Image Credit: Neowin.com

Microsoft Surface Pen was launched way back in 2012 with the original Surface Pro. Six years in the tech industry is a lot of time. Within this time the Surface Pen has been updated several times with newer versions of Surface devices. The last upgrade to the Surface Pen was when the 2017 Surface Pro was released. It came with a staggering 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a super low latency of 21 milliseconds, making it one of the fastest digital pens in the market.

Windows Ink came with the Windows 10 Anniversary update and it is entirely dependent on an active digital stylus pen like the Surface Pen. A digital pen for a device like a tablet or a hybrid laptop or even a device like the Surface Studio makes a lot of sense. A stylus provides much higher precision and accuracy when compared to trackpads and mouse pointers. But that isn’t the case with smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Note series is one of the only devices that still come with a stylus. Smartphones generally don’t need a digital pen.

It is easy to check notifications from a smartphone; you just have to take it out from your pocket and see the notification. But it isn’t easy with a tablet or a laptop. With the advent of always-connected PCs there is a chance for people to always carry their laptops with them. So checking notifications would be an issue. Microsoft has a really cool way to address this issue. Anyways a user will carry his Digital Pen with him so the idea is to use the Surface Pen to display notifications.

A patent was filed by Microsoft on April 5, 2018. The title of the patent was “Stylus with Visible Light Regions“. It suggests a major redesign of the Surface Pen with multiple coloured LEDs on different parts of the pen. These LEDs can be used to display different information even when the pen is not in use. The patent suggests that the light emitting regions can be used to display notifications, states, operations, properties, actions or behaviours.

The LEDs will be placed on the top, middle and bottom portions of the pen. There is a high chance that the upper LEDs will be used to describe the current state of the pen, whether it is in use or maybe the colour of the ink it is currently set to. The middle and lower LEDs may be used to display the notifications such as battery level or any other notification such as an Email.

An upgraded Surface Pen would be a great tool if it launches with the much-anticipated Surface Phone. The Andromeda device is not meant to be direct competition to the current generation smartphones. It is more likely to be targeted towards power users who require more computing power from their smartphones. The Andromeda device would certainly be powerful enough to cater to the needs of the power users and it would be way ahead of anything if it launches with this upgraded Surface Pen.

  • WPJ

    I think rather than checking your pen (no, really?) it would be a better, quicker and more informative way to check your wristband/watch. Sadly now that Microsoft is out of watch/band business they can only sell us styluses with LEDs.

    • Alfred Soyemi

      I think the Pen’s notification support is for a tandem use of ink enabled laptop, 2in1 and tablets. If just getting notification is the reason, I can use my phone and it can be any device paired with a windows 10 laptop, 2in1 and tablets.
      So I really think this is more of a tandem use. (Note: I am not saying you are wrong, I am simply saying what I Think is it that they are doing)