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I have to say that the first time I used a stylus with my Android tablet, I realized that I could never go back to using it with just my finger again. A tablet is an ideal vehicle for applications that are stylus-centric. That means big areas of the screen that you can quickly tap for a function, slider windows to flip between functions with ease, and of course the ability to sketch or draw to accomplish a task.
I’ve struggled for a while to find a very productive use for my tablet. I’ve used it to plan out trips, boost productivity at work, and of course to play games. If you have a tablet, you’ve got to play games every now and then. That’s a given.
The thing about a stylus is that it helps you use nearly any app even faster. I don’t know what it is about holding a pen-like object with a smooth rubber end on the display of the tablet, but it just makes everything go so much faster. And in my use of tablets, going faster is really my biggest requirement. I want it to make doing things more convenient and fast, not difficult and laborious. Who wants to struggle trying to deal with tiny little pushbuttons or text fields on a device meant for big button areas and drawing or tapping rather than typing?
The truth is, a tablet can be useful or even fun if you choose apps that make use of what tablets were intended for. Apps that are created with the touch screen in mind, and providing for big large areas to maneuver or focusing on other features that make good use of touch functionality.
6 Android Stylus Apps
I’ve often written about productivity on a tablet, but in all honesty a lot of the greatest apps I’ve found for the tablet are actually games. There’s just something really relaxing about being able to hold a tablet in one hand and a stylus in the other, playing some relaxing game while laying in bed or laying on the couch. It passes the time and relieves a ton of stress – particularly when the game is easier to play using a stylus.
One relaxing Android stylus app that I sometimes play just as sort of a zen meditation when I’m taking a break is an app called Fireworks Touch. This is a simple enough app, but once you start playing it, you’ll experience just how relaxing it is. Basically, you tap an area on the screen, and that launches a firework toward that area of the sky on the screen. Tap all over the screen, and before you know it you’ve lit up the night sky with an pretty impressive fireworks display – complete with sound effects!
It sounds simple, but you really have to give it a try with your stylus, which lets you launch a multitude of fireworks with machine-gun timing. There’s something oddly hypnotic and soothing about playing the game.
A productivity app that makes fantastic full use of your tablet’s touch screen is MyScript Calculator. This is essentially a calculator app for the tablet, which lets you sketch out mathematical problems quickly, which the app will then solve for you.
So, let’s say you’re in a restaurant with friends and you want to split the lunch bill four ways. You can multiply the bill by a quarter to figure out your portion by quickly scribbling “32.65 X 0.25”.
MyScript’s text identification algorithm will translate your writing into an actual mathematical equation like you would have normally typed into a calculator keypad. The app then solves the equation and gives you the answer, all in one fluid step.
It is very cool to see this app in action, and even cooler to use it quickly in public to perform calculations that would otherwise take 2 to 3 times longer by having to type into a mobile phone calculator. The app is very effective at recognizing the text, and it recognizes, translates, and calculates all at once, without the need to press a single button.
With your stylus, not only can you calculate more quickly, but you can also Tweet graphics more quickly as well, by using an app called Tweetch. With Tweetch, you can quickly draw a sketch and then send it off to your Twitter account.
Tweetch is another good example of a seemingly simple app that actually saves you a lot of time when using your tablet. Why waste time typing in a tweet when you can just whip our your stylus, jot a quick sketch that shows exactly how you’re feeling at any given moment, and tweet it out in seconds. You can overcome Twitter’s word limit by using a picture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
As I mentioned earlier, games make for a great way to relax, and games that seem optimized for a stylus even more so. Scramble Touch is one of those games. The point of Scramble Touch is simply to search out and highlight any sequence of letters in a grid that form a word.
This isn’t your typical crossword grid. You can zig-zag in any direction at all around the grid, so long as you choose one consecutive letter after another. Once you’re finished, the app shows you your results as well as the words that you missed.
There’s also the ability to play the game connected with other users that might be playing the network, but personally I have a lot more fun just kicking back and playing it alone. I guarantee that if you play the game with a stylus, which lets you highlight words around the grid much faster, you’ll score much higher.
Another productivity app that I’ve found is very stylus focused is an expense management app called One Touch Expenser. The reason I first started using this app was actually because I would always forget to record expenses until about a week or two after I was finished with some trip or task. By then, it was nearly impossible to recall exactly when I had spent the money and on what. One Touch basically boils expense tracking down to one touch – literally.
In its simplest form, you can simply open the app and tap the “+ Transaction” button with your stylus. If you’re out of time and want to just deal with it later, you can put your tablet away. You’re done. Seriously.
What the app does is creates a time marker in your expense log – which you can return to later and fill in the details using the simple forms. The expenses are listed by date, and you can quickly identify the “not entered” items later, and fill in the details.
The forms are very easy to work with using a stylus, and by tapping the summary link. It’s one of the fastest expense tracking apps I’ve ever used.
The final Android stylus app that I’ve found is Google Tasks Organizer. You may not expect it, but this popular Google Tasks apps is extremely touch focused, and the navigation and editing features are all centered around buttons rather than text entry (other than typing the task name of course).
You can indent tasks to organize sub tasks, and quickly add or delete tasks by tapping the “+” or trash buttons quickly with your stylus. You can quickly fly through entering a series of tasks with your stylus by tapping in the name, tapping the “Create Another” button, and continuing on until you’re done.
Everything in this task management app is very button-driven, making it unbelievably fast to manage your small tasks, your projects and – well, basically your whole life – with this effective app synced to your Google Task list, and of course your trusty and ever-faithful stylus pen.
A stylus and a tablet. It’s a beautiful thing.
Do you have any Android stylus app that you use which you find are especially effective when using a stylus? What apps do you recommend? Share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!