Wacom and Microsoft have made a ground-breaking move to create a stylus that will work on any Windows 10 or Wacom pen-enabled device, including Microsoft’s Surface Pro.
Under the much-cooler-than-it-sounds Universal Pen Framework initiative, Wacom and Microsoft hope to deliver pens that support both Microsoft Pen and Wacom Active ES devices by the end of 2016 – what a Christmas present that would be.
We know the pen will be capable of notes and simple drawings, but will it be suited to higher-level creativity and artworks? Some artists prefer Wacom pens, which have more levels of pressure sensitivity than Microsoft’s, and are more precise. If Microsoft and Wacom’s styluses include this and other art-friendly features, this move could be incredible for digital art.
This is not the first time Microsoft and Wacom have worked together to create more flexible styluses. A Wacom-produced pen worked with both the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 – but Microsoft then switched to working with N-Trig (a company it now owns).
Somehow, this new universal pen was neglected a mention at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference where they also announced the Windows Ink, a writing and sketching workspace geared to encourage pen use– but the stylus was later granted a mention in a hurried tweet from Microsoft’s Bryan Roper.
Kevin Gallow, corporate vice president of Windows Developer Platform, thinks the agreement “will help all customers get a great Windows Ink experience no matter what pen-enabled Windows 10 device they have.“ We’re wondering if this means there are pen-enabled devices we don’t know about yet.
Wacom is also looking to the future - specifically, to how they can “accelerate the emergence of digital stationery in collaboration with valued partners like Microsoft,” said Masahiko Yamada, President and CEO of Wacom. So, hopefully we can look forward to more.
For now, Wacom hopes the new device - which we wistfully imagine combining the best of both Microsoft’s and Wacom’s expertise - will “help bolster broad consumer demand for digital pen and ink as enabling tools for communication, expression, business, education and entertainment.”