On this week’s episode of The Chrome Cast, we spent a few minutes talking about the Universal Stylus Initiative and what it means for the future of buying a pen for your Chromebook. The concept is a brilliant one. Create a universal standard for digital pens so when you purchase one, it works on a range of devices with the same functionality and reliability. The biggest obstacle we’ve seen with the emerging tech is availability. More and more Chromebooks are hitting the market with the USI compatibility on board but the pens are nowhere to be found.
HP quietly released its rechargeable USI stylus but it has since sold out and the only place you can find it is on Amazon at an inflated cost. ASUS and Lenovo both have pens on the way and you can even find listings for them but they simply haven’t hit the supply channels yet. Thankfully, there are some third-party companies that are and will be creating “universal” styluses and one such company has one available to ship within the next week and a half. iPlume’s USI pen is powered by a AAAA battery and features two barrel buttons. It happens to be identical to a couple of devices we have in the office. We’re still taking some time to do a full review but I can say that they work perfectly with devices such as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, Chromebook 10e and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713.
The iPlume listing popped up a few days back but quickly sold out and the listing was marked as such. Now, you can order the stylus once again for $49 and shipping is slated to start September 8. If you are shopping for a USI stylus, this and the HP are the only two that we are aware of at the moment that are actually available. If you decide to check out other “universal” styluses, make sure you see the USI logo somewhere so you can be sure it is legit. You can find the iPlume USI stylus over on the Chrome Shop at the link below.
Update: It looks like we’re not the only ones looking for USI pens. The Amazon listing is now “currently unavailable” after the in stock date changed multiple times. We will continue to update as the iPlume becomes available again.