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Google backs a single stylus for all your devices

Chrome OS and Android join the Universal Stylus Initiative.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
February 1, 2018
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Universal Stylus Initiative

The Universal Stylus Initiative has found a powerful new ally in Google. Mountain View has officially joined the project's top-tier backers, which include Intel and Lenovo, giving it the power to participate in USI's development of an open active stylus standard and to approve its final specifications. A USI stylus will work with any device designed to adopt the standard -- you don't need to configure or to set it up beforehand to be able to use it, and it even remembers your settings even if you switch devices.

USI's technology works by using a two-way (stylus-to-device and vice-versa) communication mechanism, which can command the stylus to switch to a less noisy frequency to prevent interference. The mechanism also allows preferences (like ink color and style) to be stored in the stylus itself and makes it possible for compatible devices to be able to recognize multiple stylus input. Want to collaborate on a drawing with a friend? The tech will enable you to draw together at the same time.

The fact that Google joined the project likely means future touchscreen Chromebooks and maybe even Pixel devices will support the USI standard. If that's the case, you'll be able to use one digital pen not only for multiple Google devices, but also for those made by Dell, Wacom and USI's other members, in the future.

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