Autodesk announced today a call for Beta testers for the newest addition to our product line – the Autodesk Layout - an Android-based tablet designed specifically for drafting.
Tablet devices targeted at specific markets are nothing new – as witnessed by the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Barnes & Noble Nook HD in the ‘eReader’ domain. With the Layout, Autodesk plan to do the same for drafting.
Readers of Kean Walmsley’s blog will be familiar with the AutoCAD “Big Split” project. This was a very significant architectural refactoring of AutoCAD to isolate the AutoCAD ‘application logic’ (AcCore) from the user interface, which has led to the creation of a number new ‘AcCore-based’ products, such as AutoCAD for Mac, AutoCAD WS, and (of course) the AcCoreConsole ‘scripting engine’ that ships as part of the AutoCAD 2013 console.
Autodesk Layout uses AcCore to implement an Android native version of AutoCAD. This in turn sits on top of an enhanced Android operating system, and includes the following enhanced features:
- All the functionality of AutoCAD on a tablet device.
- The ability to work with DWG files stored locally (LS mode) or with files stored on the Autodesk 360 server (WS mode).
- Full ObjectARX, .NET and LISP emulation, allowing Layout to load almost any app designed for AutoCAD.
- Seamless integration with the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.
But that’s just the software. The device itself boasts a groundbreaking flexible (foldable) OLED dsplay incorporating ultra-high precision touch sensitivity. The OLED screen unfolds from the tablet body and can be laid flat on a traditional drafting board to create a comfortable and intuitive drafting environment in the office.
Image: Using the Layout flexible OLED display.
For ease of input, the Layout offers a range of 'touch' input devices:
Image: Layout input device options.
In the field, the ‘hard’ screen can be used for lower precision markup.
The Autodesk Layout will initially ship in 3 variants, the model numbers reflecting the size of the foldable OLED screen (conforming to ISO 216 standards for easy drafting):
- Layout A4 – 210mm x 297 mm OLED screen.
- Layout A3 – 297mm x 420mm OLED screen.
- Layout A2 – 420mm x 594mm OLED screen.
Future A1 and A0 versions are planned.
Asked about this announcement at a press conference this morning, Autodesk representative Cal Brass stated “Autodesk have a long and proud history of offering best in class solutions for the design community. However, I make a point of never commenting on technology articles on April 1st”.
Please sign up here if you’re interested in becoming a Beta tester.