I stopped by the Yifang booth today and I found something much more interesting than the tablets I was expecting.
Yifang has come out with a new way to add a touchscreen to an older laptop. It involves clipping a sensor to the side of the screen and then using the matching stylus to manipulate the screen.
I got to play with it for a few minutes at CES 2013. The stylus worked quite well at pretending to be a finger on a real touchscreen, and I can see the value.
I personally don’t plan to downgrade to Win8 any time soon, but spending a few minutes with the Touch8 showed me that when everyone said that Win8 was focused on the touchscreen, they weren’t kidding. I stumbled across several actions which will only work if you have a touchscreen (I don’t see how they can be copied with a mouse), and that’s going to make things interesting for anyone who has downgraded the OS (I see all new versions of Windows as worse than what came before).
I have heard from some readers that Win8 is still usable if you are comfortable with keyboard shortcuts, but I’m not sure how many people are. That’s why I am glad the Touch8 is coming. I think this is the one accessory that everyone who installs Win8 will need. And even if you don’t think you need it I think it will be a cool accessory to have.
It is unfortunately limited to only working with its own stylus, and the stylus requires batteries. So this is not a perfect solution. But it is still going to be useful. The demo unit was wired and requires a USB port but there is also a wireless system in the works.
The wired model is expected to hit the US market soon with a retail of $80 to $100. You should probably look for it under the aPen brand.
Yigang is a Chinese gadget maker, and in addition to tablets they also been developing and selling an IR-based pen stylus system. In the US you may have heard of it under the brand name aPen. I covered one model at CES 2012 that turned an iPad into a Wacom type drawing tablet, and I also reviewed a Yifang-made Android tablet with an integrated stylus.