No compromises in the company's new flagship convertible.
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.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I missed this story when it was released last month, but better late than never. It's also noteworthy to highlight that Microsoft and N-Trig are not part of this initiative.
Single USI Stylus Will Work Across Multiple Devices, Platforms
WAKEFIELD, Mass., USA – April 23, 2015 – Prominent OEMs, stylus and touch controller manufacturers today announced the launch of Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), a new organization formed to develop and promote an industry specification for an active stylus.
The USI specification will make it possible for manufacturers to design products to a single standard, rather than the variety of proprietary approaches now in use, and it will be compatible with current notebook computer operating system requirements. USI seeks to provide a consistent user experience while increasing the availability and consumer appeal of the active stylus, through providing industry-wide interoperability and adding functions and features not supported by current styluses.
Founding members of USI include Atmel Corporation; Hanvon Pentech Co., Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Lenovo Inc.; Sharp Corporation; Synaptics Inc.; Wacom Co., Ltd.; and Waltop International Corp. at the Promoter level; and Dell Global B.V.; eGalax_eMPIA Technology Inc. (EETI); Elan Microelectronics Corporation; and Focal Tech Electronics, Ltd. at the Contributor level.
USI technology will enable interoperable communication between an active stylus and touch-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, and computing and entertainment platforms from numerous manufacturers, allowing consumers to seamlessly write or draw on different devices with one high-quality stylus that delivers a realistic pen-on-paper experience. The group expects to publish the initial version of the USI specification in the third quarter of 2015.
“USI’s founding members have come together to enable interoperable active styluses that function across many content creation devices,” said Ajay Bhatt, Intel Fellow. “Our goal is to make the active stylus more affordable and widely available in the market. Consumers who buy USI-compatible devices will know that they work seamlessly with each other while providing a high-quality writing or drawing experience.”
“The market has sorely been needing a universal communication standard for active stylus,” said Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research. “To date the market has been limited by proprietary touch controller-stylus solutions, which limits OEM choices and cost reductions. With the USI specification released, we expect that the capacitive active stylus market will grow from 100 million units in 2015 to 300 million units in 2018, opening up new markets such as smartphones and all-in-one PCs.”
[Additional comments from USI founding member companies appear at the end of this press release.]
Features of the USI specification include the method by which the stylus communicates with content creation devices and provides additional information such as stylus pressure levels, button presses, erasing, and other features. Through the same sensor that one’s finger uses to command a device, the stylus communicates via different frequencies to perform the action of writing — writing with up to 2048 different levels of pressure to give the pen-on-paper experience and render thinner or thicker lines in note-taking, painting and doodling, just like an ink pen.
USI is currently accepting additional member companies who are ready to be hands-on in completing and promoting a specification to achieve active stylus interoperability. USI welcomes any organization that wants to be involved in this industry initiative. Several membership levels are available.
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.
USI founding members include Atmel Corporation; Hanvon Pentech Co., Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Lenovo Inc.; Sharp Corporation; Synaptics Inc.; Wacom Co., Ltd.; and Waltop International Corp. at the Promoter level, and Dell Global B.V.; eGalax_eMPIA Technology Inc. (EETI); Elan Microelectronics Corporation; and Focal Tech Electronics, Ltd. at the Contributor level. Membership in USI is required in order to obtain the specification and to license the IP that it contains. More information about USI and USI technology is available at www.universalstylus.org.
SUPPORTING STATEMENTS FROM USI FOUNDING MEMBERS
“As a leading provider of touch solutions, we identified a need to develop a standardized specification for an active stylus across multiple platforms,” said Stan Swearingen, SVP, CTO and GM of Touch Business Unit, Atmel Corporation. “As a founding member of Universal Stylus Initiative, we partnered with 11 other companies to define and drive a ubiquitous standard across platforms with capacitive touchscreens. We are excited to launch this new initiative and standardized specification, and believe it will drive more active styluses into the market, creating an evolution of touchscreen devices into content creation devices.”
Elan Microelectronics Corporation
“With device form factors converging, the demand from consumption to productivity is key in the next stage of technology revolution. We firmly believe that the active capacitive stylus, because it scales to multiple screens and sizes, is the right solution to meet this demand,” said Joe Yeh, Special Executive, President’s Office.
Hanvon Pentech Co., Ltd.
“As an expert in pen input technology and production for over two decades, Hanvon Pentech owns 140 patents and always believes in the beauty of using a digital pen to capture inspirations,” said James Zhang, General Manager of Hanvon Pentech. “The initiative helps to eliminate the limits among touch screens, allowing users to use the same stylus to create content on different mobile devices, while providing excellent and precise writing and drawing experience. As a founding member of USI, Hanvon Pentech is dedicated to the development and promotion of the universal stylus. A new era of expression is coming.”
“Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) benefits the consumer by defining a common stylus interface to ensure interoperability between pens and devices while simultaneously providing room for manufacturers to innovate,” said Wallace Pai, VP Large Display Business, Synaptics. “As the leading provider of human interface solutions and a founding member of USI, Synaptics sees a great opportunity to develop customized features that advance the tablet and notebook user experience.”
Wacom Co., Ltd.
“With the right technologies and IT environment in place now, mobile products such as smartphones and tablets are ready to embrace the stylus as a primary input interface to support human creativity. As the IT industry and customers’ ability to manipulate their devices mature, we believe the stylus, the most intuitive tool in human history, is about to gain momentum rapidly among mobile products. Wacom is happy to take the lead in this momentous shift,” said Masahiko Yamada, president & CEO of Wacom.
