April 17, 2014 (Tokyo, Japan) -- Wacom Co., Ltd. today announced that cumulative production of its unique digital pen components reached 100 million units as of April 16th, 2014. Called “Wacom® feel IT technologies (branded feel™),” the pen components are optimized for use in mobile products such as smartphones and tablets. Out of the 100 million, 90 million have been manufactured in the last three years, illustrating the accelerating demand for digital pens as a speedy, high-precision input tool on mobile products.
Wacom’s component business took off in 1991 on an OEM basis, supplying key components to leading overseas and domestic PC manufacturers. This followed the trend to incorporate pen input features into operating systems such as Windows 3.1 by Microsoft and “Pen Point” by GO Corporation in the USA.
The business grew to an annual production of 100,000 units by 2002, increasing to 1 million units by 2006. Adoption of feel by Samsung Electronics for their “Galaxy Note” flagship smartphone in 2011 accelerated this growth, building momentum. The annual volume in fiscal year 2013 reached 43.5 million units thanks to the growing smartphone market and diversifying customer base to include tablets and e-books on Windows and Android OS.
In addition to the current EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) technology, Wacom will be adding two new types of electrostatic pen technologies --- “Active ES” and “Passive ES” --- to achieve further growth. With this “Multi-Technology Strategy” covering a wide range from heavy to light user needs, Wacom will drive the penetration of digital pens as a key interface tool on mobile products, and demonstrate its long term commitment to its partners worldwide. (For more details see Wacom’s press release on March 11, 2014.) It is also possible to assign a dedicated ID to each pen, identifying individual users who can then collaborate, share and edit handwritten content via the cloud. Security features can also be added to the ink data exchanged on the cloud.
In February this year, Wacom announced “WILL (Wacom Ink Layer Language)” which makes "digital ink“ compatible across multiple operating systems and hardware platforms. The Wacom Ink Layer Language paves the way for “digital stationery” in which people can use digital pens with mobile products and share content over the cloud. This combination of WILL, the evolution in our pen technologies, and the growth in how people use technology means that Wacom is in a uniquely strong position to lead the movement towards the age of “digital stationery” in collaboration with our industry partners.
Founded in Japan in 1983, Wacom is now a global company with offices around the world supporting marketing and distribution in over 150 countries. For more than 30 years, Wacom has worked with the most creative people and organisations to inspire and equip them to make the world a more creative place.
Wacom’s products have been used by loyal customers to create some of the most exciting digital art, films, special effects, fashion and product designs. They have also played a significant role in making technology accessible in a natural and intuitive way through pen tablets, interactive pen displays, digital interface solutions, stylus products and creative companions. These all make it possible for everyone to express their creativity in digital media, whether artists, business executives or people enjoying everyday creativity.
Wacom’s interface technologies are offered as OEM solutions to leading manufacturers with Wacom feel IT technologies found integrated into the PC, tablet and smart phone products of many strategic partners around the world.
*Wacom, feel are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Wacom Co., Ltd.
*All other trademarks and product names are property of their respective companies.
Public Relations, Wacom Co., Ltd
Components Business Unit, Wacom Co., Ltd