If you thought handwriting recognition on mobile devices had rightly been extinct a year after it was initially introduced, well, I’m right there with you on that. Thing is, the concept of the technology was pure brilliance, but chalked up against the hardware from that period, all it really did was slow you down. However, mobile devices have evolved a lot since Android and iOS hit the market, and unlike before, it’s the software that has to keep up with the swiftly evolving and improving hardware to squeeze out every ounce of processing power on offer. Developed by the team behind previously reviewed MyScript Calculator, MyScript Stylus attempts to bring back the handwriting experience to all Android devices and tablets running Android 3.0 and above. Currently in beta, the app is a keyboard replacement that recognizes handwriting input and converts it into text in real-time. After the break, we take a closer look at the app and its features.
MyScript Stylus is set up like any other keyboard replacement app and comes packed with the usual set of essential features, such as suggestions in a bar above the input area. Though, it does has some very intuitive features that set it apart from other similar solutions. For example, to replace a word from the output, you can simply scribble the new word over the existing one. The word highlighted in blue is the one that you’re currently working with.
The handwritten input is converted into digital text in real-time right within the input area. As you input one word after the other, the converted text automatically scrolls to the left and out of view at a customizable speed. Spaces can be added via the Space bar at the bottom, or once you get the hang of the keyboard, the right amount of spaces between your handwritten words will automatically do that for you.
The app supports some time-saving gestures as well. For example, deleting a word is as simple as crossing it out, you can insert a line break by drawing a horizontally inverted ‘L’ (‘˩ ‘) and join two words by simply scribbling a horizontal line between them. The last gesture comes in handy for accidentally inserted spaces.
Cosmetic elements such as text color, baseline position, ink thickness and text thickness can be customized as per your needs. The app also allows more practical tweaking such as customizing baseline position and autoscrolling speed.
The input is case sensitive, so until you find the baseline you’re more comfortable, you might face problems with characters such as ‘p’, ‘z’ and ‘_’. If you want the text to quickly scroll as you write, set the autoscroll speed to a higher value. We’d suggest started a lower scroll speed and increasing it as you get used to the input.
MyScript Stylus is still in beta as of this writing, and things are already looking good for the keyboard replacement. It might already be among the best of its kind on the market. However, remember that its price tag is subject to change. The app’s Play Store description suggests that it will not remain free when the final version rolls out.