Wednesday, January 30, 2008
A Demo 2008 Desert Delight
When formulating my late January travel plans several months ago, I discovered some good news -- once again this year, the Lyra Symposium and Demo 2008 conference would take place the same week, in the same vicinity. (Both near Palm Springs, CA.) But the nbad news -- unlike last year when the events only overlapped by a day, this year the agendas overlapped almost perfectly one on top of the other. This meant that with my commitment to Lyra as the official live blogger of the annual printing and imaging gathering, I'd be lucky to even get near Demo, despite the fact it was taking place no more than five miles from where I was.
Well, earlier this afternoon/evening, Lyra wrapped with just enough time for me to get to the Demo venue with only an hour before the Demo pavilions closed for good. I went seeking new products or solutions related to imaging and printing -- never more than a handful at most Demos, but definitely worth looking for. (Demo 2007 was where the Zink printer was introduced, for example. See "Zeroing in on Zink".)
This year's pleasant surprise was Livescribe and their Pulse Smartpen, due to ship in March, and originally showcased at 2007's D5 conference. "Never miss a word" is how the Pulse is positioned, and in addition to its expected ability to capture the written word via the Anoto technology and its tiny-invisible-dot-pattern scheme, it also captures "everything you speak and hear" in its 2GB memory. It's built on the Livescribe Paper-based Computing Platform. Other companies have Anoto-based digital pens and solutions, including Logitech, with what I characterize (as a former user) as kind of a "poor man's notebook computer" note-taking solution, and Leapfrog, apparently by coincidence also at this year's Demo conference, with a new version of its Fly-based interactive reading solution, this one for younger children they've dubbed Tag. But the Pulse is far more ambitious with its written and spoken word recording, and the most interesting thing of all to those in the printer business, plans a solution for users to print their own coded forms via laser printers! They are promising a list of "approved" printers in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! (Founder Jim Marggraff didn't get around to this feature/benefit in the six-minute demo -- he had a lot to cover -- but per the official press release, "Users can also print dot paper for free on qualified laser jet printers [sic] beginning in April.")
And check out the video of the Livescribe demo.