Digitizer pens have been pioneered in 2000 by Swedish company Anoto. Hitachi introduced one in 2004 in Japan. So what is different and better with the Livescribe? The Livescribe is also recording voice conversations and associates them with the notes you take on the paper. When you upload the data from the pen you have both in context available. This is great for capturing lectures or meetings.
Livescribe is using handwriting recognition and can convert your handwriting in machine text. Nifty little helpers like a calculator are also integrated in the Livescribe pen. If you write down a math formula the pen shows the result in its OLED display.
Another interesting aspect of Livescribe is its open platform. The company wants developers to build applications that work with the pen and open new areas of use.The Livescribe paper-based computing platform – a smartpen, dot paper, software applications, along with development tools – will be available online beginning in Q4. The smartpen will be less than $200. Additional dot paper will be available at prices comparable to standard paper products.
Livescribe's founder and CEO Jim Marggraff is introducing the pen at the About D: All Things Digital conference. This WSJ event is really hot this year. Microsoft already introduced the Surface and today Palm will also show us something new.
Jim Marggraff was before at Leapfrog and invented products like LeapPad and Fly Pentop Computer.
See also the Livescribe site.