A long-standing history between Samsung and Wacom

A long-standing history between Samsung and Wacom

Samsung has been one of the key sponsors for Connected Ink since when the event started. As a global electronics company offering a wide range of electronics products and devices, smartphones represent an extremely important segment for Samsung and ranks among the top positions globally.

For over 10 years now, Wacom has been a long-standing provider of digital pen solutions for Samsung on an OEM basis. The “S Pen” has kept evolving and has been integrated into an increasing number of products throughout the years. As the relationship between the two companies continues to grow, Samsung is adopting Wacom’s pen solution into various products, including tablets, PCs, and of course smartphones.


A brief look back at the history

The introduction of the Galaxy Note (pictured) in 2011 and the S Pen launched a new category of mobile devices: the phablet. The S Pen served as a pen, pencil, brush, and highlighter tapping into notepad-like functionality. The Galaxy Note2 came out in 2012 with four times the pressure sensitivity (1024 level), allowing users to express what they want on the large screen.

In 2013, the Galaxy Note3’s S Pen went beyond refining the handwriting experience by drastically enhancing the stylus’s productivity features. The Air Command menu allowed users to instantly access important features simply by ejecting the S Pen or clicking on the button. The addition of this handy feature simplified making calls, sending emails and messages, as well as adding doodles and notes to captured images.

With the release of the Galaxy Note4 in 2014, S Pen enhancements were about fostering a more realistic writing experience and adding more productivity tools, as well as doubling its pressure sensitivity to 2048. The Smart select gave users the chance to use their S Pen to instantly select, share, and save content on their screen – regardless of which app – and then share it with others via email or message.

Let’s take a quick detour here to fill you in on Wacom’s “EMR” technology. “EMR” stands for Electro-Magnetic Resonance and is the technology behind the S Pen. It shares its roots with Wacom’s pen tablets and creative pen displays which are widely used by creators and artists around the world. Wacom has also optimized the technology for mobile IT solutions, so it’s no wonder that the S Pen offers a fabulous pen-on-paper experience.

In 2015, the Screen off memo function of Galaxy Note5 (pictured) allowed users to quickly jot down ideas or information on the screen without even unlocking the phone, thanks also to the unique mechanism that caused the S Pen to pop out with a click.

Since 2017, many of Samsung’s S Pen enhancements have focused on enabling users to express themselves in fun and meaningful ways. Introduced with the Galaxy Note8, live messages are a perfect example of meaningful communication. This feature allows users to get creative with the S Pen to draw their own fun, such as animated GIFS which can be instantly shared with friends or on social media.

With the addition of Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) technology in the Galaxy Note9 (pictured), the S Pen could be utilized to snap a group photo from afar by using the S Pen’s button as a shutter. Users also gained the advantage of being able to remotely control slides in presentations with this feature.

The Galaxy Note10, launched in 2019, came with S Pen Air functions so users could remotely control the device using gestures with the S Pen. For example, within the camera function, it was possible to switch between cameras and shooting modes, zoom in or out of a shot, and execute a variety of other convenient functions, all with customizable gestures.

The S Pen for the Galaxy Note20 (pictured) series in 2020 taps into Samsung’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology that enables more accurate coordinate prediction and offers great handwriting and drawing experiences, along with significantly reduced latency (80% less than its predecessor). The new and expanded Air actions’ gesture features controls make navigating the phone fast and easy, just like a wand.

Two big moves for the S Pen in 2021

In January, the Galaxy S21 Ultra adopted the S Pen for the first time in the Galaxy S series, which has taken the lead in Samsung’s smartphone business. In August, the Galaxy Z Fold3 (pictured)  also integrated the S Pen into the foldable device for the first time, too. Wacom and Samsung have created an out-of-the-box solution to develop the EMR® (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) sensor: it’s ideal for the foldable display, making it even easier for users to jot down notes during a video call or check off their to-do lists while reading emails. Users can also unleash their creativity and productivity on the spacious screen with the S Pen.

Reaching milestones together

With Samsung and Wacom’s unwavering collaboration, the S Pen is set to keep evolving and deliver innovative solutions. Inkang Song, Vice President and Head of Technology Strategy Group of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics said:

“Since introducing the S Pen to the world, we have built a strong and longstanding partnership with Wacom which has resulted in a series of industry-leading advancements. This year, the launch of Galaxy Z Fold3 - the world’s first foldable device leveraging Samsung’s beloved S Pen technology - was yet another proud milestone and testament to our alliance and future-focused approach. Together we will continue to deliver new technologies and innovations that will allow our customers to connect with their technology closer than ever before.”

The S Pen’s “ecosystem” has now expanded to encompass Samsung’s wide-raging product categories such as smartphones, tablets as well as note PCs, such as Galaxy Book Pro 360 (pictured). It will also be supporting Samsung’s expanded Galaxy portfolio moving forward, delivering more sophisticated and distinguishing features for customers.