One of the less reported features in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is going to be big for a certain subgroup of users. The new OS will support stylus input at the system level with features like pressure sensitivity, hover tracking, and detection of pen versus finger touch events. This should streamline implementation of this feature for OEMs, which seem to be chomping at the bit to roll it out.
Devices like the HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Note both have the ability to use stylus input, but both are based on capacitive technologies and OEM modifications to Android. The Google API demos in the Android SDK even contains a TouchPaint app that can be used to test stylus input. Of course, all this is contingent on having the necessary hardware in a device.
Both Samsung and HTC have been hoping other companies would adopt their stylus technology and internal APIs, but that’s starting to look less likely. Although, with the HTC Scribe stylus running as much as $80, that didn’t seem likely anyway.