Digital pens have been around for a number of years, but their adoption rates are still critically low. Whilst they appear to have almost been leapfrogged by the uptake of new tablet hardware in the education and business sectors, they still have a niche market, and can appeal to those passionate individuals who still see something classic and timeless in the handwritten form, without being left behind by today’s reliance on digital documentation. However, with the GITEX Technology Week coming up in October, it seems this niche market is perhaps being abandoned in favour of an all digital approach.


The benefits of digital pens acting as solo pieces of technology are numerous. They act in a simple way which produces great benefits; a Kindle does one job exceedingly well, reading books, and this is its strength. Having notes backed up by cloud technologies means it is even harder to lose track of important information that before would be subject to the realities of holding onto a piece of paper. By taking away the worry of losing track of important documents, it removes a problematic step, and allows the quality and content of what you’ve transcribed to become the focus.


The main drawback to digital pens are their inherent closed off nature. You are limited by the conversion software chosen by the hardware manufacturers. Whereas most tablets these days offer a variety of inputs and outputs, digital pens are often a lot more restricted, resulting in a segregated experience in line with your other tasks.


Looking forward


Wacom are a company synonymous with the digital pen, and their evolution as a company has been a reaction to the changing needs of both businesses and consumers alike. At a press conference on the 18th September, the company announced their attendance at the GITEX Technology Week, taking place between the 20th - 24th October. As a company with enough leverage to dictate the future of digital note-taking, they have clearly marked out their vision for the future of e-pens and the like. With their powerful Cintiq solutions, there are many advantages to having digital pens paired with a robust tablet interface. Couple that with competitive pricing and a pen that requires no power of its own, and Wacom’s product line becomes extremely compelling.


A plethora of products are expected to be revealed by Wacom at GITEX Technology Week, but there haven’t been any reports of the introduction of a stand-alone digital pen revealed so far. Whilst news agencies can imagine the introduction of a stylus which couples strongly with the iPad, there has been no mention at all of a digital pen for those who aren’t completely ready to give up on seeing a physical mark on a page which is both immediately available and backed up digitally.


What does seem clear is that we’re heading for an all digital future, and digital pen makers are positioning themselves for a stronger future by adopting a strategy that marries both the digital pen and tablet together.