While known primarily for creating products that digitize analog gestures via a pressure-sensitive stylus, Wacom’s focus as of late has been on extending this experience back over to native analog tools –– yes, the original plain old paper and pen.

Utilizing electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology to bridge the gap between the physical and digital, the company introduced the Bamboo Spark last year to high praise thanks to its ability to create an analog sketching experience that could be uploaded and saved to the cloud for digital applications and storage.

This morning, the company announced two updates to their “smartpad” lineup with the Bamboo Slate and Bamboo Folio models as well as updates to their Inkspace app to make their unique take on the analog to digital sketching experience smoother and more intuitive.

Similar to the Bamboo Spark that was released last year, users create a sketch or a series of notes on the notepad as they would normally. Once completed, the user simply taps a button on the smartpad to initiate an upload to the Cloud. Once uploaded, the file can be retrieved from another device or shared in the most common file formats including Wacom’s own multi-layered WILL format. With the new update, users will now have the option to vectorize their sketches or convert their handwriting into text –– a huge time saver for many workflows. And yes, these smartpads will take any generic paper you have laying around:

“Paper notebooks still play an essential role at the beginning of the idea process,” said Mike Gay, Senior Vice President for Wacom’s Consumer Business Unit. “They are often the last analog step within an otherwise fully digital lifestyle. So our goal was simple: add the benefits of digital technology to the paper notebook and create an intuitive tool to help make ideas, no matter where and how they start.”

While the Slate is a stripped-down and simplified version of the smartpad ($130 for the half letter version and $150 for the full), the Folio contains additional space for business cards and documents at a slightly costlier $200. Find out more over at the Wacom Store.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.