Design insights & tutorials.

Wacom Bamboo Touch Revealed Early

bamboo-touch-early-header

Seems Wacom has a new product to be released, and the beans were spilled early by retailer Best Buy, who put the product out on the shelves before the official release date. In fact Wacom has no information on their site about the new device. Wacom’s new Bamboo Touch is a USB trackpad incorporating multi-touch, giving users an iPhone-like experience on their Mac or PC. Early reports on the pricing are around $70 USD for this model.

The model featured here is finger input only, but there’s been speculation across the web that there are going to be multiple models of the device, some which support a pen/stylus in addition to the finger gesture input. And extrapolating from Wacom’s current product lines, it’s reasonable to deduce that there may be an Intuos Touch, perhaps incorporating advanced features, and perhaps the models that include a stylus.

Any graphics tablet user who has experience with both Wacom’s Bamboo products and their Intuos products knows that there is a huge difference between the two lines (which is also reflected in the prices). It’s fair to assume that if an Intuos Touch is in the pipeline, it will be far more fully-featured than the Bamboo version of the same product.

Many might dismiss the device, thinking that drawing or sketching would be far less intuitive than working with a pen/stylus, and I tend to agree. My interest in the device isn’t for drawing, rather for rotating, zooming/scaling and moving the canvas around in Photoshop and Illustrator. A far more intuitive method for those actions other than hunting down the keyboard shortcuts every time.

Here’s a brief intro video by a YouTube user who picked up a Bamboo Touch:

Here’s the text from the box:

Smart
Gain all the benefits of Multi-Touch. Use Bamboo with all standard operating systems and applications. Custimize your Bamboo, too. Flexible and versatile, Bamboo is the smart choice.

Engaging
Engage with your computer in an all-new way from the very first touch. Multi-Touch makes complex commands as easy as a gesture, while Bamboo’s ample tablet space lets you get in touch with your work.

Natural
Make your every gesture count! Scroll, zoom, rotate or flip through photos and documents. Everything at your fingertips.

  • Multi-Touch input for intuitive and direct control
  • Use a single finger to navigate and multiple fingers for gestures and clicks
  • Use finger gestures to scroll, zoom, rotate, go backward or forward
  • Spacious touch area for all gestures
  • Four user-defined ExpressKeys for shortcuts or clicks
  • Easy USB connection
  • Interactive tutorial helps you make the most of your Bamboo
  • Overall tablet size: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.3 in (208 x 138 x 7.5 mm)
  • Wide-format active area size: 4.9 x 3.4 in (125 x 85 mm)

PC: Windows 7, Vista or XP with Service Pack 2
Macintosh: Mac OS X (10.4.8 or higher), Intel or PowerPC Processor

wacom-bamboo-touch-box-back

All you Wacom users out there: what’s your take on this product? Something you’re interested in or not? How can you envision using muti-touch gestures in your creative workflow?

About the Author, George Coghill

George Coghill isa freelance humorous illustrator/cartoonist specializing in mascot cartoon character design & cartoon logos. His cartooning & illustration work can be seen at CoghillCartooning.com and at his cartooning and illustration blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter here!
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Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/AshleyDolbert Ashley Dolbert

    Even in applications like Illustrator and Photoshop, I wonder how useful it will be in the short term?

    While I agree with you that it's more intuitive, designers have been using keyboard shortcuts for so many years, that doing it any other way is going to feel unnatural, and will slow them down at first.

    It might be useful for newer designers or younger kids just coming up who haven't spent years developing the motor memory that the keyboard shortcuts take.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    That's a great point Ashley, muscle memory might be a barrier to entry. Although I have adjusted to most of the new and changed keyboard shortcuts in CS4.

    I'm going to pick one of these Wacom touchpads up, but I am waiting to se if there indeed are multiple models and an “Intuos” line before doing so. I'll be sure to have a full write-up/review on the 'zine once I do :)

  • http://www.fuelyourapps.com chadengle

    Its basically a big version of the track pad I have on my Uni-Body. I don't really see much a use for it unless you really get used to one. However I am more interested on how well it works just like the trackpad. I think this is pushing technology forward which is cool. Maybe mutli-touch monitors next?

  • timothymarshall

    Went to staples last week, down the road from where I live. They were still selling the current models, but were showing the new ones. With video. Had stylus. And multi-touch. And 3 diff models. The models were on display as well.

    They have a much smaller drawing surface.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Hmmm, maybe a trip is in order… thanks for the tip! I am assuming these would not be considered full replacements for the graphics tablets, but curious how they would work with a stylus.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    The ability to position it where it fits best and the larger surface area is probably a benefit. My interest is more in manipulating documents than actually drawing with it.

