Why the APEN A2 Needs to Support A Mobile OS
There isn't much worse than an idea one step away from true greatness. Take the APEN A2. It looks like any other smartpen on the outside, but the A2 works with any paper. All you do is clip the sensor on and start writing. The wireless transmitter allows you to send your notes right to a computer.
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The price is right too. With no costly smart-paper to purchase, the A2's price tag of $99.99 is insanely reasonable. Some models are said to support smartphone connectivity. The A2 works with Mac and PC...and once they add in support for tablets, this idea could really have legs. Being able to upload to your PC or handset is cool, but neither of those is really ideal.
A desktop (or laptop) computer is great for word-processor style input, but formatting a sheet of notes via mouse and keyboard doesn't sound very fun at all. The smartphone has a way better interface, but it is also too tiny and crowded to be ideal. But a tablet...that is the PERFECT device to translate a page of real paper onto.
Imagine the implications for art students, writers, graphic designers...the ease of uploading notes and ideas and then continuing to modify them with no break in creative continuity. The possibilities are intoxicating. APEN has removed a huge barrier by killing 'smart paper' and getting their MSRP low. Now they just need to get with the changing times.
Smartpens are a fantastic idea, and we aren't more than five or ten years out from the point at which they will be inexpensive enough to make ubiquitous. When we see full support for mobile operating systems like Android, iOS and WP7 is when these things will really take off. Tablets and smartpens are meant to be together.
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The ideal 'entry-level' package for this sort of partnership may end up being an E-Paper tablet with an attached pen. A cheapo tablet based around the smartpen would be focused enough to feel fast without needing to be powerful or loaded down with neat functions. Students seeing a deal like this for $200-$300 would have to be enticed. Store your textbooks on one device and upload your notes / papers right from your pen to the screen? THIS is the tablet revolution higher education is waiting for.