I take it you never used a Pocket PC device then?
On the contrary. I've even written applications for them. I still miss my iPaq -- slick, and writing apps was a breeze. Also miss my HP-320lx (though that one ran WinCE). I never had a problem with the stylus on either -- and I prefer it to the horribly imprecise world of capacitive touch screens we've got today.
It's a shame the galaxy note runs Android. I do love that stylus.
MS' approach now is to develop a universal app that shares the same codebase but is completely reskinned appropriately for different form factors.
Sounds like a step in the right direction. Well, Mozilla did get the jump on them there with a universal app package, though it's up to the developers to make sure their UI adapts properly to the device.
but cramming a desktop UI onto a phone didn't work
Who said anything about that?