Starbucks is releasing a new hardware product in Japan this month, and it’s a pen. Not a stylus or anything — an actual pen, with “coffee brown” gel ink, a drip coffee machine-inspired design, and the built-in ability to pay for things at Starbucks.
“Starbucks Touch: The Pen,” for that is its name, contains an NFC reader that’s linked to a digital wallet. It works with FeliCa technology, which is ubiquitous in Japan and powers Starbucks’ popular domestic card system. I’m not totally sure how this is better than using mobile payments, but I guess if you want to leave your phone at home and get down to Starbucks for a hardcore study session, this could be useful.
This is actually the fourth product in the Starbucks Touch line in Japan, which has also included a phone case and a flask. Most recently, Starbucks launched a tiny NFC-equipped handbag called “The Hug” that was only available by lottery for a few days in July.
The pen should be a little more easily available, as Starbucks is putting it on sale in its online store next Wednesday. There are three colors — black, silver, and white — and they each cost 4,000 yen (~$37), including 1,000 yen pre-loaded.