ViewSonic to challenge Wacom in drawable LCD screens, readying 32-inch pen-on-display

The company says its new digitizer monitor, due out in August, will cost around US$2,999

For the growing community of artists and designers that draw directly on touch-sensitive screens, workspace is a major factor, and monitor maker ViewSonic is readying a 32-inch monster.

The company is challenging market leader Wacom, whose largest screens are in the mid 20-inch range but incorporate stronger technology for pen and markup sensitivity. The large ViewSonic display on the Computex show floor responded well to drawing motions and different degrees of pressure, but occasionally missed clicks and swipes.

The company is showing the display at the Computex exhibition running this week in Taiwan. While specifications are still being finalized, it is due to go on sale by the end of August in the U.S., for US$2,999.

"We just started making our own digitizers six months ago," said George Lee, deputy director of the company's consumer electronics division. "This was due to requests from our customers."

The device uses a digital pen, which is rechargeable via a USB cradle and lasts 80 hours per charge. Lee said the monitor will appeal to the traditional graphical market, but it is has also generated interest from companies that use digital contracts, because it can easily capture and save customer signatures digitally.

With this in mind, ViewSonic will market the device at larger companies in industries such as telecommunications, hotels and education.

The company is also showing a smaller, 22-inch pen display that can register both and pen and standard finger gestures, so users can turn to touches and swipes for menu controls, then use a pen for artwork and other finer drawing.

ViewSonic is also demonstrating an interesting 22-inch "smart display" that has a touch screen and runs Android 4.0. It feels a bit like a low-end tablet (that requires a constant power source), but ViewSonic says it is meant more for connecting to cloud applications and virtual desktops, as a type of universal thin client.

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