Graebert announces Android-based DWG CAD product

Code-name Radon, the new software will be a fully functioning DWG editor, with the same capabilities and APIs as Graebert’s desktop products.

CAD software specialist Graebert GmbH today announces it is working on a full-working CAD product for Android-based tablets. Code-name Radon, the new DWG-compatible program will offer the same feature set as its desktop Ares Commander versions on Linux, Mac, and Windows desktops.

Graebert will bring DWG-compatible CAD to the Android platform later this year. (Source: Graebert GmbH)
Graebert will bring DWG-compatible CAD to the Android platform later this year. (Source: Graebert GmbH)

Graebert is not a newcomer to mobile CAD. It was the first CAD vendor to offer a product for Windows CE in 2000, and in 2005 it shipped SiteMaster, a mobile CAD product for building surveyors, which runs today on Windows 8 tablets.

The rapidly growing tablet market, combined with the rapid growth in tablet market share for the Android platform, convinced Graebert the company needed to provide a working mobile CAD product. “Tablets will become the natural extension of computers,” notes Cedric Desbordes, Radon product manager. “There is a growing market for us to serve.”

Radon will read and save in DWG format, the file format popularized by Autodesk AutoCAD and the Lingua Franca of 2D technical drawings. Graebert says Radon will have all the features of its desktop versions, with a new tablet-specific user interface. The same APIs available on Aras Commander (Tx C++, LISP, FDT) will also be available on the Android version, allowing the third-party network using Graebert technology to also take advantage of the Android platform.

Because Android is a free operating system supported by Google, there are a wide variety of devices, not all of them suitable for CAD. Graebert recommends a 7” tablet as the minimum for a good user experience. After that, Desbordes says performance will vary based on the hardware spec.

“This is not a viewer,” notes Graebert founder and CEO Wilfred Graebert. “This is a fully functional CAD product.”

“The cross-device experience is very important,” adds Desbordes. “We want it to be natural to work on a drawing on the go, and to have the same features on [both the desktop and tablet.]”

At this time Graebert is only working on an Android version. Noting an IDC prediction that no more than 30% of the tablets shipped by 2017 will be iPads, Wilfred Graebert says “we will start first with Android.”

There is no word yet on pricing or release date. Graebert will present the software in public for the first time at its annual conference in Berlin in October, but is currently taking applications for a private beta to begin soon:

What do we think?

Despite the growth of 3D modeling for design in recent years, 2D is still in widespread use and always will be. There are already CAD products from a variety of vendors on both Android and iOS, but none with equivalent capabilities to a desktop design product; most are sold as viewers with some markup capabilities. The 300-pound gorilla in the room is AutoCAD 360, which Autodesk readily admits is not a full-featured CAD product. It will be interesting to see how Graebert solves the problem of creating detailed technical drawings with stubby fingers.