By Stephen Preston
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
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
- 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
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
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