|This article is outdated. (September 2012)|
Wacom headquarters in Kazo, Saitama, Japan
|Traded as||TYO: 6727|
|Industry||Computer input devices and software|
|Founded||Ageo, Saitama, Japan (July 12, 1983 )|
|Headquarters||Kazo, Saitama, Japan|
(President & CEO)
|Products||Bamboo, Intuos, Cintiq, PenPartner, Volito, Graphire|
|Revenue||¥61.068 billion (2013)|
|¥7.915 billion (2013)|
|¥4.770 billion (2013)|
|Total assets||¥50.124 billion (2013)|
Number of employees
The American headquarters are located in Vancouver, Washington, and those for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) in Krefeld, Germany. Wacom is a Japanese portmanteau: Wa for "harmony" or "circle", and Komu for "computer". Wacom tablets are notable for their use of a patented cordless, battery-free, and pressure-sensitive stylus or digital pen. In addition to manufacturing and selling tablets, Wacom also provides graphical input technology for some tablet computers, which it calls "Penabled Technology".
|Year||Japan||Rest of the World|
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
Wacom produces several table lines, three of which are marketed worldwide. Most are sold with a software bundle, such as Corel Painter Essentials and Photoshop Elements, which take advantage of the table features. Each is sold with a compatible digital pen. Some pens feature buttons on the shaft or an "eraser" at the other end. Some models include a puck (mouse) based on the same technology. Software drivers for recent versions of Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows are included with most models. All current models of external tablets connect to computers via USB or Bluetooth.
Wacom changed the name of their Bamboo tablets to Intuos and their Intuos5 tablets to Intuos Pro.
The Bamboo line is aimed at home users. 2011 models† featured 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and a resolution of 2540 lines per inch (1000 lines/cm). Most of the models have a 5.8 × 3.6 in (14.7 × 9.2 cm) active surface area, while the larger CTH-670 model ("Create"/"Fun Medium") has a usable surface area of 8.5 in × 5.4 in (22 cm × 14 cm). The Bamboo One (CTF-430; no longer produced; sold only in Europe) had a 5 × 3.6 in (128 × 93 mm) active surface area. It used the same eraser-less pen as the other models but, unlike other models, featured no control buttons.
Bamboo tablets feature a battery-free pen (powered by the same EMR (Electromagnetic resonance) technology as the Intuos line), which can be used alongside finger swipes (in some models), with ± 0.02 in (± 0.5 mm) accuracy. The "Pen & Touch" model includes an option to switch orientation for left- or right-handed users.
In the Americas, four models were† available in 2011: Bamboo Create, Bamboo Capture, Bamboo Splash, and Bamboo Connect. In addition to stylus-based input, "Create" and "Capture" models featured multi-touch functionality, with support for one- and two-finger gestures for such operations as scrolling and zooming. The "Create" model included an eraser-equipped stylus, and additional bundled graphics software (Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials and Nik Color Efex Pro). The "Connect" and "Splash" models had the same hardware with different software. The former includes Autodesk Sketchbook Express, while the latter included the aforementioned product and ArtRage Studio.
Wacom's Wireless Accessory Kit is a USB dongle and adapter which will allow select Bamboo tablet models to connect to a computer wirelessly. This kit is compatible with certain models. It did not work with the 2011 Bamboo Splash, Bamboo Connect or Bamboo Pen models. This kit was also not compatible with older models, as the USB connection cable was hardwired to the tablet. The newer models feature a removable USB cable.
