Microsoft has partnered with digital pen maker Wacom to develop “universal” stylus pens for Windows devices. The new deal is aimed to uplift Windows Ink experience that debuted with Windows 10 Anniversary Update last week.
As a result of the new partnership, future Wacom digital stylus models will use Microsoft Pen and Wacom Active ESTM Pen protocols. New pens with the support of both the protocols are targeted to be available by the end of this year.
“By combining Windows Ink technology, learnings from Surface and Wacom DNA into a high-quality writing instrument built for Windows Ink, customers have an easy choice when they need an accessory pen,” says Aaron Woodman, Senior Director of Marketing, Microsoft, in a blog post.
Tokyo-based Wacom is considering the new deal as “groundbreaking” and hoping that it would bring back the demand of stylus pens. “This is truly groundbreaking: now we have two leading pen protocols—by Microsoft and Wacom—that can be tapped on demand with a single pen,” said Masahiko Yamada, President and CEO of Wacom, in a statement.
“Supporting multiple protocols makes our pen incredibly fast and easy for people to write intelligent notes, be creative, and get productive when using Windows Ink on their Windows 10 devices. As well as advocating the digital pen as a primary interface tool for mobile products and services, we also believe in the power of digital ink as a transformational medium.”
Microsoft at its Build 2016 developer conference last week announced Windows 10 Anniversary Update that will come preloaded with Windows Ink. This new experience will ease the usage of stylus pens on hybrid devices like the Surface Pro 4.
Windows Ink will let you start drawing on your Windows 10 running Surface Pro 4 simply by clicking the eraser on the Microsoft Pen. Alternatively, the new experience will be accessible directly through a taskbar button.
Apple Pencil also in the race
Notably, Microsoft isn’t alone in the race of opting digital pen to expand productivity on its computing platform. Apple also brought stylus to its iPad lineup with the Apple Pencil last year. Both the tech giants are additionally providing some new tools to help developers creating new apps with stylus input support.
Moreover, companies like Wacom already providing technologies such as tilt-sensitivity and digital ink support to not just conserve stylus pens but also to empower the future of advanced writing tools on computing devices.