Samsung doubles down on the stylus, goes into bed with Wacom

By , Feb 1, 2013

Wacom stylus iPad (The Verge 001)

And just like that, Samsung of South Korea buys a five percent stake of the stylus maker Wacom in a transaction valued at $58.2 million. Samsung of course is riding high on the popularity of its pen-based Note devices and Wacom suggests that Samsung with this acquisition is aiming to incorporate its stylus tech into Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Note that Wacom also makes digital pen accessories for iPads and Mac-compatible digital tablets that are popular with professional designers and illustrators. I’m holding my breath for an Apple-made stylus because pen-based mobile devices are gaining traction, in spit of Steve Jobs disdain for the stylus…

The Korean news agency Yonhap (via DailyTech) reports that Wacom’s sales to Samsung Electronics have increased in recent years.

Wacom expects the inclusion of its digital pens in Samsung Electronics’ smartphones and tablets to lead to the expansion of the user base of its products.

The South Korean conglomerate is allegedly working on a low-priced Galaxy Note with an eight-inch screen to take on the iPad mini.

The firm has been cleverly advertising the S-Pen features so I expect this upcoming Note to be positioned as a viable iPad mini contender for the creatively inclined folks.

Here’s an example ad making the case for pen-enabled tablet computing.

Steve Jobs famously dissed these things, quipping at the January 2007 iPhone introduction “if you see a stylus, they blew it”.

But Steve may have gotten it wrong.

If growing sales of Samsung’s Notes are anything to go by, there is indeed a market for phones and tablets which utilize the good ol’ stylus. The Note phablet launcher in October 2011 and as of August 15, 2012 tallied ten million shipments.

steve jobs who wants a stylus

Its successor, the massive 5.55-inch Galaxy Note II, was released in August 2012 and garnered more than one million sales in South Korea alone. It’s now on track to clock ten million shipments by March 2013.

I think Samsung’s numbers caught many naysayers on the wrong foot. I know I am taken aback by how many people actually like these styluses on their Galaxy devices.

Say what you will, but Samsung’s phablet has become a device market mainstay.

Galaxy Note II (be creative)

Apple is researching styluses, that much we know from patent filings.

An Apple-made pressure-sensitive pen for iDevices coupled with some clever handwriting recognition tech built deep inside the bowels of iOS could go a long way toward enhancing the iPad as a tool for creative pros, don’t you think?

Which brings me to my question: should have Apple gotten into bed with Wacom first?

Lead image via The Verge.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    the stylus i dont have is already lost…lol

    • Kurt

      in the note II when your stylus got a certain distance from your phone it alerts you. they fixed the problem of losing styluses. thats one innovative company.

  • http://twitter.com/therealjdizzle Jason Masters

    Yes?

  • Muhammad

    Wacom I’m gonna let you finish but Adonit Jot is the best stylus ever made

  • http://twitter.com/brandonweidema Brandon

    a stylus doesnt make sense for an iphone which is what i think Steve Jobs initially meant, a stylus for an iPad however makes much more sense to me.

    • http://twitter.com/int3nsive Int3nsive

      When he said “who wants stylus” he was refering about the need of a stylus to operate with the OS… a stylus for Steve Jobs was something to be like an accessory and not something mandatory for the OS (like it was for Windows Mobile because of the tiny buttons and lack of multitouch)

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      agreed..

  • http://twitter.com/adampaulik Adam Paulik

    If you wanna draw then stylus is fine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kdahnim Khalid Saeed Dahnim

    I love stylus and wish if apple can reinvent it.

    • http://twitter.com/_moose239 Max Jarrett

      I love using a stylus for various tasks too.

      I don’t think if Apple reinvent it they would make it better. There are some things that other companies beat them at. Price for one, imagen how much an iStylus would cost from Apple where as Adonit make in my mind the best stylus in the industry & it costs $15 for a classic.

      • Kurt

        agreed

  • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

    I love the Intuos tablet.

  • CollegiateLad

    Wacom???? Meh…. There are several companies who make a better styli.

  • batongxue

    Yuck! Who wants a stylus?
    Steve was and will always be right!

    • Kurt

      steve was wrong. dead wrong. haha…actually the stylus is great. i the note II you can do things you cant with just your finger. if there is a menu where you need to hover your mouse over, you can do that with a stylus but when touch input there is not hovering. so you just can’t do things. stylus are extremely accurate for so many things. to say you want less features in your phone/tablet because you want steve to be right makes you a fool. more features is a good thing

      • batongxue

        I would agree that it is accurate. But I don’t think apple will take it into account in the near future. It just does not look cool, and it feels as if going back whenever I saw people using a stylus. And people who actually need that accuracy form a stylus are in minority. I think third party styluses for iDevices would just do fine for them at the present.