Google joins “universal stylus” group, hopes for cross-device compatibility

Google joins “universal stylus” group, hopes for cross-device compatibility

Enlarge / The Pixelbook Pen. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Google has joined the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), a group of over 30 companies committed to supporting an “industry standard, non-proprietary, active stylus protocol.” The group was founded in 2015 with the idea that a single standard would allow consumers to buy an active stylus once and use it across multiple devices from different manufacturers.

The USI logo.

The USI logo.

The USI 1.0 spec determines how the stylus sends data to the connected screen, including information like pressure levels, button presses, and eraser operation. The stylus can also store preferences such as pressure levels and ink color.

A standard is only as good as the members supporting it, and in addition to Google, the group does have some touch component vendors like Wacom and Synaptics on board. The only actual devices builders, though, seem to be Lenovo, Sharp (Foxconn), and Dell. That’s not an impressive list.

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