed with kids’ best interests at the forefront, Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids also includes a Time Management feature that allows parents to set specific time periods for use. When the designated use time is up, a password protected lock screen appears, requiring a parent or adult to enter the password to unlock the device. This tool will help parents ensure the time their children spend on smart devices is balanced.

With 1.2GHz dual processor, 1GB RAM, 3 megapixel front-facing camera and 1.3 megapixel rear-facing camera, Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids has the power and performance you would expect from a Samsung GALAXY tablet, designed to provide kids with an exciting, interactive experience.

A Kids Case featuring a kids-friendly grip and multiple stand options will also be available for the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids. The case also comes equipped with an easy-to-grip C Pen, providing fun drawing capabilities without the possibility of leaving marks on other objects.

The Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids will be available in Korea in early September and subsequently available across China, Europe, U.S., Africa, South America and South East Asia. The availability of applications through Kids Samsung Apps will vary by market.

S Pen Stories July 10, 2012

AT&T made things official this morning for Samsung Galaxy Note users by announcing the availability of an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update and Premium Suite from Samsung. While most of us know what to expect with ICS, the Premium Suite will give you access to a number of apps and new features including: the S Note app, which is a widget for quick access to S Memo features, and an app for creating customized notes and greeting cards with S Pen called “My Story”. AT&T also confirmed ICS for the Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

The update is a little hairier than most with the requirement that you connect your device to your Mac or PC and the Kies application. From there, you are hard resetting your device and will lose stuff like Bluetooth devices, Music playlists and apps folders.

The update is available now from Samsung, while a description of the new S Pen capabilities thanks to S Note is below in the full press release:

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S Pen Stories April 23, 2012

As part of the Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen App Challenge, the company handed out $200,000 in cash prizes to mobile developers in the United States. The awards went to apps that made particular good use of the Galaxy Note’s S Pen stylus. The best overall app and grand prize of $100,000 went to “Monkey Write * Learn Chinese” by Chiu-ki Chan (Square Island LLC).

Other winners include second place best overall app “Maze Racer” with developer SmartyPantsGaming taking home $50,000, and third place best overall app “Drawing Pad” grabbing $25,000.

Popular Choice app went to SignDoc Mobile. It received $2,000 along with the rest of the honorable mention winners below: expand full story

S Pen Stories March 27, 2012

We are not entirely sure if Samsung was behind this footage of an elephant playing with the Galaxy Note, but it could very well fit into an upcoming advertisement. The elephant does not make much use of the Note’s S Pen stylus, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Go past the break for outtakes of Peter the Elephant playing drums and piano on the device.

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S Pen Stories November 28, 2011

We originally got our first look at “S Choice” apps running on the new 5.3-inch Galaxy Note when Samsung showed off a selection of apps designed specifically for the device’s S Pen stylus at the launch event in London. While they already had a handful of apps including OmniSketch and Soonr Workplace up and running, the S Pen SDK (version 1.0) is now available for developers interested in creating their own applications optimized for S Pen.

Available from the Samsung Dev Tools portal here, the S Pen SDK allows you to create backgrounds for drawing with a ‘CanvasView’ feature, create panels for adjusting settings like line color an opacity with the ‘Pen Setting Popup’ feature, create panels for adjusting eraser widget with the ‘Eraser Setting Popup’ tool, and enable undo and redo. Screenshots after the break.

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S Pen Stories October 28, 2011

Samsung wrapped up their Galaxy event in London last night (above) where they made a November 3rd UK launch date official for the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and also gave us a closer look into the S-Pen SDK and “S Choice” apps designed specifically for the Note’s built-in Wacom digitizer stylus tech.

Among the “S Choice” apps that will be available upon launch include OmniSketch, Zen Brush, ComicBook!, iAnnotate PDF, ZigZag virtual whiteboard, and Soonr Workplace. The majority of these apps are art-focused sketching, animation, and annotation apps, but Soonr Workplace is a productivity suite of sorts that includes document collaboration among other features.

Samsung will be making the S-Pen SDK available to devs starting in December so they can start developing apps specifically for the stylus. If you haven’t yet got a chance to check out the S-Pen in action, the video of yesterday’s event above has some live demos of artists creating some pretty incredible creations using the apps we just told you about.

The Galaxy Note packs in a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display, 1.4 GHz dual core processor, 5100 mAmp battery, supports native 720p video, and has a 7 1/2 mm thin design. Samsung will continue to roll out the Note to the rest of major European markets by the end of November. You can check out the latest Samsung Galaxy advert here. expand full story

S Pen Stories October 25, 2011

We first got a look at the Samsung Galaxy Note at IFA in Berlin early last month. While they’ve teased a November release date since, we haven’t heard much from Samsung regarding their stylus-equipped, hybrid tablet/smartphone until today.  The advert above, which in our opinion is done quite well, proves Samsung’s marketing team might actually be headed in the right direction.

Focusing mainly on the 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display and “S Pen” stylus apps, the advert shows off the advantages of apps designed specifically for the stylus. The user in the ad starts with an image, uses the S Pen to draw, saves and crops an image, adds that the cropped image to the drawing, and finally sends it.

The ad ends with the tagline, “Phone? Tablet? Feel Free, It’s Galaxy Note”, an obvious hint at making your own decision as to whether you consider it a tablet or phone. Either way, as the gimmick and shock value of the stylus wears away, the Galaxy Note is starting to look more and more enticing. If you’re unfamiliar, the device sports a 1.4 GHz dual core processor, runs Gingerbread (ICS?), 5100 mAamp battery, native 720p video, and is 7 and half mm thin. We’re expecting to learn more when Samsung takes the stage at their Galaxy Note event in London tomorrow. Stay tuned for the latest. expand full story

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