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

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.