Dell has shown off a new concept device that (let’s be honest) may never actually come out — but it’s a lot of fun to play with. The Concept Stanza is an 11-inch tablet that’s meant to simplify the process of taking notes at work. The idea is that if you write on the Stanza and then double tap your notes, they’ll be instantly converted to digital text. Connect it to a computer, and your notes will show up on the big screen.
Now, this is obviously not a revolutionary use case — devices like Samsung Galaxy Notes can convert handwritten notes to digital ones already. But the big difference with the Stanza is that it’s just for writing — there are no cameras, speakers, or ports on the device, in an effort to create what Dell describes as a “distraction-free experience.”
Dell’s tablet can also recognize more than letters. You can draw a line through text to delete it and can theoretically digitize shapes (such as Venn diagrams) as well. Separately, the Stanza can serve as an external monitor to extend your screen.
I got to try the Stanza out for a few brief minutes. It was a comfortable writing experience — the stylus is compact and the tablet’s screen is smooth. The device correctly interpreted all of my (fairly messy) writing. In English, that is — though we were told that the device is supposed to support a whole bunch of languages, I tried writing some things in Chinese and Korean characters that it did not recognize.
So, work in progress. Since the Stanza is still in the concept stage, there’s no pricing and availability yet, and no guarantee that it’s going to become a real thing you can buy. But it could certainly be a nifty tool for boardroom and classroom use. It’s the rare concept device that I think seems pretty ready to go — though I hope it figures out how to do multiple languages at once.