This may not be a highly priced diamond in the rough, but we were still rather pleased to come across eFun's aPen Touch8 while walking around the showfloor at a Showstoppers event here in beautiful Las Vegas. Although not exactly surprising, it's worth noting the Touch8 aPen takes an obvious cue from its A5 sibling, sporting a very similar design and being powered by the same ultrasonic infrared technology. What's different here, however, is that the newly announced Touch8's tailored for laptops (15.6-inch or lower) running Windows 8, with the pen's main purpose being to bring moderate gesture-based features to non-touch machines. According to eFun, and confirmed by us, installation is relatively simple: you plug in the included receiver (pictured below), pop into the "Tablet PC Settings," adjust the calibration, and voila, you are all golden.
During our short spell with the aPen Touch8, we did notice a bit of a lag from time to time while using the peripheral, though it did manage to (somewhat) easily swipe its way between screens, launch different applications and bring up the Charms Bar. Naturally, it doesn't come anywhere near close to what you would experience on an actual touch-capable Windows 8 laptop, but it could definitely be an option if you're looking for something to hold you over until you finally decide to upgrade your gear. Those interested will have to shell out $80 on the aPen Touch8, with eFun telling us to expect it to be available in about a month.
eFun aPen Touch8 hands-on
E FUN's APEN Touch8 Gives All Windows 8 Users Touch Screens
Company's Advanced Apen Touch8 Technology Allows Full Windows 8 Experience; Activates All Applications with Simple Touch
WEST COVINA, CA – January 3, 2013 – E FUN, a consumer electronics designer and marketer of fun, easy-to-use lifestyle products, now makes it possible for any Windows 7 user who has upgraded to Windows 8 to fully enjoy its touch-screen capabilities. Its new APEN Touch8 system, using ultrasonic and infrared technologies, operates as a multi-touch-screen digitizer, providing touch-panel functionality where there was not one before. The APEN Touch8 will be on display at CES in South Hall MP25067, January 8-11.
There are about 600-million Windows 7 PCs and laptops in use today that can be upgraded to Windows 8," stated Jason Liszewski, managing director and VP of sales for E FUN. "The problem is that all of the platforms on which they run do not offer touch-screen technology. Our APEN Touch8 system allows these units to be easily and economically upgraded to include a touch function to take advantage of all that Windows 8 has to offer."
The APEN Touch8 allows users to slide, swipe, and zoom right along with their Windows 8 applications. They can open programs, folders, and files; search the Internet; access e-mails; play games; draw; sign digital documents; shift to background programs; close applications; and so much more with the flick of a stylus.
The Touch8 system comes with a cordless digital stylus, detachable receiver, and a USB cable connection to the Windows 8 device. It offers plug-and-play simplicity; there are no drivers to download. Users simply attach the receiver to the edge of the screen using the provided magnetic clip, and then connect the USB cable. Once the computer or laptop is turned on, they can start enjoying Windows 8 touch-screen capabilities with the Touch8 digital stylus.
Other features of the Touch8 system are up to 15.6" coverage area, 500 hours of continuous writing/hovering battery life, and absolute positioning.
The APEN Touch8 will be available Q1 2013 for a retail price of $79.99.
About APEN Technology
Technology for the APEN product line was developed by Yifang Digital (Shenzhen, China) in cooperation with Pegasus Technologies Ltd from Israel, a fully owned subsidiary of Yifang Digital. Yifang and Pegasus hold together a wide portfolio of patents, which include over 30 worldwide granted patents and more than 40 others pending.
About E FUN
As its name implies, E FUN is a designer and markets fun, lifestyle e-products that are easily accessible. While appreciated by techies, E FUN products are primarily designed for consumers who desire the latest technological products, but are more concerned with what they do, not how they do it. E FUN's ongoing product innovation focuses on making electronics and computing more fun! Initial products offerings from E FUN include the APEN digital pen and Nextbook Android tablets. E FUN is headquartered in West Covina, California.
For additional information regarding E-Fun's brands, please visit APEN at www.apenusa.com; and Nextbook at www.nextbookusa.com.