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.
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.