Pen-based computing? Really?

Here is a quote form Bill Gates that made me go “Huh?  Are you for real?”:

Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we’re pursuing. We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time.

What?  Pen-based?  Really? In 21st century?  For students?  Even me, who dropped out of college a decade ago considers pen to be nothing but a pain and an absolute last resort for input and notes.  I can barely write anything longer than my own signature, and even that comes out different every time I try it.  Stylus?  Do you mean that thing which is constantly lost or broken or stuck in the pocket?  I can’t believe it…

I could understand it as a familiar interface for older people.  Yes, why not.  But for students?  Have you seen any students recently?  Most of them have mobile phones growing out of their thumbs. They can type with a single thumb faster than I can do do with ten fingers.

A pen?  Nope.  I think we tried the combination of pens with computing devices, and we are done with that.  It’s been confirmed a painful experience and I don’t think anyone should be betting anything on pen’s future in the technology world.

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