E Fun APEN Touch8′ – Enables Touch Interaction with Non-touchscreen Windows 8 Laptops
What is it?
This device was launched at the Vegas Consumer Electronics Show last week. What happens is that with this pen, you can enjoy the touch features of Windows 8 even if you don’t have a touch screen. Interesting or what?
Who is behind this device?
E Fun is a company in California and they have unveiled a cordless pen that can be plugged in to the USB port of a PC, via a special attachment. E Fun is actually marketing this product manufactured by the Yifang Digital Technology Company, based in Hong Kong.
How it works
E Fun APEN Touch8′s attachment is actually an infrared ultrasonic receiver and it clips to the screen’s side3 magnetically. The pen sends out an infra red beam form its tip and the receiver routes the signals to the computer, interpreting its specific location. It identifies the pen’s fuzzy tip and orients it on the computer monitor. The pen may take a few days to recognize the boundaries of the screen on which it has to work. When you push down on the pen, a different ultrasonic signal is released, just like a touch screen recognizing that you have touched it. According to company spokespersons, it can work on laptops and desktop computers with screens up to 17 inches. With his pen you can navigate Windows 8 by touching and swiping and using single touch gestures.
Multi touch gestures however, are not possible with this single stylus. You would probably need at least two such devices to enable those gestures. And there is no telling whether a computer will be actually able to support two such APENS at the same time.
It works great when you want to draw and use single swipes and so on. The pen requires a battery similar to the one found in a watch and it runs for around 500 hours after which you can replace it.
What is not so great about it?
One annoying thing is that every time you close your laptop or notebook you need to remove and calibrate the pen.
Considering that many Win 8 devices are being launched without a touch screen in spite of the new OS from Microsoft being touted as touch-centric, this is certainly an innovative and interesting invention. While Win 8 will run efficiently on your old PC, you will miss out on the touch screen fun that it promises. That’s where this APEN will come in handy.
Price and Availability
You can expect this stylus to be available by March end for $ 80.
Should you buy it?
If you’re dying to experience the touch features of Windows 8 and you have a small screen desktop or a laptop, you can certainly consider buying an APEN. Just remember that you will only have single mode gestures. On the other hand it is just like having a brand new computer for under $ 100, which sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?