|Tablet model number||Name||In production†||Multi-touch||No. control buttons||Physical dimensions||Active surface area||Aspect ratio||Color(s)||Bundled software|
|CTH-670||Create||Fun M Pen & Touch||Yes||Yes||4||352 × 209 × 11||13.8 × 8.2 × 0.4||216 × 137||8.5 in × 5.4||16:10||Silver with black highlights/buttons|
|CTH-470||Capture||Fun S Pen & Touch||Yes||Yes||278 × 176 × 11||10.9 × 6.9 × 0.4||147 × 92 (pen input)
125 × 85 (touch input)
|5.8 × 3.6 (pen input)
4.9 × 3.3 (touch input)
|N/A||Pen & Touch ||Yes||Yes||Black with lime-green highlights||N/A||
|CTL-471||Splash||N/A||Yes||No||0||147 × 92||5.8 × 3.6||
|MTE-450||Bamboo||No||No||4 + navigational touchpad||200 x 186||7.8 x 7.3||147.6 × 92.3||5.8 × 3.6||Charcoal/black||style=" color: grey; font-size: smaller; vertical-align: middle; text-align: center; " class="unknown table-unknown"|?|
|CTF-430||?||One||No||No||0||195 × 195 × 10||7.7 × 7.7 × 0.4||128 × 93||5 × 3.6||4:3||Silver/grey||N/A||
Intuos is marketed to professional graphic artists and featured the highest specifications of any Wacom device. The 2011 version, Intuos5 touch, was available in multiple sizes and proportions and includes 60 degrees of tilt sensitivity (50 degrees in the small model) and 2048 pressure levels. The Intuos5 touch also had touch controls on the drawing surface, allowing the user to manipulate the canvas with multi-touch gestures. The Intuos line offered 2000 lines per cm (5080 lines per inch) resolution and came in multiple sizes (active area):
- Small: 157.5 mm × 98.4 mm; 6.2 in × 3.9 in
- Medium: 223.5 mm × 139.7 mm; 8.8 in × 5.5 in
- Large: 325.1 mm × 203.2 mm; 12.8 in × 8.0 in
Each Intuos5 model could be made wireless using the Wireless Accessory Kit.
A larger version of the previous generation of Intuos, the Intuos4 Extra Large (XL) was still manufactured in 2011 and marketed to artists who needed a larger working area. The Intuos4 XL had a 462 mm × 304.8 mm; (18.2 in × 12.0 in) working area and offered 2048 pressure levels pressure 50% tilt sensitivity. However, the Intuos4 lacked touch-based input, instead requiring a stylus or a compatible mouse.
The Cintiq was a tablet/screen hybrid, a graphics tablet that incorporated an LCD into the digitizing tablet itself, allowing the user to draw directly on the display surface. The tablets were available in several sizes.
A 21-inch 1600×1200 resolution tablet, the 21UX, was available for several years (up to 2011) at various price points. As of November 2007, both a 12-inch and a 20-inch widescreen model were released, the 12WX and the 20WSX, respectively. All three models usd Intuos3 pens with 1024 pressure levels.
In 2010, the 21UX saw a major design revision and a price drop. It offered a higher pen resolution and 2048 pressure levels due to Wacom's integration of Intuos4 technology. The 21UX's sensitivity was much greater than most tablet computers and portable computers offering similar functionality on built-in screens. In addition, the 21UX included an integrated stand that allowed the user to tilt and rotate the unit.
On September 13, 2011, Wacom announced its newest and largest Cintiq, the 24HD (DTK-2400). It contained a 24-inch 1920×1200 resolution LCD with 92% coverage of the Adobe RGB color gamut (versus 72% in the 21UX). The pen technology, like the 21UX, was identical to the Intuos4 in resolution per inch and sensitivity. This model included an integrated adjustable-tilt stand that allowed it to hang off the edge of the table and closer to the user.
The Cintiq Companion was essentially a mobile version of the Cintiq 13HD model, combining the tablet/screen hybrid with an Android tablet (Cintiq Companion Hybrid) or a Windows 8 tablet PC (Cintiq Companion). Although not as costly as the high-end Cintiq tablet (namely Cintiq 24HD Touch), the Cintiq Companion was priced over its standalone Cintiq 13HD counterparts.
Each Cintiq Companion model featured 2048 pressure levels with multi-touch control, 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, an express key located on the left of the tablet that could be customized, excellent palm rejection, a silky matte finish, a stand that allows the user to tilt the unit to three different degrees and weighed about 3.9 pounds.
Inkling, announced on August 30, 2011, enabled artists to draw sketches on paper that could be converted into digital images. Inkling consisted of a receiver, which artists insert any kind of paper into, and a special pen which used real ink. As artists draw on paper, they add new layers by tapping a button on the receiver. When the artist finishes a sketch, they can connect the receiver into a USB port, where the sketches are imported into Sketch Manager and can be exported to Photoshop, Illustrator or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, as well as various image formats. As of 2013, the device was priced US$99/€74.
