Wacom is aiming to make its digital ink the common standard with the launch of WILL, the Wacom Ink Layer Language, inviting software and hardware partners to get onboard with a single standard irregardless of OS, device, or cloud. “WILL is the initiative to create a seamless digital inking experience across every mobile device and ecosystem” Wacom said today of the project, which will consist of an SDK that allows all platforms to to speak the same ink language.
The benefit, Wacom says, is that consumers and software developers won’t have to check whether the digital ink they’re penning on one device is compatible with a different one, or indeed whether it’ll be recognized in the same way by alternative cloud services. Instead, they’ll be able to move around their notes, sketches, and other content ubiquitously, and be involved with group collaboration irregardless of what each user is working on.
Meanwhile, there’ll also be a Wacom ink engine supplied, which encodes pen or finger strokes independent from their method of input. APIs for hooking up hardware to that ink engine will be supplied too, whether they’re third-party pens, Wacom’s own styli, finger-touch, or other types of digitizers.
The ability to recognize handwritten digital notes isn’t new – Microsoft has been offering it broadly since the early days of OneNote on Windows XP Tablet Edition, and Samsung repopularized it with its Galaxy Note series of phablets – and various cloud services, like Evernote, can handle ink-to-text recognition. However, transferring notes between platforms has generally been a disappointing experience, with each company using its own technologies.
Wacom will be integrating WILL into its future products, and hoping other companies choose to do the same. There’s no indication of whether any third-parties have actually expressed an interest at this stage.