Some number of months ago, I came across two products that seemed to provide similar capabilities. (see update below) The first is the Livescribe Pulse SmartPen, which I purchased and now adore.
Believe it or not, the Livescribe pen has some competition in US markets. There’s a new player in town, called Papershow. Papershow has been available in the UK for a while, and is making a push to market in the US. To that end, they have sent me a demo unit.
There are a few observations to make before I get too deep. First, they made it quite clear that when the demonstration period is over, I must send the device back. While I understand that and respect it, it seems a bit harsh to ask me to demo a device, (hopefully) make it a part of my daily routine, and then radically remove it hoping I then go purchase one? Not sure that’s the kind of marketing I’d do. Now before you call me selfish, I already have a Pulse SmartPen which I (again stating) adore. Therefore, I am a bit biased and won’t be too upset to send this one back.
Ok, enough ranting. On to the preliminary product review.
The box came via FedEx. The kit includes everything you see here.Â The way the device is supposed to work is simple.
1. Take pen and accessories out of the box.
2. Insert AAA battery into pen.
3. Plug USB key into available USB port and run installation software.
A quick note, I am not sure how long the AAA battery would last, but one of the things I quite like about the Pulse SmartPen is that the battery is quite good and you can see the status. Now I suppose it could be convenient to be able to pop in a new AAA battery and get more juice out of it. This seems a bit similar to the difference in Flip Ultra cameras and Flip Minos. The Ultras use AA batteries and the Flip Minos have an internal rechargeable battery.
Simple, right? Nope.
The USB key seems to be both a Bluetooth adapter and a flash drive. Ok so far. There are all of three files that you see in exploring the USB drive.
When I launch the application, a simple GUI asks you to install the software. The problem is, it never happens.
How in the world can it say “No software upgrade to download”? Insanity.
Now of course, I suspect I know why it doesn’t work. I’m at work, and behind a strong filter and firewall. What is probably happening is that I cannot download the software because it is hosted on a server blocked by our filter.
So logically, I should go download the software from the web site, right? I can’t find it anywhere. The support section requires the creation of an account. Why in the world? Why should I have to register just to access support documents? Google doesn’t help here, either, at least not in my searches.
I submitted my question to their tech support but I should not have this trouble this quickly after opening the box.
So, I am without other option, I will pack the device back in the box and wait for their response.
BTW: Papershow is NOT Mac compatible.
UPDATE: Papershow has been pleasantly responsive in this, and has shipped out a new device. It seems, however, that I am mistaken as to its purpose. Instead of competing with the Pulse pen, it is designed to allow you to annotate presentations being shown on a screen, except you annotate on printed copies of the slides. I have a new device, and it appears to sync fine, so more soon.