Still like taking notes with paper and pen? Well, try this on for size: a digital pen and a receiver that can store your doodles and transfer them to your PC or Mac, or an iPhone, Android phone, or BlackBerry.
The E Fun Apen comes in four flavors, with the latest—the A3, designed to work with Android and BlackBerry phones—available now for about $130. There’s also the wired Apen A1, on sale for about $60 online, while the A2 for PC and Mac and the A4 for the iPhone/iPad are selling for $100 or so.
Here’s how it works: just put the Apen receiver (which looks to be the size of a stick of gum) along the top of a piece of paper, and start writing or sketching.
The receiver stores your notes and then transmits them to your PC or Mac once you get back to your desk, or you can zap your scribbles to your smartphone (the Apen A3 supports Androind and BlackBerry handsets, while the A4 does iPhone and iPad) while you’re on the go. You can then share your notes via email, Facebook, Flickr, you name it.
If the concept behind the Apen sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the Livescribe Echo, the remarkable digital pen/voice recorder combo that keeps track of what’s being said as you write, then lets you tap any word or doodle in your notes to jump back to that precise moment in your recording.
Neat, but the Echo ($99 and up) requires custom paper covered with thousands of itty-bitty “microdots,” which you can buy online or print using a laserjet printer. The Apen works with regular paper, but you’ll need to bring the little digital receiver with you, and sorry—no voice recording.