The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) is a specification for digital pens that can be used to write and draw on on touch-enabled PCs, tablets, and Chromebooks with active digitizers.

Now the organization behind the standard has introduced USI 2.0 which brings support for new optional features including NFC wireless charging and in-cell display panels.

Penoval USI Stylus for Chromebooks

NFC charging makes use of the Wireless Charging Specification (WLC 2.0) for Near Field Communication hardware, allowing low-power devices to be charged wirelessly at a power transfer rate of up to 1-watt. While that would be an incredibly slow way to charge a higher power device like a phone or tablet, it provides enough juice to charge a device like a stylus, smartwatch, or wireless earbuds. And the technology can be both for communication and charging simultaneously.

Support for in-cell touch sensors brings support for using a USI certified pen on more devices. And it also brings expanded support for tilt detection and an upgraded color palette with support for inking with more than 16 million colors (up from just 256).

Just don’t hold your breath waiting for USI pens with those features. The original USI 1.0 standard was introduced in 2016, but the first devices compatible with the standard didn’t begin shipping until three years later.

The initiative has picked up some steam since then though, so hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2025 for the first USI 2.0 hardware to hit the streets.

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  1. Sounds great in theory, I just hope it doesn’t turn into another xkcd-style “14 different standards” situation in practice. I say this as someone with at least 3 different, noninteroperable stylus standards among my various devices at home.

  2. Since when is color limited by the pen? Isn’t that something dictated by the software? (and to a degree the display technology used)

    If you could clarify how that colour limitation works (or maybe some links to it), I-d personally be curious/interested

      1. Came her to thank you for your honesty! This kind of response is deserving of a job on the front ranks of our media today, I can think of no better qualifier.