Today, a press release went out highlighting a new collaboration between the NFC Forum and the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) that should help to bring wireless charging to USI pens via WLC (Wireless Charging Specification). With these universal specifications working together, we should begin seeing the introduction of USI pens that have the ability to charge wirelessly from devices like phones, tablets, and laptops.
As USI pens continue to evolve, new ways of getting power to them will be needed. For now, most USI pens require a AAAA battery to work, but recharging USI pens are on the way from multiple manufacturers and we expect to see quite a few of these recharging pens in 2021 with Chromebooks. As showcased with the 1st-gen Apple Pencil, a rechargeable stylus that doesn’t have a well thought out way to recharge isn’t very attractive. With the second generation of the Apple Pencil, however, Apple managed to fix this ongoing issue with a clever magnet/wireless charging solution that works quite well.
With this new NFC/USI collaboration, we could begin seeing setups like this with Chromebooks moving forward along with the ability for reverse wireless charging phones being able to top up a USI pen when a bit of extra charge is needed. As we hope to see more wireless charging and reverse wireless charging on new Chromebooks in 2021, the ability for USI pens to fully leverage this widely-used charging solution is a welcome change that we’ll be on the lookout for in the coming months.