While I was at JavaOne this year, I saw a demo of a pen that can record your written notes and play them back (including audio) just by clicking on them. I thought: neat idea, but why would I buy that? Then I learned it also lets you play music on a hand-drawn piano, translates your written text into other languages, and integrates with a desktop to let you manage your notes. OK, pretty cool but keep talking. They announced that the pen runs on Java Mobile Edition and has a software development kit available. Too cool–I want one! So I bought it. Its the Pulse SmartPen by LiveScribe.
There are other Pen devices on the market, so I thought I'd do a brief comparison of the most widely known models.
|Pulse SmartPen||Fly Fusion|
|Uses special paper||Yes||Yes|
|Paper price||$20/4 spiral notebooks||$8/25-pg spiral notebook|
|Software authors||Many||Fly only|
|OS support||Windows, Mac, Linux||Windows|
|Audience||High School & up||K-8|
|Software development kit?||Yes||No|
|Processor||ARM-9 150MHz||Proprietary 96Mhz|
|RAM||1gb or 2gb||64mb (+ 64mb add-on)|
So you can see the Pulse SmartPen is a superior technology. More importantly, its made by the inventor of the Fly Fusion. He left LeapFrog to form his own company, as detailed here.