Feeds

Pen+tablet bandwagon finally rolling, Nvidia leaps aboard

The moving finger, having writ, has moved on?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Trying to differentiate its Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip Nvidia is desperately promoting pen computing as the future, in the hope that no-one will notice it's firmly rooted in the past.

Nvidia is calling its technology DirectStylus, and makes a big deal not only of the fact that the stylus can be made of any capacitive material - which is new - but also that it can vary line thickness and be turned around to work as an eraser, which is well over a decade old.

A tablet being used with a pen

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang shows off his handwriting

Wacom has been doing pressure sensitive styli for ages, and its technology was integrated into many of Microsoft's ill-fated Tablet PCs a decade ago. They sensed proximity, and pressure, and could even be turned round to rub things out with the right software.

More recently Samsung has been putting Wacom gear into its Galaxy Note range, adjusting line width by pressure and sensing proximity, though not yet using the back of the pen as a rubber.

Nvidia's breakthrough is to embed the tech into its SoC, and to let it use any conductive pen, which they claim will be cheaper than special Wacom hardware (currently retailing at £14 from Amazon).

Pens are a very natural way of interacting with computers, and the success of the Samsung Note range has demonstrated there's an appetite for pen computing amongst buyers which other manufacturers are scrambling to satisfy.

The market for ARM-based SoCs is very competitive, and Qualcomm dominates with its Snapdragon range, so any differentiation needs to be fully exploited. Integrating the touch detection makes the Tegra 4 different, and putting on a show with a pen highlights that difference to device manufacturers looking to shave off the cost of a touch-sensor - not to mention keeping Wacom on its toes. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.