Google backs initiative to create ‘universal stylus’ pen that can draw on almost ANY device (but Apple and Microsoft have yet to join the project)

  • Google and 3M are the latest tech firms to support the Universal Stylus Initiative
  • The Universal Stylus Initiative aims to persuade tech companies to create penlike devices that can be used across all types of tablets and computers
  • So far, the group counts Intel, LG, Dell and tablet maker Wacom as members
  • Despite this, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung aren’t supporters of the initiative

Google and 3M just became the latest tech giants to join an initiative aiming to create a stylus that can write or draw on almost any device.

The project, called the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), was created in 2014 and already counts tech bigwigs Intel, LG, Dell and tablet maker Wacom as members, among other companies.

With the addition of Google, there are now 30 companies signed onto the effort.

This healthy mix…points toward the growing strength of the active stylus ecosystem worldwide,’ the organization said on Tuesday in a statement.

Despite USI’s growing popularity, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung still aren’t a part of the group.

USI wants to create a standard stylus design that manufacturers can use to create pens that are compatible with touch screen devices from different gadget makers, such as tablets and computers.

If tech firms create styluses that use the same specifications, a consumer could buy one stylus and theoretically use it on both a Dell laptop and a Google Pixelbook.

Styluses typically contain sensors that detect pressure, movement and the orientation of the device, BBC noted.

The USI standard recognizes 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

With a standardized design, USI hopes that each stylus will be able to store a user’s settings, like ink color and style, while being able to switch to a less noisy frequency to prevent interference

The stylus would also be equipped to work even if a friend is drawing with a stylus on the same touchscreen device.

Many tech giants already produce their own proprietary styluses.

Earlier this year, Google released the Pixelbook Pen, which works with the company’s line of Pixelbook laptops.

It seems possible that future Pixel devices and Chromebooks will be built using the USI standard.

Microsoft and Apple also have their own styluses.

The iPhone maker released its Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro in November 2015, while Microsoft’s Surface Pen became available in mid-2017.

Samsung has released styluses along with several of its flagship smartphones over the past few years.

The Korean gadget maker’s infamous, exploding Galaxy Note 7 came with its own pen, as did prior Samsung smartphones.