Leak reveals Microsoft plans to double down on Windows’ stylus support

microsoft redstone stylus windows 10 review desktop 2
The Windows 10 “Redstone” rumor wheel keeps on turning, and the latest tidbit regarding Microsoft’s two-pronged update is that Redstone will provide better pen input supporting Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications. The provider of this latest feature leak comes from Russia-based OneTile, which reports that Redstone will eventually introduce new native Windows 10 tools called RadialController and InkToolbar.

According to the report, OneTile discovered these features when comparing the content libraries of APIs found in older (14295) and newer (14306) versions of the Windows 10 Redstone builds dished out to Insiders. That said, the site notes that the described features could change over time or be pulled from Windows 10 permanently. Also note that the first Redstone wave (RS1) is expected to roll out sometime after Build 2016 while the second wave (RS2) isn’t slated to arrive until next year.

First up to bat is RadialController, which resembles the circular formatting menu Microsoft once offered in its OneNote app. This tool will supposedly be a native feature to be used in video and audio apps provided by Microsoft, such as for turning up the volume or changing a tune.  It’s also used for changing font faces, sizes, and attributes like the color of highlighted text. Users with a stylus pen presumably “dial” the correct settings they want to use, quickly and easily.

Another feature discovered by OneTile is InkToolbar. This seemingly takes notes from Microsoft Edge, which allows Web surfers to draw and write notes directly onto a webpage via a Windows 10 touchscreen device. However, UWP app developers will have access to this tool so that customers have the same ease in note-taking and drawing within these third-party apps.

News of the RadialController and InkToolbar features arrives after a tool called Audio Routing appeared in an internal Redstone build of Windows 10 Mobile just days ago. Users can choose whether to push audio through the phone’s speaker or through a Bluetooth device when making a call. There’s also a setting to turn on the speaker when the device owner pulls it away from his/her ear. Now that’s cool.

As for RadialController and InkToolbar, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of when these features will arrive. There’s a good chance we’ll hear more about these tools during Build 2016, which takes place from March 30 to April 1. This is when the Developer Preview is expected to be presented so that developers can begin such things as creating browser extensions for Microsoft Edge before the public launch of RS1 this June. RS1 will be the second major update to Windows 10, following Threshold 2 (TH2) that was just released in November 2015.

According to sources, Windows 10 RS2 is supposedly pushed back into 2017 due to Microsoft’s desire to launch this update alongside a set of new branded devices that take advantage of RS2 features. Little is known about this update save that it may contain features that weren’t ready for public consumption in RS1. While we haven’t heard anything official about when RS1 or RS2 will be released, there’s some indication that we may find out in just a few days.


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