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October 22nd, 1999

[4:00 PM] Wacom Ships Pen/Mouse Input Combo

The Graphire
Click for larger image
Wacom has announced that their mouse and pressure sensitive pen combo, called Graphire, is shipping. The devices are USB input devices designed to offer users more flexibility that remains convenient. According to Wacom:

Quantity shipments have begun of a new computer input system for both PCs and Macintoshes that combines a cordless, scrolling mouse with a cordless, pressure-sensitive pen according to an announcement today by Wacom Technology.

Called Graphire(TM), the system features a high-precision cordless mouse paired with a cordless pressure-sensitive pen designed for more natural drawing and writing as well as adding signatures to computer documents.

The Graphire Mouse

The Graphire Mouse has a resolution of 1015 lines per inch, about three times more than a conventional mouse. In addition to being cordless, the Graphire Mouse contains no rolling ball on its bottom, eliminating the need for constant cleaning to assure smooth and precise tracking. Another unique feature of the Graphire Mouse is its scrolling wheel. Unlike other scrolling mice, it provides scrolling capabilities for both Macs and PCs.

The Graphire Pen

The Graphire Pen is the newest version of the original Wacom pen introduced in America in 1989, which was the world's first cordless, batteryless, pressure-sensitive pen for computer users. The Graphire Pen can sense 512 levels of pressure, making transitions between light and hard pressure smoother and reflecting the subtle nuances of a user's hand inflections whether drawing pictures or signing names. The Graphire Pen also features a built-in eraser on the end of the pen, another innovation first introduced by Wacom in 1995. It works like a real eraser. Just turn the pen over and rub out what you don't want in a painting application and even in most word processors. Notable, too, is the inclusion for the first time of Wacom's famous DuoSwitch(TM) in a system priced at less than $100. The DuoSwitch is a programmable double-sided switch on the pen barrel.

How Graphire's Cordless Tools Work

Graphire's cordless mouse and pen work when used on the 4" x 5" active area of the Wacom tablet surface, which serves as a mouse pad for the mouse and a drawing surface for the pen. The pen and mouse work together with the tablet using a technology called electromagnetic resonance, which uses a very low power radio signal to locate the tools on the tablet surface and to send location, pressure and other information to the computer. Unlike infrared devices, there are no line-of-sight problems caused by infrared transmitters or problems with signals getting crossed if multiple units are in one room together.

System Requirements

The Graphire system operates with a personal computer with serial port on Windows 95 or later or Windows 4.0 or later; USB connections require Windows 98. For Macs, an iMac with USB and Mac OS 8.5 or Power Macintosh with USB port and Mac OS 8.0 or later are required.

Bundled Software Graphire includes MetaCreations Painter Classic, and Wacom PenTools for the Mac. The package retails for US$99.95 and should be showing up in retailers during the next few days. You can find more information on the product at the comapny's web site.


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