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Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
My Device: 9700
My Carrier: MTN
Accepted Solution

Using a stylus on the PlayBook

Hi

 

I have a PlayBook with a screen protector that I purchased from Amazon.  I recently watched someone using "penultimate", a note taking app, on the iPad (no screen protector).  It looked so simple.

 

I figured I just had to have a note taking app, so I downloaded Scroodle from App World and took my PlayBook to the store to try out a few stylii.  I was hugely disappointed with the performance of all of them.  I had to apply so much pressure that any attempt to use the app on my PlayBook, for note taking, would be unworkable.

 

The same stylii worked perfectly on the store's (unprotected) iPad.  Absolutely no pressure was necessary at all.

 

Questions:

 

a)  Is it the screen protector on my PlayBook that is causing the problem?

b)  If so, is a screen protector really necessary?

c)  If I remove the screen protector, will the stylii work without having to apply any pressure at all (just like on the iPad)?

 

Thanks

Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

The screen protector is likely causing the problem. The touch screen works by detecting capacitance, and if the protector is acting in a way that blocks that it will not work well.

Try it with a single sheet of paper, for example... you should not have to press at all, but merely a light touch of the stylus (or your finger) should be sufficient. If that's not the case, maybe you have the wrong type of stylus (but if it works without anything in the way, and only the lightest touch, then it's something else).

There are likely screen protectors that will not block the stylus, though I don't use either so I can't say for sure.

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
My Device: 9700
My Carrier: MTN

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

Hi Peter

 

Thanks for the reply.  As I said, I haven't tried any stylus without the protector on and I don't want to remove the protector without knowing that it will work well.

 

For what its worth, my finger registers perfectly with the protector on.

Contributor
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎08-09-2011
My Device: BlackBerry PlayBook
My Carrier: Sprint

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

Don't remove the protector, it will not work as it does on the iPad.  I have both iPad and PlayBook and I only use my stylus on the iPad.  I am not sure why but the PlayBook doesn't seem to like the stylus.

"Lost in space in search of a cosmic gate"
Momo
New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎08-11-2011
My Device: Torch 9800/PlayBook
My Carrier: ICE

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

Salutations,

   As it is my understanding, the actual reason is that the screen finger recognition of the BlackBerry PlayBook is by heat, while IPad works with optical-electric recognition. Thing with that is that as the stylus might have the ability to be recognized by minimum charge on the IPad, it does not create (enough) heat to work properly on PlayBook.

Regards,
Roberto Saborío
"War is inevitable, though violence is unnecessary." ("Lyan" Roberto Saborío)
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

The PlayBook does not use heat for the multitouch screen.

 

The multitouch controller has been identified in teardowns, and it's a fairly typical passive capacitive touch controller.

 

To prove the point, I just grabbed a square of conductive foam and used it to swipe my screen on, and do some basic navigation.  My fingers are over two inches away from the screen when I do this, and the foam is at room temperature, same as the screen.

 

I'm fairly certain the iPad uses very similar technology, not anything involving optical recognition.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
My Device: 9700
My Carrier: MTN

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

Thanks for the feedback.

 

... but I'm getting confused.  I guess the bottom line is whether removing the screen protector on the PlayBook will give the same experience with a stylus as that enjoyed by iPad users.  Some say yes and some say no.  It can't be both.

 

If not, is it the PlayBook at fault (hardware) or the software that is not interpreting the "touch" appropriately?  If the latter it would be nice to know whether RIM has any plans to addres the issue.

 

For that matter, seeing as this is a Blackberry Support Forum, wouldn't it be nice if the people at RIM occassionally scanned the forum and provided some clarity on the issues that are raised here - particularly where the discussion is not one of preferences?  In this case, there should be a definitive answer, yes or no.  

Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎06-30-2011
My Device: 9700
My Carrier: MTN

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

[ Edited ]

So, I just popped into the local Apple Store, which was populated with dozens of Apple Fanboys.  I had my PlayBook in hand and must admit that I felt just a tiny bit intimidated.  I guess I feared they would all fall about the floor laughing when I explained my stupid stylus problem.

