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Wacom smartens up its styluses, notetaking at CES 2016

New styluses for Android and Windows mobile devices join an update to the company's Spark notetaking system.

Wacom's Bamboo Spark smart notetaking folio gets handwriting recognition.
Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of CES 2016. Our editors bring you complete CES 2016 coverage and scour the showroom floor for the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Following up on its introduction of the Bamboo Smart line of styluses for Samsung mobile devices in September-- those equipped with EMR (electromagnetic resonance) screens -- Wacom has rolled out similar $40 notetaking styluses for Windows mobile devices incorporating active electrostatic (AES) technology.

Currently supported devices include the Dell Venue 10 and Venue Pro 10 (5000 series), the HP Pavilion X2, the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga and the Toshiba DynaPad N72.

Functionally, the AES styluses differ from the EMR versions because they require a AAAA battery, while the EMR styluses don't. Wacom rates the battery life for a year at three hours per day. The AES stylus also has two switches, compared with a single switch for the Samsung stylus.


Bamboo Smart for AES technology.


The AES pen will be available in February and the EMR version is available now.

In September Wacom announced Bamboo Spark, a smart folio that translates your ballpoint scrawl into a digital format stored in the cloud; after using it a bit, I felt that one of the big drawbacks as a notetaking solution is the lack of handwriting recognition. Four months in that's arrived. When you sync with the app, it sends it to Wacom's Inkspace cloud. Once synced, you can now export text from the app and search within it. I'm not sure that sounds like the optimal workflow, but I'll know more once I get a chance to try it out.

The handwriting recognition is available for 13 languages: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.

It's available now.