The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen is one of my all time favourite gadgets. That's why I'm excited by the new Livescribe Echo, a complete design refresh for the Pulse which adds a heap of new features and will launch alongside a range of new software features.
The Echo features a new ergonomic design with a rubberised grip that comes in both 4GB and 8GB models. Rather than requiring a dedicated dock, the Echo features a MicroUSB connector, and the headphone jack is now a standard 3.5mm jack (as opposed to the 2.5mm jack on the Pulse). The new design means the pen won't roll off the table now, and there's a cap for the pen tip as well.
The Echo is an addition to the range - The Pulse will be available in a 2GB format for $209, while the Echo will cost $259 for the 4GB and $299 fo the 8GB.
On top of the new hardware, Livescribe is pushing both pens forward with new software. They've added password protection (with handwriting recognition) for the pen, shortcuts to apps by drawing a line and writing the name of the app, rather than having to cycle through all apps in the menu system and the ability to change languages on all pens.
There's also the ability to import and export pencasts, create custom notebooks using the Livescribe desktop software, and there's an iPhone/iPad app that will let you access your notes on those devices.
The new Echo pen
will hit stores on August 1 is available now at Dick Smiths, and will hit JB Hifi and Officeworks later this week.