CES 2009: LiveScribe Pulse SmartPen is my Top Choice For Best Gadget at CES 2009

livescribe We’ve already brought you a short demo of the LiveScribe Pulse SmartPen in action from The Digital Experience so before you get out the munchies to watch this GBM video check that out.

We got a chance to sit down with Eric Petit, the Director Marketing for LivesScribe, and go a little deeper into the Pulse Pen and some of their plans. The big news is that the Pulse SmartPen platform is an open one and there is a pre-beta SDK out there with over 2600 developers working on applications for the pen. After the jump, see why I this is my top choice for best gadget at CES 2009.

After seeing the briefing and talking about LiveScribe’s roadmap, I am very excited about what we have here. That’s right, you read that right, applications for the pen. In the video after the jump, Eric gives us quick demos of a translation app, an app that lets you play the piano on your notepad with your pen, and also the headphones that come with the pen.

A couple of points here. Imagine you’re a student taking notes with the Pulse SmartPen in a large lecture all. You probably already know that the pen captures audio while you are taking notes and for replay you can touch anywhere on the note and you will immediately get that audio.With the headphones plugged in each bud has a microphone in it so you’re picking up even greater sound quality. They call it the 3D recording headset.


Second, I am more than impressed with the translation app. Imagine writing down any word, choosing the language you want to translate it to, and hearing it pronounced correctly as well as seeing it printed out on the pen’s screen. (sorry that the video doesn’t show this better, but trust me it is amazing to see words printed out in Mandarin on that tiny screen.)

As a Tablet PC and pen based computing geek I am more than impressed. Not only is this an excellent way to take notes (granted you are using special paper in special notebooks-or you can print your own on the PC platform) but you’ve got that audio ready to rock and roll, in similar fashion to OneNote. But I’ve got to say, during our briefing there was another briefing happening not 5 feet from us and these microphones picked things up very, very clearly and without interference from the other conversation. Granted this was only spitting back a word at a time, but I see this a real winner.

The SmartPen will even do math. Type out an equation and the pen will answer it for you through sound and on the screen. Impressive.

With the Pulse SmartPen using 2GB of storage a typical student can theoretically save an entire semester’s worth of notes on the pen, and of course you’re going to sync them over to your computer. Syncing appeared effortless as you’ll see in the video.

I’m also impressed with the fact that LiveScribe is now platform agnostic and works with both Mac and PC. The data is completely platform agnostic as well so if you’re like me and go back and forth between platforms this could be a real nice solution. Can you imagine if this was tied via some application with Evernote? I think that would be truly amazing.

One of LiveScribe’s mottos is that this is a Tablet PC for under $200. (The 2GB pen costs $199.) I think they might be correct. Don’t be surprised if you see me or other GBM team members toting this around at CES 2010. While this kind of technology solution might not be for everybody, I’m telling you in my scenario of taking notes in theatre rehearsals, it is potential game changer.

Bravo LightScripe.