Parthenon Software Group

Smart Pens

Gone are the days of an ordinary pen and paper. Years ago, a pen was released to the public, which could record anything written on specialized paper and could even read it back to you. Launched just a year after the original iPhone, it never seemed to catch on. Now, they're smarter than ever.

While there quite a few different smartpens on the market today, Livescribe appears to be getting the most buzz. Why? It incorporates wi-fi capabilities. A pen can have wi-fi? Yes and it's connected to the cloud.

After you've put away your papers you can view your notes on any mobile device or an old fashioned computer. All of this is linked to Evernote, a site which is dedicated to keeping all of your notes only a couple of click away.

Sure, wi-fi capability is cool, but what else makes this pen so desirable?

With the option of 2GB, 4GB or 8GB of memory you can record up to 800 hours of audio. There’s also a high grade microphone and speakers, and a USB connection. Never thought that could be incorporated into a pen did you?

And the paper? It still exists and comes with the pen when you purchase it. When you are writing, the paper digitizes everything, allowing the vocalization of the text. Using your Evernote account, you also have the ability to sync the pen so notes can go to the site for access with your mobile device.

Surely there’s a catch. So far, the only big issues have to do with cost. Evernote may be free, but if you want the best features a premium subscription must be purchased. Then there's the cost of the device itself between $169.99-$249.99 depending on the storage capacity and whether you opt for the 1 year premium Evernote membership. Still, if you have to take a lot of notes or plan on writing a lot, it may well be worth it.

Livescribe has made a business of creating smartpens and as mobile devices have improved in functionality and mobile capability, it seems like the natural progression for smartpens to follow suit. Who knew the Stylus of the past would fade away and we'd be drawing on our computers with a finger, and write on real paper to record notes on a computer. As technology advances, devices have to advance with it in order to maintain their usability. The only question is, where were these pens when we were in school?

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