The popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is undeniable and one of the things that makes this “phablet” a hit is its nifty S Pen. While Galaxy Note 2 can most probably still secure a top spot in the highly lucrative mobile market without the S Pen, it did not suffer from having it too either. That Samsung showed interest in Wacom, the partner of the South Korean company in developing the S Pen, is a telling indicator that the S Pen is here to stay.
For the uninitiated, the S Pen is an additional cute little gadget to a Galaxy Note 2 that looks like a typical pen that offers a wide range of interesting things to an already interesting mobile gadget. The Galaxy Note 2 can surely work just fine without the S Pen but it doesn’t hurt either to use it. So, how does it work?
Almost all of the cordless gadgets today that work in conjunction with a main gadget like an S Pen has to provide their own power in order to work. Not the S Pen. Many people wonder, after knowing that an S Pen does not have a battery source, where it draws its power from. The gadget clearly communicates with the Note device so it must have some form of power to work, right? A conventional solution to this problem would be to give it rechargeable battery pack that can be recharged when not in use. S Pen has none of that. Where does its power come from then?
The only answer to the question is from the Note device itself. Yes, the S Pen draws its power wirelessly from the Galaxy Note 2 itself. Novel idea right? As you can see, just underneath the screen of Note 2 itself are a grid of coils, a circuit board, and a magnetic reflector. These components work together to create an electromagnetic field that shoots right through the outside of the screen. How far does that electromagnetic field go? You’ll know how far from the screen when you hover the tip of the S Pen and the “hover” icon shows. That should give you some idea.
The S Pen itself has its own set of coils that focuses the power from the electromagnetic field to its own circuits. The power it draws from the field is used to communicate instructions from its buttons to the Note device.
The electromagnetic field that provides power to the pen also ensures that the Galaxy Note device knows the exact location of the pen relative to the screen. Together with the information from the pen itself and from its tip are what is needed by the Note to know what a user wants to do with the S Pen.
Will the S Pen works on other devices?
The pen should work with other devices provided they the right set of coils behind the screen to power the pen. The electromagnetic field is a result of carefully placed coils and magnets laid out in a grid below the screen. If a device is not equipped with a correct grid, then it would not power or even detect the S Pen.
Unfortunately, there are not many apps in the Play Store that utilizes the S Pen capability yet, considering the popularity of the Galaxy Note line of devices.