I've just ordered a Samsung Galaxy Note, and since I generally don't like manufacturer-installed bloatware (TouchWiz etc.), I'd like to reflash it with a stock ICS ROM. However, one of the main reasons I've bought the Note is for the S-Pen functionality.

Is a vanilla ICS ROM capable of running the Note-specific S-Pen apps that come with the phone? If not, is there at least a way to make the phone look and behave as if it doesn't have TouchWiz?

4 Answers 4


At first, there's a current Hardbrick warning and a tool to diagnose this for the Galaxy Note (and other Samsung devices).

Here's the Galaxy Note N7000 CM9 team's current issue list, it doesn't mention missing S-Pen functionality (unlike an experimental build #1) so I guess it's fixed.

The CM9 alpha for N7000 announcement on XDA also mentions S-Pen beeing worked on.

And finally, here's the CM9 builds for N7000 and a full update guide.

  • Regarding Samsungs specialized Note apps alone: That's probably not possible unless TouchWiz is installed
    – ce4
    Jul 5, 2012 at 15:47
  • This was my question. Guess I'll have to stick with TouchWiz then. Jul 5, 2012 at 17:22

One amazing and very much compatible APP is Memo Beta, free and open source S-Pen drawing app:

Memo is a note taking app designed specifically for Galaxy Note.

Memo Screenshoots

ROMs supported:

CM9 (CyanogenMod 9)
AOKP (Android Open Kang Project)
AOSP (Android Open Source Project)
Paranoid Android

Some features

  • Licensed GPLv3 open source
  • S-Pen combatible (including side button and pressure sensitivity)
  • Inport and resize/move images from the camera, gallery, webpage or map
  • Two finger zoom and pan for inputting those finer details
  • Add typed text to notes
  • Share notes using MMS, E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more
  • left handed mode

Useful Links.

  • I've found that on my Note, the CM nightlies seem to have 3G connection issues (nothing predictable enough to file a bug report on, unfortunately), so I'm back to stock at the moment. But thanks anyway! Jul 21, 2012 at 20:38

It's also worth mentioning that you can install other launchers such as ADW Launcher which allows for themes which will completely change the look of the homescreen and icons on it. For instance, this Antique CM theme is a theme for ADW Launcher, as is this Red ADW Theme which as you can see looks very different. You can also download replacement contacts apps as well, so you can hide almost all of TouchWiz, whilst still keeping the stock ROM and with it, the S-Pen apps.

I've only recently installed replacement launchers because I was beginning to get frustrated with TouchWiz and things like it's lack of rotation. Makes me wonder why Samsung bother with their own inferior launcher in the first place.

  • Not sure why I'm getting marked down for answering the second part of the question which was never answered, but such is life.
    – Biggles
    Jul 10, 2012 at 11:17
  • right. it looks rather unrelated at first. maybe place a citation of the very last question on top of your answer and the ambiguity is gone
    – ce4
    Jul 10, 2012 at 11:46
  • Yes, I'm aware of third party launchers, and am currently running Apex. The problem with this is that it still departs from the cohesive design language that Google was said to have introduced in ICS. Since my last Android phone couldn't run ICS, I would have quite liked to experience the undiluted ICS experience as well. Jul 10, 2012 at 13:41

My favourite note taking app so far is Papyrus You can have infinite length note surface and use two fingers to move around the note and a single finger as an eraser. All drawings are vectors.

The quick note taking app that pops up double clicking the pen is really shitty and the editing with polaris office too basic. I still have to do a lot of playing and investigating.

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