(Image courtesy of Wacom)
While the iPad has become synonymous with the term “tablet”, there has been other digital tablet technology, such as the Tablet PC and the Livescribe Pulse Pen which came out before and is surviving, albeit in more of a niche market. So it is rare for me to see any new devices, especially in the analog-to-digital space.
While I love handwriting recognition on the Tablet PC and touch typing on the iPad, there has always been an appeal to writing on actual paper. The Livescribe handles this well, but requires the use of their special (Anoto-based) paper which has a series of microdots on it. Other companies have released infrared technology, but the Wacom Inkling brings an interesting new twist.
Other devices have provided infrared, which allows you to write on regular paper using the built-in ballpoint pen (which utilizes a standard mini-ballpoint refill). But the Wacom seems to be the first one to add pressure-sensitivity by using infrared combined with ultrasonic technology. The Inkling is geared towards sketching, but would accurately represent anything that you would write on paper.
The Inkling is Windows- and Mac-compatible out of the box. But what makes the Inkling most interesting to me is the fact that it exports layered file formats (Photoshop, Illustrator, SketchBook Pro, SketchBook Illustrator, and SVG), which preserve all of your strokes, in addition to traditional static image formats. No other device has made it so easy to get to your digital strokes! This fact alone could make me tolerate carrying around an infrared receiver!
The Wacom Inkling will be available in mid-September for $199, and includes:
- Inkling digital pen and battery
- Pen ink cartridge (and four refills)
- Charging case
- Rechargeable receiver battery
- USB cable
(Wacom Inkling, via Fountain Pen Network)