If you thought Microsoft‘s adoption of N-Trig active digitizer technology in the latest Surface Pro 3 was a one time diversion, this latest rumor would perhaps banish that theory. Microsoft has reportedly fully acquired the Israel-based company, after gaining a 6 percent ownership through an investment back in 2009. Redmond is said to have spent at least $200 million on this purchase, which hints that Microsoft has plans to capitalize on the tech, probably for future iterations of its tablets and maybe even for new types of devices.
When it comes to digital pens and digitizers, Wacom clearly has the lion’s share of the market, but it is by far not the only one. Although it is practically a David versus Goliath competition, others like N-Trig do have quite a following. Aside from Microsoft, N-Trig can also be found in a few of the stylus-enabled tablets from the likes of Sony, Fujitsu, HP, and Lenovo, though some of those also keep ties with Wacom as well.
When it comes to tech, some, especially Wacom fans, would consider N-Trig to be inferior. Indeed, there was much worry among the Surface Pro community, especially artists, that the switch to N-Trig would gimp the tablet’s features, particularly pressure sensitivity. N-Trig only offers 256 levels of pressure at the highest, which is more than half a step down from the Surface Pro 2’s 1024 levels. Wacom’s highest, for the record, is 2048. Later reviews of the Surface Pro 3, however, especially by professional artists like Penny Arcade’s Mike “Gabe” Krahulik reassured artists that they have nothing to worry about.
Microsoft has yet to confirm the deal, but, if true, N-Trig’s 200 strong workforce will see itself relocated to Microsoft’s Israeli office. There, they will continue their R&D efforts on improving the technology, especially in areas of pressure sensitivity and latency. This move could very well make N-Trig a staple in future Surface Pro models, though it remains to be seen if Microsoft has any plans to add it to smartphones as well.