Apropos to the official announcement of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, Samsung also released the new version of their S Pen SDK (Software Development Kit). This includes new tools for people who want to develop apps that work with the S Pen.
There are several new functions devs can take advantage of, but this one in particular got me excited:
“The SCanvasView Class inherited from CanvasView has been added.
Using this class and method, developers can animate their drawings and record/play audio files over it.”
This means that developers could allow an app to record audio synced to pen strokes, then play back an animation of your writing alongside the audio.
The first thing that came to mind is that this is exactly what the Livescribe Echo Smartpen does. As you write, the pen records audio and your pen strokes. When you download or send that data to a computer, you get a PenCast, which is not only a record of the audio, but actually shows your writing as it happens. You can see examples on Livescribe’s website.
(Read: Livescribe Echo Smartpen Review)
I love my Echo Smartpen and wish I’d had something like it back when I was in high school and college. Taking notes would have been so much easier. Having that kind of functionality on a tablet would mean one less extra thing I have to carry and one less step — syncing with my computer — to digitizing my notes.
The S Memo app can record audio right now and you can write while it does so, but there’s nothing that links the two together. With the Echo Smartpen you can tap or click on a word to play back the audio starting from that exact moment. I would love to see an app that does the same on the Galaxy Note phone or tablet.
I imagine Livescribe would be the best company to develop it since they already have a huge chunk of the process and needs worked out. But if they wont step up, maybe another enterprising developer will.
(Related: Samsung Galaxy Note Review)
The app could even sync with the desktop program and keep PenCasts created with the Echo or with the Galaxy Note in the same general UI. There will be times when working with pen and paper is best, but other times when writing on the tablet or phone is easier. And users would still be able to publish PenCasts and convert them to interactive PDFs.
I hope Livescribe is keeping an eye on the Galaxy Notes and other pen-enabled tablets like the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and the HTC Flyer. The sooner they bring Echo functionality to tablets the sooner I can ditch all pen and paper forever.
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