Surface Pen: Killer Applications

Killer Application – a software application so compelling that it drives sales of the hardware.


The Killer Applications that brought me into the world of pen computing were things that let me use a pen, when really – only a pen would do the job. In the early days that was MindManager. It let me create Mind Maps in much the way that I had done for decades only faster and you could edit it later. It was one of the very first Windows  (Tablet PC Edition) applications that was fully pen-enabled, and it remains today, one of the best.


Later I found Sketchbook. It’s primarily a tool for visual artists but I’ve been using it since it’s introduction as way to naturally express ideas both visual and conceptual. It’s super fast to learn; just like a pen on a paper napkin only it is pressure sensitive, has endless options for pens and colours, and layers.  Just last night I was trying to help a friend understand sound dispersion in a horizontal plane. After waving my arms around for a couple of minutes it was clear that I needed to approach this in a different way.  I switched modes and pulled out my Surface Pro 3 and drew a simple sketch of the concept in under a minute. He understood immediately. 

OneNote is another tool that was pen-enabled from the start. say that the pen and paper model is dead and with that, so too is the idea of notebooks and tabs and pages. Well I don’t see OneNote as an analog to paper based notebooks of past, but as a natural form of organization.  With that you get all the benefits of linking, embedding, and editing that you expect. In addition you get to do annotation with the pen, and amazingly, you can search and find key words and phrases that you wrote with the pen. 

Killer Applications are the ones that make me reach for my Surface Pen.  These are the applications I use daily,  and I just glanced down and noticed that all them are pinned to my Taskbar.

Do you have any Surface killer applications?

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