Touchpads got their start in notebooks, but they're slowing creeping into the desktop realm. Apple has its Magic Trackpad, and Logitech offers something similar for the PC. Now, Wacom has thrown its hat into the ring with a product that combines multi-touch and stylus input.
The Bamboo Pad has a 5.4" x 6.5" footprint and a thickness of just 0.6". It's small enough to put beside your keyboard but large enough to provide a decent-sized tracking area. Wacom's site mentions support for multi-touch rotating, scrolling, and zooming. The promo video also hints at broader support for the full range of Windows 8 gestures.
According to Wacom, the Bamboo Pad "automatically recognizes whether a pen or finger are first to come into proximity with the pad's surface." Resting your hand on the touchpad while drawing with the stylus apparently won't generate unwanted input. The "digital stylus" has a fine, pressure-sensitive tip that should produce much nicer doodles than the blunt styli (yes, that's a real word) that have become popular accessories for tablet users.
Two versions of the Bamboo Pad will be available: one with a wired USB connection and another with a wireless USB dongle. The latter will be powered by a pair of AAA batteries and will come in four different colors, while the wired model will be limited to the metallic motif pictured above. Expect to pay $50 for the wired version and $80 for its wireless counterpart when the Bamboo Pad hits shelves later this month or early next.
Logitech's wireless touchpad sells for $70 and lacks precision stylus support, so the Bamboo Pad looks like a decent deal. As someone who already owns a larger Bamboo Connect tablet, I'm curious to see if the Bamboo Pad's smaller surface area impedes basic sketching. Odds are there's plenty of room for me to scrawl simple stick men.