Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has officially taken the stylus to a whole new level with its latest approved patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The stylus – that little pen-like object that has been used for years on touchscreens, like the old Palm Pilots and several current tablet models – is getting a major makeover thanks to Microsoft. It’s such a change, that the company is changing the name from “stylus” to an “ePen.”
The new stylus design from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expected to increase overall functionality of the stylus and bring better synchronicity with a tablet or smartphone. The sketches here, provided by PatentBolt, show some of the uses for this ePen. The user could select the color of “ink” to use, can change the thickness of a line, and it could even used as an eraser. Other sensors like a compass, accelerometer and even a gyroscope are included in this device.
While Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has downplayed the usefulness of the stylus, there has been broad appeal in that it is still an accessory to many tablets and smartphones in the market – mostly due to it being more precise than fingers to manipulate a touchscreen. But this new device seems not only to be useful for the drawing and creative types, but it may have the tools necessary for it to be a game controller, a musical instrument for use with certain applications, or it can just be a more exacting and intuitive mode of input. It seems possible that this new ePen may even have the ability to access the user’s favorite apps automatically simply by the user’s grip or angle.
As this patent application was filed in spring of 2011, thus it took nearly 18 months to get approval, there is no word on when the ePen would come to market, much less a price-point for the device; but it’s possible that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will sell this separately from its touchscreen devices so it can be interchangeable between tablets and smartphones even if the user has different models or versions.