The Surace Pro tablets and especially the Surface Studio are advertised as creatives’ tools and yet few apps actually take advantage of their true nature. Of course, there’s always the full-blown Photoshop but few if not none that were designed primarily for touch and pen the way Procreate on iOS is. That target is what a new Microsoft Garage named SketchPal is trying to hit and, in trying to find its voice, it may have found a home in the upcoming dual-screen Surface Neo.
There are very few graphics software designed specifically with the Surface family in mind. The likes of Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook do work with styluses but they do not behave well with touch. At one point in time, Sketchable was the poster child for the Surface Studio but it was clearly made with large screens in mind.
This new SketchPal app coming from Microsoft’s Garage skunkworks arm is meant to address that and target “smaller” devices. Currently, only the Surface Go really fits that description but there is one more coming next year, the dual-screen Surface Neo.
That device was shown to be compatible with the Surface Pen but the fold in the middle may make some question its usefulness as an art tool. Developer Arcadio Garcia argues, however, that it actually makes it the perfect device for SketchPal. Rather than seeing it as an obstacle, the dual-screen makes for the perfect setup of having a reference on one screen and the actual work on another, both view in perfect sync with each other.
Of course, we won’t know if SketchPal will work perfectly that way until the Surface Neo does surface. Until then, SketchPal offers painting and drawing functionality based on Microsoft’s Windows Ink framework, delivering deep integration with Surface devices without competing with professional programs like Photoshop or even Sketchable.