In short: Following the launch of the first-ever public SDK for one of its S Pen styluses, Samsung moved to reveal some of the secrets of the accessory accompanying the Galaxy Note 9 Android flagship. In a set of prepared statements, the South Korean tech giant explained it wanted the new S Pen to be as versatile as possible, acting as both a stylus and a remote control that's useful in a wide variety of scenarios. To that end, the firm equipped the Galaxy Note 9's S Pen with Bluetooth Low Energy support, providing it with remote control functionalities while simultaneously not delivering a device with high energy requirements, both in terms of battery life and recharging times.
As Samsung wanted to retain the overall shape of previous S Pens, it had to design a special Application-Specific Integrated Circuit that's capable of delivering various electric current levels to account for different use cases such as charging, writing, and remote control. The solution was created as an alternative to a Super Capacitor that the company wasn't able to fit into the traditional S Pen body. Third-party developers interested in taking advantage of Samsung's latest stylus advancements can do so by leveraging the S Pen Remote SDK that's now available for download free of charge.
Background: Samsung made a big deal out of opening the S Pen to developers during its Galaxy Note 9 announcement held in late summer, though the impactfulness of the move will largely depend on how many third-party developers end up embracing the solution. S Pen support in third-party Android apps remains somewhat limited, with Bixby enjoying a far more significant level of backing from the development community.
Impact: Given the sheer volume of R&D resources that went into the creation of the S Pen for the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung is likely to reuse its design for the Galaxy Note 10 next year, even as the Android phablet itself is likely to undergo significant changes in terms of design and other features.