ZWSoft announces an Android based version of its ZWCAD Touch product, a free product that opens and edits DWG files.
ZWSoft, based in Guangzhou, China, is the most aggressive of the AutoCAD cloners, but in all fairness their ambition is not to beat Autodesk at their own game but to play their own game. The company has introduced free versions of their flagship CAD product ZWCAD, called ZWCAD Touch for the iOS and Android platforms. It has updated its iOS version to conform to the new operating system with flat graphics, and most recently it is rolling out the new Android version. The company says there is a base of 100,000 iOS users for ZWCAD Touch. According to the Product Manager for ZWCAD+ Daniel Huang, the release of ZWCAD Touch for Android will open up design for an even broader mobile audience of Android phone users.
The company has hired outside testers to perform performance tests on its products and claims to be able to meet the standards set by leading CAD products. ZWCAD Touch includes DWG file viewing and editing, and voice annotation. The company says it has developed its own memory optimization tools to ensure fast response times.
Longtime CAD expert, Ralph Grabowski looked at ZWCAD’s tools and notes that DWG compatibility has reached a level of functionality that enables much easier work across products these days. He says, “without doing detailed in-depth testing, I’d say ZWSoft are as good as everyone else, because they all use the OpenDesign APIs, which are pretty good now. It just a question of whether a CAD vendor implements specific commands, like Helix or Fields.”
Grabowski notes that Autodesk continues to throw the clone makers a curve ball in areas like Sheet Set Manager and Dynamic Blocks. In essence he says, these features are actually mini-CAD systems.
AutoCAD will continue to update its format, but CAD drafting is reaching a tipping point towards commodity. As Grabowski notes, DWG interchange has become stable and dependable, and the new generation of clone makers are as interested as forging their own areas of expertise as they once were dedicated to slavishly copying AutoCAD. In small shops, products will increasingly be chosen on the basis of personal choice – what tools do users like using – and by price. Perfect compatibility will still be important for large projects and in big companies.
However, it’s also true that design tools are becoming increasingly specialized and drafting tools are often most relevant for creating drawings. Increasingly, that’s the function that’s becoming interchangeable.