According to a breaking news report from the Korean news agency Yonhap, Samsung has agreed to buy a 5% stake in the Japanese company Wacom. Don't know who Wacom is? They make what's considered to be the industry standard for digital drawing tablets. You've probably seen one of their products while browsing through a computer store. They're basically large pads that have a stylus which lets you sketch. Wacom's technology is used in both the first and second generation Galaxy Note.
So what assumptions can we make from this announcement? Samsung believes that the stylus is a key differentiator for their products. Considering that the China is the fastest growing smartphone market that currently exists, you can see the logic in this move. Typing Chinese characters on a keyboard is possible, but drawing them is way more convenient.
Will we see more Samsung products shipping with a stylus? There was a rumor we heard a few weeks ago that said the Galaxy S4 was going to ship with an s-pen, but we don't believe it to be true. We'd of course love to be proven wrong, but our gut tells us that Samsung is going to reserve the stylus for devices that use the “Note” branding.
The big question on our minds is whether or not Wacom will be allowed to license their technology to other handset vendors. Companies tend to steal ideas from each other, something we don't have a problem with, but what's going to happen if someone like HTC wants to throw in stylus support? Will Wacom be allowed to work with them or will Samsung give Wacom the evil eye?
We just want to say that we're super pumped about this news because several of us at Android Authority use the Note II, this writer included, and we're having a difficult time imagining what life would be like without a stylus enabled smartphone.
Update: Here's the official PDF (in English) announcing the deal. Samsung will buy 20,996 common shares of Wacom on February 19th at a price of 255,510 Japanese yen per share.