A pen and piece of paper are what most people reach for to scribble calculations or take notes at a meeting, lecture, seminar or conference. But paper notes have their limitations – you could misplace or lose them or even leave them behind. Smart entrepreneurs have found a solution to make your handwritten notes accessible from digital devices – Bluetooth-enabled smartpens or digital pens with handwriting apps on smart devices (tablets or smartphones). This new technology converts your handwriting into digital text as soon as you make notes. You can e-mail these digital files or upload them to an app for sharing across all devices quickly.
There are different kinds of digital pens that allow you to make notes and some like Pencil by FiftyThree even allow you to make drawings. Here are some of the new digital pen models in the market:
Livescribe 3 – This is Livescribe’s third edition of its smartpen. Priced at $149.95, Livescribe 3 was released in November 2013. With a computer and Bluetooth radio inside, it is thicker than a normal pen and has regular ink. If you want to use this pen to convert your handwriting, you must use the Livescribe+ app (iOS 7 mobile app) and special paper. When paired with either iPad or iPhone, this pen will make your notes made on the special paper appear on the Livescribe+ app (if installed and open on your device) within seconds. You can then e-mail those notes or upload them into Evernote app to sync over various devices. This smartpen allows you to convert small snippets of your handwriting (but not entire documents) into editable text and record audios of meetings or lectures. The drawback of this tool is it works only if you use special paper.
Equil Jot – Priced at $150, Equil Jot does not require special paper, it comes with a special Bluetooth attachment that you should clip to the top of the piece of paper on which you write. Pair this attachment with your iOS device (the pen is currently compatible with only iOS), install any of Equil’s Sketch apps into and see your notes or sketches appear right in the app, though they appear very small. This pen does not provide a way to convert your handwriting into editable text. The clip is hard to attach and you need to take it off and attach it again when you run out of space in the paper which can be inconvenient.
S-Pen – This pen come with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 (priced at $299) and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 and is very useful for taking really precise notes. It is better than an average iPhone stylus and more accurate, while being pressure sensitive. Samsung’s S-Note app will allow you to take notes and export them. However, it is not possible to convert your handwritten notes into text in every app, though you can do so while sending text messages. As the screens of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and 10.1 are big, the notes appear clearly.
It is important to consider both benefits and drawbacks and compare them before you buy one of these smart note-taking devices. However, as they are suitable only for making and syncing small notes and sketches, you would still have to rely on traditional document scanning processes when it comes to digitizing large documents.