A PEN FOR THE CLOUD

Here’s something for the person who hates typing. It’s the LiveScribe¬† “Sky WiFi Smartpen,” and it digitizes your handwriting, records the lecture you’re listening to and stores it all in the cloud.

The $170 list price is for the base model. If you want more than two gigabytes of storage, the next step up is as expensive as the new $200 Chromebook laptop from Acer. But it is definitely something different, and kind of a wow.

The pen comes with a special note pad that is sensitized to react to the pen tip. The pad also contains a camera and a microphone. Tap a button on that pad to turn on WiFi. Tap another button to connect to the Internet. Tap a third button to start recording a lecture. Later, tap a word you wrote — something you consider a key point in that lecture — and listen to what the lecturer was saying at that moment. All is stored online in a free Evernote account.

Everything depends on how patient you are during the learning phase. We watched a techie-type guy try it out in a video on Engadget.com, and he was clearly baffled a couple of times when the pen was slow to respond. However, there are over a million LiveScribe users, so one would guess most of them got the hang of it.

The price of the new version is high, but you can get last year’s model for half the price, if you don’t mind using a docking station to sync to the web. See the whole thing at¬†LiveScribe.com.

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