Got a pen? There’s an app for that!


There’s an app store for the iPhone, the BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, and pretty much every mobile device you can imagine.

Including a pen.

Sadly this isn’t for your humble Bic, though I’d happily subscribe to a magical USB auto-refill function. Instead its for the Livescribe Pulse, the digital pen at the heart of a system which allows the user to write on special “paper” and have the results inputted directly to their computer.

The pen also includes a built-in audio recorder for note-taking and will even syncronize the audio and the writing. That means that you can switch on the audio during a speech or lecture and then, if you later find something you aren’t sure about in your notes, you can instantly hear the audio from the point at which you wrote something specific.

The pen having an embedded computer, it’s possible to create other features for it, which is where the app store comes in. At present there are thirty apps, of which 22 must be purchased.

While most of them are the type of novelty app you find in most similar stores (a list of gifts appropriate to particular anniversaries for example), there are a few that make specific use of the pen, such as a range of Hangman games and one to teach you how to draw and name all 239 Acyclic Alkanes.

The most expensive app in the store, retailing at a whopping $99, works with a specially designed book of Hebrew chants and allows the user to point the pen to a section of text, hear a professional chanter recite the section, then record their own attempt and compare the two. The crossover of people who own this device and those who need to learn the chants is probably minute, but at $99 it doesn’t take many sales to make a tidy sum.