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How the Sony Xperia Z Ultra 'stylus' functionality works

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra has quite a few unique functions and features, outside of its massive display. This includes the ability to use just about anything as a stylus. Wonder how that works? Read on to learn more!
June 25, 2013
Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Earlier today, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra was officially announced, bringing with it a stunning 6.4-inch 1080p TFT display and a blazingly fast Snapdragon 800 processor. The phone’s specs are bleeding edge in nearly every aspect, but it is the display that really has us buzzing.

No, it isn’t just the size that blows us away, as we’ve seen that before with the Ascend Mate and Galaxy Mega. What really sets the Xperia ZU apart from the crowd is the technology behind its screen.

We’ve already discussed Triluminos and X-Reality Engine display technology, but what about the Xperia Z Ultra’s unique ability to use nearly any device as a stylus, how is this accomplished?

Sony has yet to get into the specifics of this technology, though speaking to All Things D, a Sony rep did mention the display has a special type of coating, Super Hard Coat ASF. This coating is said to allow the ZU’s display to work with pencils and pens. The coat also protects the ZU from scratches and marks while using makeshift styluses.

Digging a bit deeper it is possible that the Sony Xperia ZU is making use of some form of Neonode MultiSensing touch technology. Neonode is a Swedish company that had previously partnered with Sony for its e-Reader line, so it makes sense that Sony and Neonode could have teamed up here.

Just remember that Sony has yet to confirm Neonode was involved in the ZU’s design, so take this all with a slight grain of salt.

If the Z Ultra really does utilize Neonode multiSensing tech, that means it basically works by utilizing optical infrared light that can potentially sense any object and identify it pressure, size, depth, speed and proximity to the surface.

Update: We’ve recently learned that Sony has improved their capacitive touch panel, placing it on the same layer as the LCD, and will not need infrared sensors to detect the stylus. Check out the video below from Mobile Geeks to get a better idea on how the Xperia Z Ultra’s display tech works:

What do you think of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, how does it compare to other large screen smartphones including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Mega?