Livescribe broke new ground last year with the Sky WiFi pen that could transfer handwritten and audio notes straight to the cloud (well, to your Evernote account anyway), so that they'd be accessible anywhere there's an internet connection. Having to jump on WiFi to send and retrieve those notes didn't make it the most convenient thing when out and about however, especially if you rely on your smartphone or tablet as a daily driver.
Enter the Livescribe 3, which offers a solution to that problem. The company's latest smartpen is positioned as a companion specifically designed to work in concert with a compatible mobile device, which in this case only applies to those that run iOS. Once paired via Bluetooth LE, notes written in a Livescribe notebook will automatically appear on the accompanying Livescribe+ app. Indeed, the application and mobile device are so integral to the Livescribe 3, that unlike the Echo or the Sky, the 3 does not have a built-in microphone. Instead, it hands off the audio recording to your iPhone or iPad when you hit the record button either on the paper or the app. As before, it'll sync the results with your scribbled notes -- the app actually highlights the coinciding text as the audio playback occurs. Of course, this means that these so-called "pencasts" are simply not possible if the pen is disconnected from the device. However, notes written while not connected will still sync up later on.
Livescribe 3 hands-on
Because Livescribe 3 gives over so much functionality to the app (which we'll get to later), the design of the pen is surprisingly minimal. Indeed, Livescribe's VP of Marketing, Bryan Rodrigues, told us that the company wanted it to look more like a pen than a gadget. With the screen and the on/off switch gone, we'd say they succeeded on that front. Instead of hitting a button, you turn it on by twisting the textured middle ring clockwise, which reveals the ballpoint nib as well. When you power it up, a tiny LED on the clip lights up; it flashes green in pairing mode, solid blue when connected and flashes again if it's low on battery -- Livescribe tells us the pen is able to capture information for 14 hours between charges. There's a capacitive nub on the top of the pen, which you can use as a stylus for your touch screen device. Take the nub off and you'll reveal the microUSB port.
As with its predecessors, the latest incarnation has an IR camera at the tip that works with special Livescribe paper, which is printed with a fine dot pattern to let the pen know where it is on the page. We tried out the Livescribe 3 with the accompanying app in a brief hands-on and were impressed with how quickly our written scribbles appeared on the app. The pen itself still felt pretty hefty in our hand compared to other writing utensils, but it's certainly much more pen-like than previous Livescribes.
Livescribe 3 Standard press shots
Livescribe 3 Pro press shots
The Livescribe+ app, as we said earlier, is where the real brains of the pen come in. It'll automatically prompt the phone or tablet to connect to the pen when it launches, and there's an icon at the top that shows it's paired. There's even a Find My Pen function that'll cause the pen to beep loudly if you happen to lose it. As you might expect, the app lets you manage your notes and listen to past pencasts. If you have multiple Livescribe books, it knows exactly which one you're using and pulls in notes to the right one automatically. Using a transcription technology by Vision Objects called MyScript, the app can turn handwritten notes into searchable text as well. If you like, you can add photos to your notes too, by either grabbing them from the Camera Roll or just snapping right within the app.
But what really makes the app special is something called "the Feed." It's essentially a time-based view of your notes that attempts to collate relevant pieces together. This is especially useful when you're writing down short actionable items such as reminders and to-do lists, which Livescribe describes as "micro notes." When that snippet of information is captured in the feed, you may send it to the Reminders app or tag it as a to-do or a favorite. It's also smart enough to recognize URLs, addresses and phone numbers so that you can do things like create a new contact or tap the address to bring it up on the Maps app. Once you're done with your notes, you can select multiple snippets or whole pages and turn them into PDFs. The app will then let you share those notes via email, Dropbox, Evernote or iCloud.
The Livescribe 3 comes in two versions. The $149.95 version is black and chrome and comes with a 50-sheet notebook, a charging cable and a black tungsten carbide medium-tip ink cartridge. There's also a $199.95 Pro Edition that upgrades the package to include a leather portfolio with a 100-sheet hardbound journal, a year's subscription to Evernote Premium, plus the aforementioned cable and cartridge. So for pen and paper aficionados out there, have a peek at the gallery and video above to see if the Livescribe 3 belongs in your pocket protector.
