For Christmas this year, some family members fulfilled a long-standing desire I’d had and got me a Livescribe Smart Pen. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I think this product is a potential game-changer. As a tool for capturing, manipulating, and sharing notes on the go, it just can’t be beat.
The Livescribe is basically a special pen that works on special paper. The paper has a pattern printed on the background, which to the naked eye looks like a slight shading. The pen has a sensor that uses the pattern to determine where you are writing.
The pen records your pen strokes and can also record audio, connecting what it hears with what you are writing. This then syncs to desktop software. You can export the resulting pages into PDF and other formats, and share them in other ways.
I think this can be of great use to folks who are public leaders or are in the public eye. Such leaders need to always be recording, documenting, and sharing what they do but do not have the luxury of hanging around the office in front of the computer all the time. This can make all that much, much more seamless and simple.
Mobile professionals are not the only ones who have discovered the usefulness of the smartphone. More and more public leaders are busting out Blackberrys and iPhones when they are out and about. At my recent talk at the National League of Cities conference, there were throngs of mayors and other elected officials staying connected at the back of every room.
After about a year of getting the wheels turning slowly with their new operating system for mobile telephones, it looks like Google’s Android system is about to hit it big, big time. More phones than you can shake a stick at are set to drop over the next few weeks and months. I’ve been using the new flagship, the Motorola Droid on Verizon, since the day it emerged. I really put it through its paces.
Overall, Google, Verizon, and Motorola have hit it out of the park with this phone. My only downchecks are the D-pad (I want a little trackball) and battery life (better than the G1, but still could be improved).