Wacom Europe has today announced a new consumer new A6-sized pen tablet called the Volito2 (pictured). The dark gray, metallic-colored tablet has improved ergonomics, an updated design and now comes with an interactive tutorial which fires up when the tablet is first used. It will be available at the end of March priced £35.99 (approx €51.84). Meanwhile Wacom Japan has announced the A5-sized FAVO, a Bluetooth pen tablet, which has a 10m range. It can be recharged and used for up to 25 hours. The Wacom FAVO will be available in Japan from March 25 priced ¥19,824 (approx $186). There are currently no plans to launch the product in Europe.

Click here to read an AltaVista translation about the Wacom FAVO Bluetooth

Press Release:

Pen tablet specialist launches new consumer tablet to enrich a PC's capabilities

Wacom Europe today launches its new consumer pen tablet, Volito2. Expanding and enriching the capabilities of a PC, the stylish, entry-level Volito2 is targeted at a wide range of consumers. With added enhancements including improved ergonomics, an updated, modern design, and an interactive tutorial, Volito2 is perfect for painting, writing and editing photos.

The Volito2 now comes in a dark grey, metallic colour that will look stylish in any home. The surface of the active area on the tablet has been specially treated to enhance the feeling of pen on paper and it also indicates in which area the pen can be activated.

The pen takes advantage of Wacom’s patented ‘penabled’ technology and as a result is both battery-free and cordless. Using a pen in such a natural way helps to provide a personal touch when creating digital communications such as greetings cards and invitations. For ease, there are two buttons on one side of the pen, which by default are configured as right click and double click. However, these can be freely customised to suit the user.

Extending the functionality of its predecessor, Volito2 is easily installed, connecting to the PC via a USB port, allowing the user to plug and play. For the first time, Wacom has developed an interactive tutorial that is included in the Volito2 package. Fired up on first use of the tablet, the user is guided step-by-step through the features and capabilities of Volito2 by a speaker. Designed to overcome the learning hurdles, the tutorial is simple to use and provides feedback at every step. Also included is a printed guide. This is ideal for consumers who like to work on the PC with something to read at the same time.

Using a pen on a PC provides a more natural movement than with a mouse, as it allows a more relaxed hand and arm position. The entire screen can be navigated with much smaller, unrepetitive movements, involving more muscles which reduce the strain. The Volito2 has been designed with improved ergonomics including a textured grip area for added comfort and optimal grip, and a hand rest on the tablet itself. Also included is an integrated pen rest on the edge of the tablet, so that the pen is always to hand. The tablet measures 20x25cm and has an A6 active area, which is ideal for the home user who may have restricted space.

Jens Krüger, product manager consumer products, Wacom Europe, comments: ‘Nowadays, with the integration of pen functionality in more software applications and operating systems, we believe that the use of the pen will become the next standard for computer input devices. The launch of the Volito2 responds to the demand for an entry-level consumer pen tablet with good functionality, durability and a modern design at an affordable price.’

Bundled Software
Volito2 comes with ArtRage® Wacom Edition, a painting software by Ambient Design, who received an award from Microsoft for Tablet PC applications. The package is designed to provide a realistic and fun simulation of paint, pens, pencils and crayons on a canvas. This software version was specifically developed for Volito2 and adapted for the target group of an entry-level consumer tablet. Its functionality offers the option of painting an image from a blank canvas or loading in a picture to trace – the latter is ideal for getting to grips with the tablet.

Volito2 in combination with the painting software is a perfect tool for new users. The pen has a pressure sensitive tip with 512 pressure levels, which enables the user to control the stroke width when painting – the more pressure applied, the thicker the lines become and the darker the colour appears. A resolution of 1016 dpi is provided for high accuracy.

New features of the ArtRage Wacom Edition include the addition of cursors to represent different tools. The user is able to tell which painting tool is being used from a glance at the cursor. Additionally shortcuts have been integrated, allowing users to take advantage of the keyboard. The standard version of ArtRage is designed with the Tablet PC in mind and does not fully utilise the keyboard’s capabilities.

Bonus Software Programme
Additional to the ArtRage painting software, Wacom will provide each Volito2 customer with a voucher for its bonus software programme. By logging onto the Volito website – www.my-volito.com/software, consumers can download a programme of their choice from the selection on offer. The programmes include ArcSoft Photo Impression, Funhouse and PhotoStudio for creating photo collages, calendars and photo editing. Also included is PhotoArtist™ Express by Shortcut® which allows digital photos to be turned into art drawings in a unique and creative way. The selection of programmes will be extended and updated regularly.

Pricing and availability
Volito2 will be available from the end of March 2005 from all PC stores such as PC World and will be priced at £35.99 including VAT. The product comes with a two-year guarantee.

System requirements
The new Wacom pen tablet connects via a USB port to the PC and installs under Windows 98 SE, ME, 2000 or XP.