Turn Your Words Into Action With The New Livescribe 3 Smartpen
The Ultimate Note-Taking Companion Combines the Best of Pen and Paper with Mobile Devices
UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MONDAY OCTOBER 28, 2013 12:01 AM EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME
OAKLAND, CALIF. – Oct. 28, 2013 - Livescribe Inc. (www.livescribe.com) today announced the release of the Livescribe 3 smartpen, the fastest way to make handwritten notes useful on a tablet or smartphone. Customers simply twist a ring on the elegant black and chrome smartpen to begin writing and watch their words and diagrams appear in the companion Livescribe+ mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This latest addition to Livescribe's line of award-winning smartpens is designed as a premium writing instrument, with the look and feel of a quality ballpoint pen combined with the intelligence of a mobile device.
The Livescribe 3 smartpen lets people:
• Write on Livescribe dot paper and watch everything appear instantly on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices with Bluetooth® Smart wireless technology.
• Use the built-in microphones on a tablet or smartphone to create interactive "pencasts" that synchronize recorded audio with written notes.
• Convert handwriting to text to create tasks, reminders, contacts and calendar events.
• Add photos and text memos to notes to add context and clearly communicate details.
• Share written notes, photographs and diagrams as PDF files over Mail, Messages, Evernote, Dropbox and other apps.
The Livescribe 3 smartpen captures everything written on Livescribe paper as soon as it starts up, and then transfers that content to Livescribe+ when the app opens. This allows people to take notes with just a smartpen and notebook, and then do more with that information on their mobile device later.
"People shouldn't have to choose between their pen and their digital devices. The Livescribe 3 smartpen sends everything they write on paper to their tablet or smartphone, where our mobile application makes this information useful in truly innovative ways" said Gilles Bouchard, CEO of Livescribe. "It's simply the most elegant and versatile pen we've ever made."
The Livescribe 3 smartpen's wireless connection allows for easy pairing and instant transfer of notes with very low battery drain, enabling the Livescribe 3 smartpen to capture information for 14 hours between charges. The Livescribe 3 includes a capacitive stylus cap to control the Livescribe+ app, and Swiss-made, premium ballpoint cartridges to use with any Livescribe paper notebooks. Livescribe 3 is compatible with iOS devices that are Bluetooth Smart Ready, including the iPhone 4S or later, third-generation or later iPad, iPad Mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch or newer. The free Livescribe+ mobile app is available from the App Store℠ for devices with iOS 7.
The Livescribe 3 smartpen is available in two versions. The Livescribe 3 smartpen, available for $149.95, includes a sleek black-and-chrome smartpen along with a 50-sheet Starter Notebook, as well as a micro USB charging cable and a black tungsten carbide medium-tip ink cartridge. Priced at $199.95, the Livescribe 3 smartpen Pro Edition includes a leather smartpen portfolio with a 100-sheet hardbound journal, a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium, the charging cable and an additional ink cartridge. The smartpens are available for sale on Livescribe.com, Amazon, Paradise Pen, Apple.com and select Apple stores across the United States. The Livescribe 3 smartpen will also be available in Canada, Europe, Asia and other international markets.
Pen and paper notes become more valuable when they are available on the digital devices people use daily, and Livescribe offers products for all scenarios. The new Livescribe 3 smartpen connects to mobile devices with Bluetooth Smart wireless technology, while the Sky wifi smartpen uses wireless cloud syncing straight to Evernote, and the Echo smartpen connects via a USB connection to a Mac or PC, providing the perfect solution for any device.
For more information on the Livescribe 3 smartpen, visit http://www.livescribe.com/livescribe3
Follow Livescribe on Twitter at @Livescribe and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/livescribe.
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 family of smartpens includes the Echo smartpen, the Sky wifi smartpen and the Livescribe 3 smartpen.
TriplePoint PR for Livescribe: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Livescribe, Livescribe 3 smartpen, Evernote, Bluetooth
The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Livescribe is under license. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners. Apple, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.