The future of Pen and Paper

Are we witnessing a rise of E-Paper?

E-Paper, not so new, not so surprising. But is it something bigger than it seems?

What you see above is a Productivity Future Vision produced by Microsoft Office in 2011. Not much to see in the video except of the fact that you can barely see any use of the paper-pen duo.

The Touch PC Trend

Touch input interface is the technology that has perhaps brought the most noticeable change in the past few years. But some folks out there have a not-so-satisfied attitude with the technology , and they are in some way correct. They come up with the following question:

Why should I switch to touch PCs when I can do everything with my perfect working Mouse or Trackpad?

Probable Answers:

  1. It is more portable
  2. A more natural interface
  3. Dude! Touch is cool!

The Galaxy Note Series

You might be thinking that we already have a Stylus and a Screen which is already the real thing and the problem is just that we are not yet ready for the change (This part was told to me in the answers by the Quorans ☺). We have Tablet-PCs like the Galaxy Note series and the Surface tablets, that are trying to catch the idea but they are far behind from that real thing. But I am sure companies like Samsung are always working hard to bring that change. With the recent release of Galaxy Note 12.2 Pro, I am sure they have pushed the boundaries even further. For that matter, lets briefly do a shootout between current Pro’s and Con’s of the Pen vs the Stylus.

Pen-Paper Vs Stylus-Screen
  1. Infinite amount of pixels in the Paper win over the current not-so-retina Screens. See this video for an interesting follow-up.
  2. Close to zero eye-strain in Paper Manuscripts win over the high eye-strain screens like the IPS LCD displays of the Galaxy Note and iPads.
  3. High Refresh Rates in the Paper win over the slow refresh rates of e-ink displays found in the Kindle like devices.
  4. Always available Papers win over the Electronically Power needing Stylus-Screen Devices.
  5. Huge amounts of space needed in the Paper Books lose over the space efficient memory chips found in the Stylus-Screen Devices.
  6. Huge amount of natural resource wastage every day in the use of Papers lose over the electronically capable devices.
  7. Technologies like the internet enhance the use of electronic devices.

By now you might have realized that you can not really replace pen and paper at this stage completely, but whats a really good thing about technology is that what is today’s bad feature might tomorrow be a good feature.

What change is needed?
  1. Highly power optimized screens (preferably something like naturally powered)
  2. Display technology that gives close to zero eye-strain.
  3. Highly responsive touch inputs that can bear a close resemblance to the classic PEN.
I believe that, technologically we are almost there!, and in not more than 5 years we will be witnessing fully featured electronic Screens that will be more efficient than the Paper. Will there be a time when nobody will be using the Pen-Paper is a question that nobody can be sure of while answering. I will go for a YES!
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