Livescribe, makers of exceedingly smart pens, has just made public its latest. The Echo, which is available from today, is a computer in a pen that’s aimed at anyone who spends their time taking notes–from students to professionals–and even people in our trade–journalism.
As well as using the pen and pad for drawing on your computer, via the USB port, the password-protected Echo can transcribe notes directly to your computer, and record audio on it. But what is most clever about the Echo is that it syncs your notes to the recorded audio, so that when you place your pen on a word written during the note-taking, it plays back the audio that it recorded when you wrote the word down.
Livescribe has followed Apple’s example and released a kit for third-party developers. There are now around 60 apps, including one that lets you play poker on the pen, as well as one for guitar and keyboard, and a new feature, Launch Line, lets you launch apps by merely underlining the word you associate with each individual app and then tapping on the line.
It’s Mac and PC-compatible, and available in five languages (although
the PC version comes in Korean and Chinese as well.) There are two
models and they cost $169.95 for the 4GB model, and $199.95 for the 8GB
one. What is a bit duff for users, however, is that the pens are only compatible with the Livescribe paper notebooks, which cost between $8 and $25, as you need the playback and recording icons found on each page.