Last week, while Josh was in a travel-weary coma, I went through his wallet and found his login to SolidSmack. (Your wallet, Josh? That’s pretty lame, man.) I choose to abuse my new found access to the SolidSmack media empire by writing this rant… directed towards Wacom.

Hi, I’m Jeffrey Matthias. When not breaking my way into other people’s blogs, I am an industrial designer. Since the portable OS based tablet market began (read: 2010 iPad launch) I have been biding my time and waiting for a tablet to come to market that gave us the portability of containing its own OS (unlike the tethered Cintiq) and a pressure-sensitive stylus at around the iPad’s low $500 entry price (there go all those Windows tablets you were about to tell me about). Patiently, I watched for news of Wacom making a deal with a tablet maker, just knowing that someone at Drawing Tablet Central knew that there was a whole market segment of people like me who were dying to get a Cintiq on the cheap, or more accurately, and affordable, non-tethered drawing tool.

HTC’s Flyer is almost that. Except that it’s only got a 7″ screen. And the pricing that leaked was pretty high ($800+), and we still don’t know when it’s coming out (Q2 2011 is as good as it gets), AND they’re pitching it for taking notes, not drawing, which gives no indication if there will actually be sketching program that supports the pressure sensitivity. So, kinda back to square one. In the mean time, Jeff Bare, and industrial designer I follow on Twitter (@jbaredesign) sent me in the direction of Shapedad’s Stylus Socks Pro on Etsy. After a leap of faith that cost $14 (including shipping) I finally had a “dumb” stylus that actually worked well on capacitive screens without having to press really hard. If you have tried any of the commercial styli, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The Stylus Socks Pro
The Stylus Socks Pro

So, armed with a good stylus, I bought an iPad 2 and have been a happy camper, content with my choice to abandon my pressure sensitive dreams…

…until Wacom announced that they are getting into the capacitive stylus game! Woo hoo! Happy day! Surely they will be bringing some aspect of their industry dominating experience over to this new market that so badly needs a pressure sensitive stylus. Nope! It’s just as dumb as the rest of them. Their new Bamboo stylus (available in May for $30) brings nothing new to the table except purported high build quality (where, I admit, even my beloved Stylus Socks Pro doesn’t exactly shine, but who cares?). I am not a fool. I understand that Wacom’s tablet tech works because of a sensor array behind the screen or under the surface of the tablet, but how about some sort of work around? I’d pay $100 for a rechargeable, Bluetooth pressure-sensitive stylus. I think a lot of professionals would.

Well, Wacom, I can tell you, this is one designer who already has a great stylus. Sure, it looks like a piece of cloth glued to a stick, but it does one thing your fancy-shmancy Bamboo stylus is almost guaranteed to not do: work well.

One more thing before I finish this rant. Why is it that whenever I cook with curry, the smell is always 97% better than the taste? I think we should boycott the Bamboo stylus AND cooking with curry.

[Note from Josh: I agree with that last thought wholeheartedly. I’d like to thank Jeffrey for breaking into my blog and writing this. Jeffrey, I need my wallet back now. By the way, it’s not the last you’ll hear from this opinionated industrial attitude. Stay tuned…]

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