Microsoft’s next Surface Pen could be a smart stylus usable across all devices

Surface Pen
Image Credit: Microsoft

The next version of the Surface Pen could be a much smarter stylus capable of being used across all your devices, automatically switching between different profiles and configurations as appropriate, if a recently discovered patent (spotted by Windows United) is accurate.

Microsoft’s patent describes an active stylus which is “compatible with a plurality of touch-sensitive devices”, including not just Surface tablets, or PCs, but also the likes of smartphones, and even smart TVs are mentioned.

The idea would be that the stylus can easily and seamlessly switch between all your touch-enabled devices (of course, any piece of hardware would need a touchscreen to work with the pen).

Usage across multiple devices would be a painless affair, with the active pen searching for and hooking up with any device it’s brought into contact with automatically.

The patent document also notes that the search process could be honed with the stylus intelligent enough to know which devices the owner often uses, which would be searched for more often (thereby saving on power usage in terms of not having to hunt for lesser-used pieces of hardware so regularly).

The user may be able to manually tweak the search preferences, too, or they might be further refined using data regarding the devices any given user owns which could potentially be pulled from the cloud.

One stylus to rule all devices, as it were (Image credit: Microsoft/USPTO/European Patent Office)

One stylus to rule all devices, as it were (Image credit: Microsoft/USPTO/European Patent Office)

(Image credit: Microsoft/USPTO/European Patent Office)

Plethora of profiles

Furthermore, with each different device the stylus is used with, it could have set profiles, meaning that you could maintain different configurations for each piece of hardware, and these would be automatically switched over to.

All in all, there are some pretty neat ideas here for potentially making the Surface Pen a smarter peripheral, but as ever, these could merely be experimental concepts that never make it past the research or prototyping stages.

Other patents we’ve seen recently regarding Microsoft’s stylus include a nifty new method for making the pen more accurate, not to mention the possibility of including haptic feedback with the peripheral.

Via MS PowerUser