Move over computer. All you may need is a pen.

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Move over computer. All you may need is a pen.

Post by SamCogar on Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:48 am

Livescribe, the Oakland, Calif., digital-pen maker recently started selling its Pulse smartpen with built-in memory that digitally transcribes written words and at the same time records audio.

That means college students that record a professor won’t have to manually transcribe the lecture or taking minimal notes in a long meeting won’t leave you scrambling.

Using dot paper that will eventually be free to download, users can click on any word on the pad and the audio will play back at that time in the recording. A 1 GB version of the pen, giving users 100 hours of recording, sells for $149, while a 2 GB version goes for $199.

“This could be the smallest, lowest-cost computer fully multi-model we’ve seen,” said Jim Marggraff, chief executive of Livescribe. Marggraff, a former executive of LeapFrog, the Emeryville, Calif., educational-product company and one of the creators of LeapFrog’s popular LeapPad, started Livescribe after being wowed by technology out of Swedish-based Anoto. Anoto is a technology licensor that provides optical pen and paper tracking technology to Livescribe. Livescribe licensed the technology and officially launched last January. The company has raised venture capital funding from VantagePoint Ventures.

“It’s connecting the paper world to the digital world,” said Marggraff, of the Pulse smartpen.

Livescribe isn’t the first company to go after the market of digitizing paper, and it won’t be the last. So far, however, efforts haven’t been very successful, in large part because paper is the one product that hasn’t really changed nor has it needed many improvements over the years. The ability to shrink memory cards to small sizes is ushering in new class of devices like the Pulse smartpen, and its ability to record audio and match it with text could be what drives adoption, especially for people who can’t read their own notes or aren’t inclined to take a lot of notes during meetings


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