Feeds

Pen+tablet bandwagon finally rolling, Nvidia leaps aboard

The moving finger, having writ, has moved on?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.