USI pens have been quite difficult to come by in 2020. As a matter of fact, the only pen that is actually USI (Universal Stylus Initiative) compatible is made by HP and apart from a very tiny window when it was actually available for order, it has never been one you could actually buy. New standards take time, after all, and while we didn’t really expect USI to come in and replace all pen inputs overnight, we did hope that there would be a few pens to choose from by this point in the year.
Lots of Chromebooks use the fledgling tech at this point, including the very-popular Lenovo Chromebook Duet and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 I’m typing this on right now. With so many USI-ready Chromebooks out there, it only follows that a wide swath of users have been on the prowl for a pen that will actually work well with their Chromebooks. In speaking to the Chairman of USI – Pete Mueller – we learned many interesting tidbits about USI and where it is headed (to be shared on a future podcast soon), but we also learned there are pen makers finally getting their ducks in a row to deliver working, approved pens to the market.
Pete himself sent us over the link to what is now the first of hopefully many Amazon listings for a proper USI pen for users to purchase. This particular one is made by iPlume and costs only $49 for a pen that comes with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, a couple functional buttons for erase and text select (we’ll have to figure out exactly what Chrome OS intends to do with those down the road), and replaceable pen tips. It looks good and we’re hopeful that it perfoms well, too. The stock seems to be limited, but it could simply be Amazon being a bit finicky. Either way, you can get delivery as fast as August 22 and, as we said, more should follow.