 

Thankfully nothing like that happened.  In the end I was assured by the guy who works there that there is absolutely no difference when using a stylus on a protected vs unprotected iPad screen.  As he didn't have a screen protected iPad in the store, I couldn't make him prove his point.  So I am really none the wiser!

 

Does anyone know where I can get a definitive response from RIM on this issue?

Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎08-12-2011
My Device: playbook
My Carrier: none

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook

[ Edited ]

hi, nothing more than reading the thread made me look into the matter... i rushed in my local store and tried a few stylus but i ll get to that at the end. first let me share a couple of issues and a test you can practice (if you are daring).

ok, the screen touch control uses negatively charged ions (or smth like this, not your average physics monster here). reading about that made me think that if a negative charge is needed then.... what better than the negative pole of a standard aaa battery...

 

*******obviously my previous info here was way off and that being pointed out by peter i thank him and apologize to all for this, thus i deleted that part of my message, thanks peter**********


i went on and tried several available and here is my input:
any universal stylus would not be useful as most maintain big distance between the screen ans the charged metal tip inside the stylus tip so do not waste your 15$ on those

peculiarly enough the stylus issued by samsung for the galaxy tab works decently but still it might not be the artists' favourite toy.

unfortunately i had no chance of trying a bamboo brand stylus, which after extensibe research on the net., combined with todays try out expedition and battery experiment, seems to be one of the best out there. sonif you get a chamve try getting hold of one and try it out and let us know how it works for you. I am in Greece and the pb is not officially here yet so i have mot so ,any options that are mot ipad specific still, thus i cannot go out and keep looking and testing. so if you get to have one work on satisfactory levels please post here so we can have a look for an order somehow over the net.

hope this helped out.
best regards to all fellow playbook-lovers out there!!!
George

Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Using a stylus on the PlayBook


georgekGR wrote:
ok, the screen touch control uses negatively charged ions (or smth like this, not your average physics monster here). reading about that made me think that if a negative charge is needed then.... what better than the negative pole of a standard aaa battery... do not freak, keep reading,,, Smiley Happy.

so (assuming you have a protector on your screen or you are utterly bold and adventurous) all you need is to grab a battery. follow me on this one please. just touch carefully but carefree the negatibe pole of the battery on your screen and preten it to be a stylus... you will see it works perfectly with only the edges not being rounded and the size being inconvenient plus the bare metal on your protector. now that said and done you have definite proof that stylus should work if of good quality. the problem resides on sensitivity and how that negatively charged metal is being partly isolated from your screen with the material covering the stylus tip. this is where the accuracy of the stylus would come into play.

Please don't quit your day job!

 

"the screen touch control uses negatively charged ions"...  any idea where you read this?

 

If the negative pole is a battery is what matters (and note that if you don't close the circuit, there is no "negative pole"... no voltage is present unless you're measuring relative to the same battery's positive pole), then the battery itself would be what matters, right?  So you could, say, stand the battery on end and slide it around on the screen (tablet flat on a table) by pushing it with a pen, say.  Or you could wear oven mitts to hold the battery, and it would still work.  It's an interesting experiment... go try it.

 

The reason the negative side is what seems to matter is that the battery is constructed such that most of the case is like a "can" with the sides connected to the bottom.  You're holding the battery with your fingers around that can, so you're affecting the capacitance when you do.  Remove yourself (or your fingers, anyway) from the picture, and you've basically just got a small bit of metal in contact with the screen, which does little.

 

Now grab a coin.  A Canadian penny, dime, or Toonie works fine, as I'm sure would many others (but possibly not all coins).  Lay it flat on the screen and slide it around with your finger.  Works great, right?  No negative poles involved either... Smiley Happy

 

These are capacitive touch screens, and what matters is large amounts of capacitance very near the screen.  There's no negative ions involved, no heat, no optical stuff, and you don't even need actual contact with the screen, as you can see if you slip a sheet or two of paper between your finger (or battery, or working stylus) and the screen.

 

If a screen protector is blocking this effect, preventing the screen from sensing something, then it's not much good as a screen protector.  If it works well with your finger, however, and not with a stylus, then it does point to the stylus being perhaps insufficient to register, though it doesn't mean the screen protector isn't causing some of the problem by reducing the ability of the screen to sense capacitance.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!