Hand Stylus Update
Hand Stylus Backers,
You’ll soon receive a special, limited time offer to purchase Hand Styluses at a substantial discount from the $29.95 retail price. So, start watching you email inbox…
If you’re interested, I’ve included a short summary and a longer narrative about our activities since the Hand Stylus Kickstarter campaign ended.
Lastly, thank you for backing the Hand Stylus project. Without your support, my idea to create a small-tipped, pen-like stylus in beautiful anodized colors would have remained just a dream. You helped make the dream come true!
SUMMARY (short & sweet): We’ve improved the Hand Stylus’ tip, nib, spring, and collar-barrel joint, added new colors, and developed a Hand Stylus + Ballpoint Pen Combo. The Hand Stylus and Hand Combo are in the Herrington catalog. Kickstarter tin packaging retired; new blister card packaging and logotypes. Working to get Hand Stylus on Amazon. Will be at Consumer Electronics Show. Developing a Hand ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil. To learn more about screen protectors, SEO, and the future of styluses, please read the narrative.
NARRATIVE (long-winded to be sure, but comprehensive): We’ve spent the better part of a year working to improve the Hand Stylus before offering it to Amazon and brick and mortar retailers. The Hand Stylus’ rubber tip is now slightly harder, more responsive, and there’s a new surface coating on the tip to help it last longer. The brass nib that fits into the tip is now gold plated to make the tip-nib pairing more conductive.
In addition, we now thread and glue the joint between the round knurled collar and the hexagonal barrel to prevent these pieces from separating. We’ve added a second pressure relief channel to the nib and increased the strength of the retracting spring.
Finally, by popular demand, we added silver and purple to the color options. Hand now has the largest assortment of stylus colors.
Last year, the Herrington catalog debuted the Hand Stylus. Herrington is one of the largest and most prestigious mail order companies, and they send out over 14 million catalogs during the holiday season. The Hand Stylus started on the last page of the first holiday catalog mailed by Herrington in August of 2012. Because of the Hand Stylus' strong sales, Herrington quickly moved the Hand Stylus to the front of the catalog, and the Hand Stylus has had very strong sales throughout the year.
Earlier this year, Herrington asked us to develop a combination Hand Stylus + Ballpoint Pen, which we call the Hand Combo. In September, the Hand Combo in silver and black colors launched in the Herrington catalog and is also selling very well. The Hand Combo will soon be available on our website, www.handstylus.com.
The Hand Combo has a replaceable, German-made ballpoint cartridge, a twist to extend mechanism, and a fixed, 5mm stylus tip that works especially well with screen protectors. In addition to the Hand Combo, we’re developing a Hand ballpoint pen and Hand mechanical pencil. These two new products will have the same basic features and form factor as the Hand Stylus—retractability, knurled collar, hexagonal anodized aluminum barrel, and removable pocket clip. Like the Hand ballpoint pen, the Hand mechanical pencil will use a replaceable, German-made lead cartridge.
The Hand Stylus continues to garner rave reviews, and we believe the Hand Stylus is the best reviewed small-tipped, capacitive stylus available today. You can read Hand Stylus review excerpts from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many other publications on our website: www.handstylus.com.
Amazon contacted us earlier this year about offering the Hand Stylus on their U.S. and U.K. websites. For many people, especially those overseas, ordering from Amazon is more convenient, faster, and less expensive than ordering from our website. As a small company, we’re doing our best to match Amazon’s renowned low prices, efficiency, and customer service, but they’re hard to beat.
Now that the many improvements we wanted to make to the Hand Stylus are finally finished, we’ll be working with Amazon to get the Hand Stylus up on their sites, in addition to our own, as soon as possible.
To introduce the Hand Stylus to domestic and international retailers, we will be exhibiting for the second time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is held in Las Vegas in early January. CES is the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show. We’ll have a 30’ booth in the iWorld section of CES, which is devoted to Apple accessories. If you’ll be at CES, please stop by… we’ll be in booth# 65000.
As it turns out, retailers prefer packaging that can hang from hooks on wall displays. This being the case, we developed blister card packaging for the Hand Stylus that uses a small amount of plastic compared to conventional, plastic clamshells. Our blister cards are being fabricated from a special, tough-to-tear paper that has a very high percentage of recycled content.
