The Pulse pen couldn't do it. The more recent Echo couldn't manage it either. But sending notes and linked audio wirelessly is what Livescribe's latest digital pen is all about. Branded the Sky WiFi Smartpen, it works with proprietary physical notebooks to preserve your handwritten notes and linked audio files on a minimum of 2GB of onboard storage, and then it sends them directly to your Evernote account via WiFi -- from where you can access them on pretty much any PC, tablet or smartphone. If you're wondering a how the pen selects the right network and enters a password, then it's actually pretty straightforward: Livescribe's new stationery is printed with connection buttons that, in conjunction with the OLED display on the pen itself, guide you through the procedure in a few seconds. The latest notebooks also have buttons for sending your captured thoughts to Google Drive, Dropbox and Facebook, although those services won't be activated until early next year.
The basic 2GB Sky pen will arrive in stores on November 1st, priced substantially higher than its predecessor, the Echo (which will be phased out at the end of next year). The new base model will cost $170, with 4GB and 8GB varieties priced at $200 and $250. Arguably, the reliance on wireless cloud storage means that the amount of onboard memory isn't so important any more, but if you do decide to opt for the most expensive model then you'll also get a year's subscription to Evernote Premium, which is worth $45. There's a short explanatory video after the break, and as you'll see from the gallery below we've already got the Sky pen in our clutches, so expect a full review in short order.
Livescribe Sky WiFi Smartpen hands-on
Handwriting Goes Mobile with the Introduction of the SkyTM wifi smartpen from Livescribe
Partnership with Evernote® Provides Seamless Access to Handwritten Notes Any Time, Anywhere
Oakland, Calif. - Oct. 29, 2012 -Livescribe Inc. (www.livescribe.com) announced today the launch of the Sky wifi smartpen, the first digital pen to integrate WiFi technology and cloud services. Sky digitizes everything consumers write and hear and automatically sends it to their personal Evernote accounts, where it is securely stored and readily available to search, play back, organize and share. Perfect for today's on-the-go world, everyone from busy executives to students can conveniently access their written notes and recorded audio directly from paper, as well as on all the tablets, smartphones and computers they use.
"Thanks to our unique partnership and joint development efforts with Evernote, we have created an amazingly simple and exciting new experience for our customers," said Gilles Bouchard, Livescribe chairman and CEO. "With the Sky wifi smartpen, they can easily capture important ideas, presentations and conversations in the most natural way, on paper, and they automatically appear right where they want them - on their mobile devices and personal computers."
With the Sky wifi smartpen people don't have to choose between writing on paper and writing on a tablet – they can have the best of both worlds. Sky is an ideal companion to an iPad or Android tablet. Together they offer the ease, flexibility and precision of writing on paper with the benefits of saving, searching, replaying and sharing on a tablet.
To read results from Livescribe's study of tablet owners and their level of satisfaction with current note- taking solutions click here. (Link to infographic on our blog).
Evernote Partnership and Customer Benefits
With more than 40 million subscribers, Evernote is dedicated to helping people remember everything important, making it an ideal complement to the Sky wifi smartpen. Evernote gives people a secure place to instantly store and organize their most important ideas.
Any content created and captured with the Sky wifi smartpen wirelessly syncs with Evernote as a new searchable and shareable note. Once in Evernote, customers can easily play back their synchronized notes and audio, called pencasts, with the new web-based Livescribe Player, which requires no installation. The Livescribe Player not only allows them to start at the beginning of an audio recording, but it also allows them to jump directly to a specific point in time just by tapping or clicking on a handwritten word or drawing.
In addition to reviewing pencasts on their computers and mobile devices, consumers can also:
Search – Notes are searchable by tags, titles, keywords and even for words within handwritten notes
Share – Individual notes, including pencasts, can be shared publically or privately with colleagues and peers via link, email, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Entire notebooks can also be shared for easy collaboration
Organize – Pencasts can be organized alongside other related content including documents, presentations, photos, videos and web pages
"The Livescribe Sky wifi smartpen is cool," said Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote. "It's one of the deepest partner integrations that we've ever done. You get the feeling that a bit of magic just happened when you see your handwriting and words transformed instantly and wirelessly into shareable, searchable ideas in Evernote."
