In a move that has long been rumoured, Microsoft has announced today on the Surface Blog that they have acquired the digital pen technology from N-Trig Ltd. This is the pen technology that they have employed in the Surface Pro 3, and now the Surface 3.

With Windows 10, pen input is getting even more useful, so this move makes a lot of sense.

One of the nice parts about the N-Trig technology is that the entire product stack required is much thinner, and there is no need for a deep level digitizer under the display, so the pen feels more like it is writing directly on the display.

At CES, I had a chance to visit with N-Trig and they have a lot of interesting pens coming to market, all with different tip feels and ergonomics. They even had a pen with a supercapcitor rather than a battery, which will give you a month’s charge on the pen in five seconds of charging.

Microsoft has been key to show off uses of the pen during the Build conference this week, and there are a lot of apps which make use of inking including the Staff Pad app that they showed which can be used by music writers to compose music. The other obvious ones are apps like One Note, where you can quickly jot down notes or drawings. Microsoft’s Fresh Paint also is fantastic with the pen, and my six year old daughter has been loving that app.

Details of the sale were not made public at this time.

Source: Surface Blog

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  • zodiacsoulmate - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    so... wacom is still the best right?
  • kyuu - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    N-trig on the Surface is really quite competitive. Better in some respects, really.
  • lilmoe - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    That's a very good move. I can only see it getting better in the future with Microsoft's support. What I also like to see is the 1ms touch lag they're researching. Would be great for further enhancing the touch experience.
    Also, Samsung's Air View would also be very useful for standard touch on Windows 10 tablets for hover feedback.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    Well this is actually old news from early Feb but this is the official statement from MSFT.
    Wacom also had released Wacom AES which reported better stylus experience than n-trig in Toshiba Encore 2 Write.
    Worst is nobody wants to use n-trig except Microsoft as there are a lot of competitions in active stylus solution.
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, May 2, 2015 - link

    You do not and NEVER will speak for everyone. On the Tablet PC Review forums they're actually quite happy with N-Trig. Why do people keep on repeating the same things over and over like it'll always be true?
  • meacupla - Monday, May 4, 2015 - link

    I'm happy with whatever MS used in the original surface pro.

    Then again, I don't use it often, since most of the time it's used as a laptop with mouse.
  • Penti - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    So are N-trig going to continue with this tech themselves? What has been acquired? It was pretty fresh to see them develop an alternative to wacom. Hope they continue. Active digitizers are just so much better than capacitive and Anoto/microdot pens.

    So will this be N-trig with Microsoft ASIC or what?
  • kyuu - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    So, about that Surface 3 review, Mr. House...?

    No! I am not going to stop bugging you about it.
  • Brett Howse - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    First you have to get my name right, and second I'm working on it :)
  • kyuu - Friday, May 1, 2015 - link

    Damn autocorrect. Apologies, Mr. Howitzer.

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