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N-Trig Pulls a Rodney Dangerfield



One of my biggest disappointments over the past year has been with Dell’s Latitude XT and its N-Trig digitizer. There have been many improvements over the past several months with regards to the driver issues, but it goes without saying Dell and N-Trig certainly stumbled coming out of the gate. As a result, I’ve become quite hesitant in recommending any product with an N-Trig digitizer, like Dell’s Latitude XT and HP’s tx2, until I sense that things have become more stable. Hopefully Windows 7 will change things in that regard.

Loren Heiny, a well respected Tablet PC blogger and Microsoft MVP, has experienced similar problems to mine, and has noticed that N-Trig’s digitizer is not pressure sensitive compatible with PhotoShop. As a result, N-Trig is not gaining any respect among cartoonists and artists who rely upon PhotoShop as the industry standard in graphic design. Loren’s got a great write-up on his research and comes away with the opinion that N-Trig is not going to address this issue with a driver update. He believes the community should come together and write an   open source driver, and until such a driver is released, encourages us all to educate the graphic design community regarding the Latitude XT, HP tx2, and N-Trig’s digitizer:

So where do we go from here? My guess is no one is going to step up and help. That’s just a guess. They would have done so by now if they were willing. Without that, I’m wondering if there’s something that we can do as a community. I have no idea if it’s even feasible, but is there a driver we could write? Is there a way we could convince Adobe and the others to better support the Tablet API? What do you think?

In the meantime, we really need to spread the word that for illustrators, cartoonists, graphic artists that use Photoshop and similar apps and need pressure sensitivity, Tablets like the HP Tx2 and the Dell Latitude, which both use the N-Trig digitizer, is not what you should get for a Tablet. Instead, look into a Wacom based Tablet PC, like one from Lenovo, Toshiba, TabletKiosk, Motion, etc.



  1. Sumocat

    04/20/2009 at 8:03 am

    I’d pin the blame on Adobe and the others who still aren’t fully supporting the Tablet PC API after seven years, except Wacom does offer an enhanced driver for TPCs with Wacom digitizers. If they want to stay competitive with Wacom, N-Trig needs to do the same.

  2. Frank

    04/20/2009 at 12:03 pm

    Sorry sumocat, but it’s N-Trigs fault, and only N-Trigs.
    You can take a short look at this thread in the Adobe forums which discuss this issue with N-Trig, and if you read the posts of ‘Chris Cox’ you’ll see where the issue is.

    There are also a few mails from N-Trig quoted, it’s obvious that N-Trig won’t solve this issue and does think they did everything right, well, N-Trig is a very stubborn company with poor drivers.

    Two small quotes from Chris Cox @Adobe:
    “Well, we did work with Microsoft. But it sounds like N-Trig didn’t. WinTab is currently the only way to get all the pressure/rotation/angle/other bits from tablets. The newer tablet API is very minimal, and doesn’t supply all the needed information (it has other holes as well, but they’re on the list to be fixed).”

    “It is clearly not an Adobe problem. Adobe supports the only tablet API that allows all the information needed. Adobe works with tablet vendors to test their driver software, test their hardware, and make sure tablets work correctly with our products.

    N-Trig chooses to support the minimalist API that doesn’t work well with most tablets, doesn’t support all the information necessary, and, well, almost nobody uses.
    N-Trig also chose not to test their product with any professional applications supporting tablets.
    As far as I know, N-Trig hasn’t responded to any communication from Adobe.

    I’m sorry that some customers were lead to believe that the N-Trig based tablet PCs were compatible with professional software.
    I wish I could help, but N-Trig are the only ones who can fix their drivers.”

  3. Sumocat

    04/20/2009 at 1:51 pm

    @Frank: Yeah, I know it’s N-Trig’s problem. That’s why I said they need to take action.

  4. JimAtLaw

    04/20/2009 at 10:36 pm

    Seems like N-Trig might have their hands full preparing for the accelerated Windows 7 launch, ne c’est pas? I’m guessing that a small company like this might have had to reallocate some resources when that happened.

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