  • Mike Shoaf

    I'm with you on that, George. I'm right-handed, but I could almost see using this thing with my left hand (for scrolling, rotating, etc.) while keeping the Intuos going in my right hand. Sorta like a step toward a Minority Report interface!

    That vid makes me wonder if it's not as fluid as it could be, though. Looks a bit clunky…

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Funny, I just rewatched Minority Report last night! Your take on it is the same as mine. I am guessing the guy in the video wasn't too coordinated, seemed to be fumbling around with everything.

  • sosfactory

    What about pressure sensitivity? I bet you will be able to use the pen over the table and it will allow pressure sensitivity too.

    It´s the key on tablets, if not it´s basically like the touch pad of my laptop, a cool and expensive touch pad, useful for the standard user, maybe designed specially for Windows 7 users (new multi touch feature added), but not too useful for designers, the true target audience of this kind of devices.

  • http://twitter.com/BeliriaDesigns Helen Jane Davies

    Interesting but not sure if it would be a viable tool to design with, unless it does come with the stylus tool as well. Like chadengle mentioned sounds more like a track pad at the moment. I wont be running out to buy one just yet, mind I have my eye on one of the Cintiq as my next Wacom tablet.

  • dotdesign

    Really interested in this, do we think it could help with RSI?

  • http://twitter.com/stukes stukes

    id buy it if i had 80 bucks laying around

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    I see this more as a companion to your existing tablet as opposed to a replacement for one, at least for graphic artists. The area is just too small to be used as your main input device for sketching, especially if one has large or dual monitors.

  • Paul Morel

    It does indeed seem somewhat less intuitive than using a pen, but I'm sure it's going to help with digital finger painting! :D

  • zanazal

    awesome! I only use my macbook pro touchpad, get aches from using a mouse. This is great, now i can even get a statinary mac too :D

  • frogpad

    I am including the video of the one handed SoftFrog on tablets and iPhone These are both in Alpha stage, yet are working very well. Because the FrogPad IP is multi touch, we are using both multi touch and single touch technologies on our SoftFrog. FrogPad is now a proven User Interface.

    I suggest that it can be an alternative/additional user interface for all Multi Touch applications.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te9O8HavQpQ

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Interesting. However I'd venture that most users are working with a traditional keyboard and a standard monitor. Looks like this requires a touchscreen monitor to use.

  • frogpad

    Yes of course It is only for Multi Touch applications.

  • http://twitter.com/rceordinary reyhan m

    oh my gosh. what a wonderful tablet, i want it so!

  • timothymarshall
  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Ah cool, thanks for the heads up! Looks like there's a touch-only, pen-only and atouch/pen model. No Intuos-level versions, but kinda not surprised on that.

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    Also, got a message from Wacom via Twitter: as with the other Bamboo tablets, the settings are global, meaning there are no per-app settings as you get with an Intuos. Not a deal-killer for the touch functionality, but there's no way I could use a tablet without per-app settings.

    I am eyeballing the Touch-only model right now. Will have one of these in my hands within 2 weeks.

  • http://www.mtlaw.net/ raleigh divorce lawyer

    Wow this sounds awesome and very useful.

  • overithiswire

    I just grabbed the touch only model a few hours ago, it was the only one on the shelf!! Going to check it out now… i will let you know what i think!!

  • overithiswire

    George, I think you will really like it. So far I've just been using it to surf the web and regular computer navigation. I will say it serves no use for me in any of my design software, because i pretty much have everything set up for the express keys on my cintiq. It would be great if down the road they update the driver software and make it so you can program the keys on the bamboo touch to specific applications instead of it being global. All in all i think it's really great- I'm liking it better then my mouse! It's most definitely a fun way of navigating around your computer!

  • http://coghillcartooning.com George Coghill

    That's great to hear. I just ordered one this weekend, went for the touch + pen model. Hoping it can be a small tablet for the laptop when needed (which isn't often) and the touch tablet for the desktop mainly. Will be posting a review once it arrives and I've had time to play with it.

    Thanks for the info!

  • drocka

    Using a trackpad for navigating folders, page scrolling, etc. on my MacBook Pro feels so much more efficient than performing those same tasks with the mouse. I agree with everyone that this isn't really a design tool and having a keyboard, Intuos tablet AND trackpad could use up alot of desk real estate! I would love to see a larger tablet with a hotkey switch between stylus and trackpad features to use with my desktop.

  • Pingback: Review: Wacom Bamboo Touch + Pen Graphics Tablet | GoMediaZine

  • http://www.beeldbuijs.nl/ Laptopleon

    Very interesting, I'd like to see a 'pro' version though. How about an Intuos5 with multi-touch gestures?

  • Stevo

    Nice, they copy the mac gestures :D

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
    dizi izle

  • http://www.drmustafaerarslan.org/ panax

    Very cool and interesting article