A $259 pen that is far from simple is driving sales at JB Hi Fi OfficeWorks and Dick Smith. The Livescribe pen which yesterday got a major makeover allows users to write and voice record data and then store it to a PC. The device is so intelligent that it can now create its own PDF for real time distribution.

According to Remo Behdasht, Director of International Sales, the pen is proving “popular” at retail stores especially among “information workers” who spend their day collecting information in a written or voice form.

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In the same period that it took Apple to sell 382,000 iPods, Livescribe sold over 400,000 units of their pen, according to Jim Marggraff, CEO and founder of Livescribe.
Key to the pen’s success is demonstration, said Behdasht, who is currently working with both JB Hi Fi and Dick Smith to expand awareness of the pens in store.
“Once this pen has been demonstrated people want to buy it” he said.
At a press event yesterday in Sydney the company rolled out a new version of the pen called the Echo. Gone are the round edges of the previous model, instead the company has introduced soft grip and a flat edge that prevents the pen from rolling off a pad when it is put down.
The pen, which works with intelligent paper pads is also capable of creating music via a Piano function built into the pen’s memory.
The new Echo introduces new connect and paper tablet capabilities that simplify and streamline the sharing of information within existing workflow environments using industry-standard document formats like Adobe PDF.
Another key benefit allows teachers to deliver information and then distribute that data to students wherever they are via either an iPhone or PC.

“For retailers we are opening up a brand new category. Smartpens are proving popular and Australians are taking to the technology.  Our announcement today marks a significant advancement in paper-based computing, as well as personal and professional information management.  Notes, audio, and other information captured on paper are now seamlessly integrated into readily used online applications and services. Integration with Adobe PDF brings the communication benefits of audio and ink together in a ubiquitous format for use by millions of people,” said Marggraff.
Echo Smartpen
The Echo smartpen captures everything consumers hear and write, by simply tapping on the written notes either directly on paper or on a computer using the Livescribe Desktop software.  
Echo features a sleek new ergonomic design with a rubberised grip and anti-roll surface. It is available in 4GB and 8GB models, recording approximately 400 and 800 hours respectively. 
The Echo also features industry-standard connectors, micro-USB and 3.5 mm audio jack, which allows users to use their favourite ear buds for private listening as well as share common USB cables.
 The 8GB Echo smartpen stores up to 800 hours of audio or a combination of audio, digital ink and applications. 
The 8GB (AUD$299) and 4GB (AUD$259) Echo smartpens are available starting today at retail partner Dick Smith, and later this week at JB HiFi and OfficeWorks. The 2GB Pulse smartpen is now available at a new entry price point of AUD$209.
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