Waltop International Corp.
“As a company engaged in developing and promoting the use of the stylus, the most natural input for digital devices, for over 17 years, Waltop has observed the increase in stylus demand for digital devices, as well as the decrease of pen use among students. An initiative to push forward the adoption of the stylus among digital users will effectively advance its use on all mobile devices, in addition to notebook computers,” said Ben Lee, Vice President, Sales & Marketing. “Based on broad knowledge about using digital styluses developed over the years, Waltop is pleased to take part in this group in order to realize its long-lasting vision of bringing pens back to people in writing, sketching, and the numerous other occasions when grabbing a pen and a piece of paper seems so natural.”
Continuing the trend of begun by Intel of featuring Surface Pro artists in promotional videos (reported here and here), Microsoft yesterday unveiled this entertaining profile of Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik.
When I was launching this blog in early 2013, Krahulik's review was one of the only write-ups of the Surface Pro's graphics capabilities written from the perspective of a professional artist.
Microsoft Surface Manager Markus Weickenmeier has written a companion piece on Krahulik and Penny Arcade on the Surface Blog.
The newest installment of the Intel Empowering Innovators series features Batman 66 comics artist Jonathan Case demonstrating his workflow featuring a Surface Pro, Manga Studio and a sweet custom lapboard. Enjoy!
Last fall, I posted some work by traditional illustrator Michelle Kondrick, who had just gotten her Surface Pro. The folks at Microsoft and Intel took note and recently featured her as part of their Empowering Innovators video series.
It's a great showcase for Michelle's work and does a great job showing off the capabilities of our favorite tablet pc, Wacom pen, Manga Studio and Photoshop.
Way to go, Michelle! Visit her blog here: http://michellekondrich.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/empowering-innovators-the-artist/
...But you're a tech enthusiast and already knew that, right?
I'm keeping a low profile today waiting for the dust to settle. And if you're on a deadline, it's probably a good idea to wait for the furor to die down before attempting to update your production machines.
I've updated four systems so far: my Surface Pro (from Windows 8.1 RTM), my Surface RT (from 8.1 Preview), a Dell desktop (from Windows 8.1 RTM) and a custom-built desktop (from Windows 8). No problems whatsoever to report, except that the latter system required almost two hours to update.
If you're moving from Windows 8 to 8.1, remember that the installation will remove your Wacom Feel IT drivers, so you will need to reinstall those.
Intel has yet to update its HD Graphics 4000 driver to Windows 8.1, so we can assume that what installs with the OS is the latest and greatest. Programs like Mischief 1.08 which previously required a separate graphics driver update run fine under Windows 8.1.
Celsys today released a Windows 8.1 patch for Clip Studio Paint, Clip Studio Action and Clip Studio Coordinate. This is for the Japanese versions only. The English language site does not mention version 1.2.8, but I'll report back as soon as it becomes available. We can only assume that Manga Studio will be updated shortly thereafter.
If you absolutely must have the latest, greatest version now, a fan-made English translation of CSP 1.2.8 is already available here.
If you spot any issues after you update your Surface Pro or other Windows 8 system, please report it in the comments section below and we'll do our best to verify and find a fix.
Kudos to reader Rick Malambri (@RickMalambri), who alerted us to the following:
...there is a work around for Sculptris as well as Sketchbook Pro. If you had previously installed the latest Intel HD drivers (which everything ran fine on), and then you updated your surface with the latest firmware/updates, it overwrites the HD drivers, which causes conflicts with a some software (this includes SBP and Scultris). To fix this, just reinstall the latest HD drivers from the Intel website and everything should be back to working perfectly again.
PS: once you install those Intel drivers, Microsoft's update will say there is a new update to install. DO NOT install it, as it will revert back to old drivers and cause the issues again.
Hope this helps!!
I installed it just now and confirmed that Sculptris runs again. And, even better, the driver allows you to enable canvas rotation in Sketchbook Pro. This latter crash bug sent us into a bit of a panic Friday!
UPDATE: Due to the nature of this site, I'm forced to install and uninstall more software than is wise. Can't say for sure whether that or one of Microsoft's latest round of updates (including today's firmware update) may have caused my Surface Pro to revert to older graphics drivers once again keeping Sculptris from launching.
I downloaded and installed the May 10, 2013 (220.127.116.11.3165 or 18.104.22.16865) driver from the Intel download center and Sculptris runs again.
For a little over a week, I've been concentrating on learning Manga Studio on the Surface Pro, so I hadn't tried to run Sketchbook Pro recently.
Earlier today, I got a dreaded crash upon attempting to open SBP 6.01 that was very reminiscent of the crashes we reported last month. My first guess was to try deleting the user preferences .xml file. This workaround fixed the previous crashes, but didn't work this time around.
Although I believe my Intel HD4000 driver was installed correctly, I went ahead and re-installed it. Upon reboot, Windows is advising me to install the 6/11/2013 System Hardware Update. I had first installed this update when it was released last week. There is no mention of this update involving the video driver.
Ignoring the update notice, I was able to load Sketchbook Pro again.
I've done a quick search and haven't spotted anyone else reporting this issue. What about you? I hid the offending May update. Should I hide the June 11 update as well? Until we see confirmation, I advise Sketchbook Pro users to proceed with caution and avoid installing this update.