We read about this new type of eco-friendly blister card packaging in a New York Times article and have been working with the manufacturer to try to use recycled plastic for the blister portion of the package. So far, we haven’t found a bioplastic or recycled plastic that’s strong enough, clear enough, and which can hold up to the high temperatures experienced during shipping; but we’re hoping we can soon switch to bioplastic or recycled plastic for our blister card package. The plastic we’re using is recyclable, but not biodegradable. We’re working on it…
We’ve also been working with a local graphic designer, Scott Baldwin, to create logotypes for all our products. Our new blister card packaging with Scott’s logotypes marks the retirement of the special tin box packaging we used for the Kickstarter project. We’re looking into the possibility of making custom anodized aluminum boxes for the Hand Stylus that would allow us to laser engrave the box lids for individuals and companies. We’re also investigating the possibility of purchasing a high power marking laser that would give us the ability to laser engrave the Hand Stylus’ pocket clips which are made of extremely hard stainless steel that's difficult to engrave with a conventional laser. Sometime next year, if all goes well, we’ll add laser engraving options to our website.
While the Hand Stylus works best on touchscreens without a screen protector, and works well with most screen protectors, we know there are screen protectors out there that just aren’t compatible with the Hand Stylus—you know who you are. So, for those of you who may have encountered issues using your Hand Stylus with a screen protector, we want to recommend Illumishield.
Illumishield precision laser-cuts screen protectors in the U.S.A. from high quality, five-layer Japanese PET film. We were introduced to Illumishield by a Hand Stylus customer who raved about how well his touch-screens worked when protected with Illumishield screen protectors. We’ve done our own testing and agree that Illumishield screen protectors are the best we’ve tried, and we’ve tried a lot!
Illumishield screen protectors have a 30-day, money back guarantee, are available for most tablets and smart phones, and can be purchase from Amazon or at Illumishield's website: www.illumishieldstore.com.
As difficult as it is to succeed on Kickstarter (more than half of listed projects fail; and for those lucky enough to meet their funding goal, the average amount raised is only $5,000), it’s much harder still for even highly successful Kickstarter projects, like the Hand Stylus, to become an ongoing profitable business. This is what we’re attempting to do… to have Hand stand on its own as a producer of fine writing instruments. Wish us luck.
If you’d like to do more than wish us luck, you can mention the Hand Stylus on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. We don’t promote ourselves yet on social media, so any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated. If you do Tweet, Post, or Pin about the Hand Stylus, if you include a link to our website, www.handstylus.com this will be most helpful and greatly appreciated, as links to our website are critical to getting a higher page rank with Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. This is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Finally, a word about the future of styluses… Right now, there are several dozen companies making styluses, some of which are moderately priced, passive, capacitive styluses, like the Hand Stylus; and some of which are higher priced, active, electronic styluses.
The trend we’re noticing is that styluses are all converging on a set of features important to users—small tips (some only 1–2 mm in diameter); palm rejection (so you can rest your hand on a touch-screen when writing or drawing); minimal latency (the time lag between when you contact a touch-screen with a stylus and when the mark is drawn; and pressure sensitivity (the ability to create lines with varying thickness). These are all features we’d like to see in future Hand Styluses.
I’ve been invited to see next generation stylus technology at several Silicon Valley companies, and it’s clear to me that the stylus is here to stay and that future styluses will include the features I’ve just itemized. The problem, right now, is that there are at least two dozen passive and active stylus technologies competing for a piece of the stylus pie.
Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor, uses proprietary stylus technology licensed from Wacom. Apple has yet to show its hand when it comes to styluses, but we know they have a team working on styluses as they’ve issued several stylus patents over the last few years. Until Apple makes its move into styluses, we can only guess what technology they’ll adopt or invent, and we can only hope they’ll allow specialty styluses designers, like Hand, to make styluses compatible with their iPads and iPhones.
For now, we have to be very careful about which stylus technology we embrace. And while we wait for Apple to debut an active or passive stylus that uses open or proprietary technology, we’ll continue to refine and improve the Hand Stylus while we explore the possibility of producing an extremely small-tipped, active, electronic stylus. Stay tuned—