While we all like to praise the BlackBerry for its QWERTY keyboard, even we have to admit it's not the speediest thing to write on. Wouldn't it be great if there were a way of writing your notes with a pen and then digital sending them to your smartphone to save as a note or better still send as an email?
Oh wait, there is and it's called the Paper IQ digital pen for BlackBerry. Based on the same technology that surfaced a couple of years ago and used by Logitech, the now considerably thinner pen allows to write notes on special paper and then beam them to your smartphone like magic.
All you need is the special pen, the special paper and a little sticker that gives the instructions to send the information from one to another. But before you start panicking that we are talking about a device that looks like the ones you are presented with when signing for a package from DHL, this digital pen looks and writes like any other Biro, in fact you can use it away from the special paper (you just won't be able to beam the information), while the paper is actually paper, its just got thousands of virtually invisible dots on it.
The system works by tracking what you've written and the replicating that in the accompanying software. Of course in reality it doesn't care whether you've written a "t" or a "p" all it cares about is what dots you've joined up to make that letter and then works it out later.
While sceptical, in practice the system works amazingly well. The software virtually matched all our hand written characters from the outset and the system has the capability to be taught your writing style so you can get better results over time.
You can get a range of different paper stock from memo pads to A4 books - you get a A5 booket included - and with this you get the option as to whether you want to give your text a filename, date and ultimately whether or not your want to send it to your BlackBerry on each page. The page also comes with something Paper IQ call the smart margin and this allows you to select only certain paragraphs.
This Smart Margin feature comes in handy for the other key feature offered by the PaperIQ digital pen - mainly that everything you write can be archived online in a secure folder for access later from any device as long as you've got an internet connection. The smart margin allows you to determine whether or not you want it to be sent to your BlackBerry.
Here at Pocket-lint we like things that are simple and look as though some magical force is at work. The Paper IQ digital pen for BlackBerry ticks both of these boxes.
Yes the recognition isn't perfect every time, but in our usage we would say that its 95% perfect which is good enough to import the text and then have to make the odd tweak and most of the problems were due to us writing badly or using a character that it didn't recognise.
So should you invest? If you're someone who owns a BlackBerry and takes lots of notes in meetings and then spends the next hour typing them up then this is certainly worth a look.
If however your only really using your smartphone to reply to emails on the fly then getting paper and pen out everytime might be a bit of a bore.
Overall though top marks.