Industry-First: Active Stylus Works Seamlessly Across Multiple Devices

WAKEFIELD, Mass., USA – September 22, 2016 – The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) marked a technological and market breakthrough today with the announcement of the availability of the USI 1.0 Stylus and Device Specification. Over 30 global companies were involved in the development of the USI 1.0 Specification.

The USI 1.0 Specification provides independent hardware vendors (IHVs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the first time an industry standard, non-proprietary, active stylus protocol. This solution will enable the OEM, IHV and software ecosystem to develop a new generation of active styluses that provide consumers a consistent, customizable and interoperable experience across make, model and form-factor. The USI 1.0 Specification also enables new usages for active styluses, such as multiple styluses operating simultaneously on a single device. The USI Specification can be implemented on a wide range of touch-enabled devices, including phones, tablets, computing and entertainment platforms.

Approximately 259 million tablets will ship in 2016 according to Gartner, Inc. Most of those tablets will be active-stylus-capable and ship bundled with a stylus. Touch Display Research predicts that active-stylus market revenue will double from nearly $3 billion in 2016 to almost $6 billion over the next four years.

The development of USI 1.0 Specification was a collaboration among several companies including multinational OEMs (Dell Inc.; HP Inc.; Lenovo Group Ltd.), as well as silicon and component providers (Atmel/Microchip Corporation; Cirque Corporation; Hanvon Technology Co., Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Sharp Corporation; Synaptics Inc.; Wacom Co., Ltd.; Waltop International Corporation).  Sharp Corporation, Hanvon Technology Co., Ltd and Waltop International Corporation recently demonstrated a working implementation of the USI 1.0 Specification. (Watch the video).

“Our goal was to have a single, universal stylus capable of operating with all the devices that a consumer owns or uses in the workplace. The USI 1.0 Specification achieves this goal. It replaces multi-protocol, propriety approaches with a single solution for the entire marketplace to use.” said Peter Mueller, chairman, USI. “The USI 1.0 Specification was developed with input and broad support from key industry players.  Their close involvement will help ensure its rapid marketplace acceptance and implementation.”

About the USI 1.0 Stylus and Device Specification
The USI 1.0 Specification defines a standard signaling mechanism and communication protocol between a stylus and a touch-enabled device. The 1.0 Specification features a robust two-way protocol designed from the ground up to support a rich set of base features including multiple, simultaneous styluses as well as extensibility for per-vendor customization and future usages.

Users will be able to use a single USI stylus across all of their USI-enabled devices and any USI stylus shipped with devices will work with other USI-enabled devices, even those from different manufacturers. Additionally, the USI 1.0 Specification also provides the capability to use multiple styluses from different manufacturers on a single device. This is a breakthrough capability and industry-first enabled by the USI 1.0 Specification.

An additional benefit of the USI standard is the ability to deliver a consistent stylus user experience across platforms. This consistency and ease-of-use, coupled with interoperability, increases the consumer appeal of an active stylus and will help proliferate the technology.

About Universal Stylus Initiative
Launched in 2015, Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) is an international not-for-profit technology trade association whose mission is to define industry-wide standards for interoperable communication between an active stylus and touch-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, and computing and entertainment platforms. The USI specification provides for a stylus capable of communicating with different touch sensors and touch controller integrated circuits, so that users can employ the same stylus across numerous touch-enabled devices, as long as each device’s touch controller is compliant with the USI specification.

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USI Stylus and Device Specification Supporting Member Statements

Atmel (a subsidiary of Microchip Technology)
Richard Kerslake-Smith, Senior Product Manager – Atmel (a subsidiary of Microchip Technology)

As a founding member of the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), Atmel, a subsidiary of Microchip Technology, is excited to see the release of the V1.0 specification. This initiative involved truly industry-wide collaboration to produce an interoperable, feature-rich universal stylus standard. Significant contributions by Atmel to the specification through technical work groups (TWG), a chair of Protocol sub group and a communication work group (CWG) enabled the specification to be approved by the USI Board.

USI builds on the already proven transceiver architecture from Atmel, and with Atmel supporting future developments in USI through the technical steering group (TSG) and Touch Interface work group (TIWG) we look forward to supporting USI products in the near future.

Dell Inc.
Liam Quinn, Dell Client Solutions CTO

“Dell welcomes the USI v1.0 specification because it enables a great active stylus experience across a variety of touch-enabled devices,” says Liam Quinn, Dell Client Solutions CTO. “Enabling interoperability among multiple manufacturers also will help drive broad customer adoption of the active stylus.”

GP Batteries
Dr. Mingde Wang, Head of Strategic Business Unit, Lithium

GP Batteries is uniquely positioned to support the USI universal protocol with design-in focus on safe operation and dimensional stability for alkaline AAA/AAAA and Li Ion rechargeable.  Our Lithium Ion miniature batteries are equipped with multiple safety features, including safety circuits, shut-down separator and safety vent.   GP Batteries Li Ion cylindrical steel can cell design will not swell, optimizing stylus space requirements with a range of available diameters, 6.7mm to 10.4mm.

Hanvon Technology Co., Ltd.
Maxwell Xiang, General Manager of Hanvon Technology Co., Ltd.

As a board member of USI, Hanvon Technology has been actively promoting the construction and the verification of the standard. Up to now, Hanvon has realized the USI specification v1.0 stylus, which is tested to be of good compliance and can be in mass production. And we will take an active part in the upgrade of the USI standard and add more valuable extended functions for USI stylus in the future.

Lenovo Group, Ltd.
Ritch Russ, Director, Technology & Innovation Sourcing

“As one of the founding members of USI, Lenovo is excited about the release of the V1.0 specification and the innovation and interoperability that it enables for digital stylus,” said Ritch Russ, director, Technology and Innovation Sourcing, Lenovo.  “The new V1.0 specification is a key milestone for enhanced digital pen performance and adoption.”

Raydium Semiconductor Corporation
Alex Yuan, R&D VP

Raydium will focus on 10.1” ~ 15.6” on cell touch NB with USI stylus. The target customers are Top 5 NB brands.

Sharp Corporation
Masayuki Miyamoto, Engineering Director, Sharp

Sharp has been involved in the USI specification development from the very beginning and studied how to implement the specification effectively into a touch controller. An IC supporting USI V1.0 is already fabricated and samples are available for performance evaluation. The IC enables touch devices to support multiple active styluses at the same time and will be in mass production soon.

Wacom Co., Ltd.
Nobutaka IDE, Senior Vice President, Head of Technology Solution BU

Wacom is passionate about promoting digital pen and ink and leading efforts around the Digital Stationery Consortium.  We support activities of USI in that respect, and welcome the USI specification version 1.0 as an important milestone for widespread use of digital pen around the world.

Waltop International Corp.
Jerry Tang, President of WALTOP International Corp.

“Writing is a natural way of expressing ideas, and taking notes on all occasions. The writing history started very long time ago when culture started to be recorded. Generations after generations, writing is there for people to make records of occasions and preserve ideas. Yet this began to change when electronic input took place. In recent years input developments in mobile devices make pen input less used.

To bring writing back, Waltop has been dedicated to Digital Writing since 1997, and for 19 years, various efforts were made for this purpose.

In 2014 when USI was initiated, Waltop started to work jointly with those who shared the same concept of bring natural input back to the scene. Version 1.0 is now launched for making possible a stylus writing on different touch devices.

As before, Waltop will commit to writing and will adopt the USI spec into our stylus development and bring the USI stylus to market as soon as we can.”