Wacom offered additional products which it marketed in various parts of the world. The "Graphire Wireless" was a 6 in × 8 in (15 cm × 20 cm) version of Wacom's discontinued Graphire line (largely replaced by the Bamboo) which communicated with the computer via Bluetooth rather than a USB cable. The Graphire digital pen was interchangeable with the original Bamboo model's digital pen but not later Bamboos. In Europe, Wacom offered the "Colorelli", a tablet and software package marketed as a creative outlet for children; "JustWrite Office" a basic tablet for capturing written input in office applications; the "PL Series", similar in function to the Cintiq but with more modest specifications suited for office use; and the "Signature Tablet", a monochrome display/tablet for capturing signatures.
Discontinued products from Wacom included the ArtZ, ArtZ II, ArtPad, ArtPad II, Digitizer, Digitizer II, Favo, UltraPad, Graphire through Graphire4, Intuos through Intuos4, 15-, 17- and 18-inch Cintiqs, Volito, and PenPartner. Early models used RS-232 and Apple serial connectors, with a conversion to USB in later models.
Several Wacom models, including the Intuos4 and Bamboo, were criticized for the drawing surface's roughness, which caused the small pressure-sensitive 'nib' to wear down, and become slanted or scratchy in the same way as pencil lead, albeit more slowly. This could also cause the surface to become smoother where it is used more, resulting in uneven slick and non-slick areas. As the nibs were only short lengths of plastic, it was possible for a user wanting a more durable nib to improvise a replacement from a short length of nylon 'wire' (approx 0.065 inches or 1.7mm diameter) like that found in grass trimmer or 'weed-eater' refills, suitably straightened by hand and smoothed (rounded off) at one end with abrasive paper. Additionally, a thin sheet of glass or acetate can be placed over the drawing surface to avert surface or nib damage in the same way as screen protectors are used on phones, although in the case of glass this may induce a—usually modest—parallax error when tracing.
The Intuos4 surface sheet was revised in October 2010 to reduce nib wear. Wacom Europe sells a bundle that includes the revised surface sheet and replacement nibs at a reduced price for installation in existing Intuos4 tablets.
The Linux Wacom Project produced drivers for Linux/X11.
ThinkyHead Software published the free TabletMagic driver package. TabletMagic is a driver for discontinued serial-port Wacom tablets for use on modern Apple Macintosh computers under the Mac OS X operating system. A USB-to-serial port adapter is required. (OS X open source drivers for many such adapters are available from Source Forge.) Not all original functions of the tablet are supported by TabletMagic, but most basic functions are retained.
Wacom tablets use electromagnetic resonance technology. Since the tablet provides power to the pen through resonant inductive coupling, no power is required for the pointing device. As a result, no batteries are inside the pen (or the accompanying puck), making them lighter and slimmer.
Under the tablet's surface (or LCD in the case of the Cintiq) is a printed circuit board with a grid of multiple send/receive coils and a magnetic reflector attached behind the grid. In send mode, the tablet generates a close-coupled electromagnetic field (also known as a B-field) at a frequency of 531 kHz. This close-coupled field stimulates oscillation in the pen's coil/capacitor (LC) circuit when brought into range of the B-field. Any excess resonant electromagnetic energy is reflected back to the tablet. In receive mode, the energy of the resonant circuit’s oscillations in the pen is detected by the tablet's grid. This information is analyzed by the computer to determine the pen's position, by interpolation and Fourier analysis of the signal intensity. In addition, the pen communicates information such as pen tip pressure, side-switch status, tip vs. eraser orientation and ID number (to differentiate between different pens, mice, etc.). For example, applying more or less pressure to the tip of the pen changes the value of the pen's timing circuit capacitor. This signal change can be communicated in an analog or digital method. An analog implementation modulates the phase angle of the resonant frequency, while a digital method is communicated to a modulator that distributes the information digitally. The tablet forwards this and other relevant tool information in packets, up to 200 times per second, to the computer.
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