updated 10:10 am EDT, Tue May 15, 2007
Wacom this morning took its tablets in a different direction with the Bamboo, one of its first designer tablets. Made to look like a luxury Japanese pen set, the A6-sized drawing surface also has a circular trackpad for scrolling through images and other documents without interrupting the drawing process; programmable buttons surrounding the pad will also perform specific actions on command. The pen can also quickly change roles, Wacom adds. A button on the side switches to a gesture mode that controls the computer without affecting the drawing area onscreen.
Although designed with Microsoft's Office 2007 and Windows Vista in mind, the Bamboo works with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later as well as earlier Windows 2000 and XP systems. It ships first in Japan, reaching stores on May 18th at an estimated price of $75. A North American release is expected in the near future but hasn't been announced. [via Akihabara]