Evernote's vibrant developer community contributes many valuable applications and services to its overall platform. Now these developers can also integrate content created with the Sky wifi smartpen into their apps and services. One noteworthy example is Transcribe Me, an audio transcription service using the latest transcription technology and crowd sourcing techniques to provide high-quality audio- to-text conversion for Livescribe customers. Transcribe Me is currently developing an Evernote integration that is expected to be available shortly at competitive prices.
To hear more about the Livescribe and Evernote relationship, watch this short video of Livescribe CEO Gilles Bouchard, Evernote CEO Phil Libin, Evernote VP of Platform Strategy, Seth Hitchings and Evernote Developer Platform Advocate Rafe Needleman talk about the current integration and future possibilities.
Livescribe Mobile Software Developer Kit (SDK) - Tablets and Smartphones Just Got Smarter
In addition to launching the Sky wifi smartpen, Livescribe also announced today the pre-release of the Livescribe Mobile SDK (0.9), with limited availability starting in December. The Mobile SDK will enable the Sky wifi smartpen to connect directly to tablets and smartphones through a WiFi connection. Developers will be able to easily integrate a real-time, pen-and-paper experience into their applications. This is ideally suited for enhancing note-taking apps, document annotation and markup apps, collaboration and messaging apps and even interactive games.
For example, Branchfire, creators of iAnnotate, a popular PDF markup app, see tremendous potential in the Livescribe Mobile SDK and the Sky wifi smartpen and are excited to be early adopters.
"Branchfire is committed to building applications that help users get the most out of digital content; with iAnnotate PDF, our users can read and take notes on digital documents such as PDFs and Word and PowerPoint files from their iPad and Android Tablet devices. We're excited by the potential of Livescribe's smartpens and the Livescribe Mobile SDK, and look forward to integrating it into our products to give our customers a choice of interacting with their content using a stylus, finger or a Sky wifi smartpen and paper," said Ashish Vora, Director of Business Development, Branchfire.
"The Sky wifi smartpen is designed to be the perfect companion for smartphones and tablets. Our Mobile SDK will benefit developers by helping them significantly enhance applications that use a stylus or fingers for input," said Brett Halle, senior vice president, Engineering, Livescribe Inc. "We look forward to working with developers and seeing their creative applications for the Sky wifi smartpen."
The official 1.0 version of the Mobile SDK for iOS is planned for Q1 2013, and an Android version is planned for Q2 2012.
Livescribe is working directly with other technology partners to provide compelling value-added cloud services. As an example, Livescribe is working with long-time partner Vision Objects to provide a fully- integrated handwriting-to-text conversion service for Sky wifi smartpen customers in Q1 2013.
Pricing and Availability
In the U.S. market, the Sky wifi smartpen from Livescribe is available at Best Buy, Fry's, Apple stores and many college campus bookstores, as well as online at Livescribe.com, BestBuy.com and Amazon.com. The 2GB Sky wifi smartpen records around 200 hours of audio and is $169.95. The 4GB Sky wifi smartpen records around 400 hours of audio and is $199.95. The 8GB Sky wifi smartpen propack is offered exclusively through Best Buy and Livescribe.com. It records around 800 hours of audio and includes Livescribe's smartpen portfolio and a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium for $249.95.
For more information about the Sky wifi smartpen, visit www.livescribe.com/sky.
Livescribe brings notes, words and ideas to life. Livescribe smartpens make it easy to connect paper and pen to the digital world and fundamentally change the way people capture, access and share what they write, draw and hear.
Livescribe's new wireless smartpen, together with cloud services make it simple to save, find and playback important meetings, lectures and memories any time, anywhere on nearly any tablet, smartphone and computer. www.livescribe.com.
About Anoto Group AB
Anoto is the world leading company behind the unique technology for digital pen and paper, which enables fast and reliable transmission of handwritten text into a digital format. Anoto operates through a global partner network that focuses on user-friendly forms solutions for efficient capture, transmission and storage of data within different business segments, e.g. healthcare, bank and finance, transport and logistics and education. The Anoto Group is headquartered in Lund, Sweden, with offices in Boston and Tokyo. Anoto traded on the Small Cap list of OMX Nordic Exchange in Stockholm under the ticker ANOT. www.anoto.com.