Wacom working on a tablet for creative professionals, out “this summer”

by: J. Angelo RacomaMarch 3, 2013
Wacom's Cintiq series requires an attached computer to work, but the company says it is working on a standalone mobile device for design pros.

Wacom’s Cintiq series (pictured above)  requires an attached computer to work, but the company says it is working on a standalone mobile device for design pros.

You probably know the brand Wacom, and you probably know them for tablet peripherals used as computer input interfaces. Wacom targets its tablets mostly at the creative industries, but the company also supplies the underlying technologies for portable devices that require pressure-sensitive input, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note series and the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Read also: Break It Down – How Does The S Pen Work?

It seems, though, that there is quite some demand from among Wacom users to build their own standalone tablets, noting that Wacom’s current devices require a host computer to operate. On Wacom’s Facebook page, they hint at developing their own portable tablet line, and the company is actually “working 24/7 on it.”

We’ve read your email and spoken to many about an on-the-go dream device. It will come. This summer. We’re working 24/7 on it. And yes, it has a real pressure-sensitive professional pen, smooth multi-touch, an HD display, and other valuable features that you haven’t seen in other tablets.

Wacom has shared no other information, although given the choices for operating systems we have today, the standalone tablet will likely run Android. Windows 8 might be an option for Wacom, given how the Surface Pro had been lauded as likewise effective for professional creative work. But there’s one question, of course: price. Wacom targets creative and design professionals, after all. And its latest Cintiq line, which comes with a built-in screen, sells for at least $899. And that’s for a tablet that requires an attached computer to work.

Will Wacom price its tablet competitively? Of course, we can consider that touch-based UIs and technology have gone a long way since Wacom introduced its Cintiq line about six years ago, so that’s bound to drive prices down. But if Wacom will be targeting its tablet toward pros and high-end users rather than consumers, then this should not be much of a concern.

Is anyone excited for a standalone tablet that will let design and creative professionals work while on the move?

  • RarestName

    I think it’s more feasible if they were to introduce it with Windows 8.

  • Roberto Tomás

    Wacom is awesome. The tablets will be expensive, but that is a reason to hope they will be good. My concern really is with screen tech: Wacom’s Cintiq line is not the highest grade display tech in the world. Any more it is kinda old. With Thin-film designs like IGZO and Youm just around the corner, this is a tough time for them to enter into the market.

  • QuanahHarjo

    Almost guaranteed to be Windows 8. A Wacom-branded tablet would be pretty much expected to run Photoshop…the whole of Photoshop. If they go that route, I hope they hold out for Haswell-series Core processors, otherwise they’ll have all the downsides of the current Surface Pro.

  • Ron Keller

    It’s highly unlikely that this would run android. There are simply no pro grade graphics applications on Android at present. It will almost certainly be windows 8 and, if it really is going to be a pro grade device, it will almost certainly be north of $1000. This is really what their target audience is looking for. You can already get what amounts to a mobile Bamboo in the Microsoft surface (a $1000 machine in itself). Pro grade is probably going to mean something more like a mobile Cintiq, i.e. 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity and context specific keys.

  • CyBrix_21

    If it will feature an Intel i-series processor, high RAM and if will run on Windows 8 Pro, it will be a good competition not just for tablets like Note and Surface Pro, but for ultrabooks as well…

    I just hope that they will not sell this thing for a high price…

  • Why is the concept design showing iOS which would never happen? I’m sick of Mac obsessed designers putting Mac screenshots on everything in publication as representative of the OS’s we use. ITS A TINY MINORITY compared to Windows

    • Which concept? You mean the photo at the top of the article of the current cintiq? Which runs on OSX perfectly well?

      Maybe “Mac Obsessed designers” use screenshots of their favourite OS just because thats their preference.. Maybe the fact you are so sick of seeing such things is because the percentage of published designers using OSX is a lot higher than you would like to admit. Maybe.

  • Benedict Tan

    Holding out for a new Wacom all these years looks like it’s about to finally pay off! :D My Intuous 2 has seen better days lol. I hope that whatever OS it runs Wacom allows it to pair as a peripheral to a workstation.

    Mobile hardware just doesn’t have what it takes to handle large canvases and 3D sculpting. Sure you can get away with sketching out ideas and maybe a little illustration but for serious raster work you’re going to want that 16GB of RAM and 30GB of dedicated scratch disk.

  • Lazpl

    There are actually quite a few good graphics packages out there, starting with sketching offerings from Autodesk and ending with mobile versions of Photoshop et.al. If you NEED the full-sized features, you can use a Cintix.

    The ability to take your tablet with you and work on the go is enough for me. The following from graphics people that a Wacom Android tablet would generate would make it more lucrative for devlopers to release more software. Hardware-wise, there’s not much difference between the speed of working on a laptop or a high-end tablet today. The point isn’t to use Photoshop, with its mouse- + keyboard-adapted interface, but to create new interfaces that work well in a pen-only setting.

    Give me an Android-powered HD-resolution Wacom tablet. NOW!

  • EL_Chamberlain

    It better not be Android; professionals use tools such as Maya and ZBrush. There is no point in using anything other than Windows for professional work, otherwise it’s not worth the investment and therefore not worth manufacturing. Releasing it in the hopes that various applications will be made for Android is not sound logic for what is at heart a niche product aimed at a specific audience.