With its rounded edges, smooth surfaces and tantalising pages, who can resist a Moleskine notebook? No? Well, even the digitally devoted can now enjoy its papery goodness. With Moleskine’s next generation Smart Writing Set (we’re still waiting on a catchier nickname), you can digitise your doodles, move them to your devices, and share them.
Of course, the Moleskine Paper Tablet offers the authentic, well-rounded shape and feel of their classic notebooks – which is probably because it contains no touchscreen or electronics at all. In fact, it is pretty indiscernible from a normal Moleskine apart from the outward bulge of the pages, which were presumably designed to solve just that problem - and to make it look more tablet-y.
Moleskine have dabbled in app-compatible notebooks before with Evernote and Adobe, but these relied on photographing a sketch. The Smart Writing Kit uses a camera built into the Moleskine Pen+, which was created with the help of Neo SmartPen’s techy expertise.
The camera tracks and captures the pen’s movements thanks to subtle dots printed on the paper that act as markers – which means the pen knows what you’re drawing and on what page. As the pen matches the thinness of a normal pen (and is thinner than many smart pens), it should feel just as authentic as the paper tablet.
Everything you draw or write is can be transferred nearly instantly via Bluetooth to the Moleskines Notes app, which allows you to turn your handwriting into editable text, add colour to your sketches, share using services such as email or Evernote, and even record audio (one reason the pen is so thin is because, unlike pens such as Livescribe, it doesn’t include audio technology within). The pen also has enough storage to capture 1,000 pages of notes without the app’s help.
"The very idea of an analog/digital divide is passé,” says Peter Jensen, Head of Digital Innovation at Moleskine. "In our everyday life we don't make a distinction; we continuously switch from analog to digital. This is why we have been experimenting for years in the field of bridging the two.” And it’s true: creatives love getting the ideas down onto paper quickly, but not so much when they’re stuck there.
Hopefully, Moleskine’s offering will be precise- and easy-to-use for artists and designers - but we’ll have to test it out to see if Moleskine’s plans are sketchy or written with permanent ink. It’s not like Moleskine doesn’t have competition, with BLCK INK and the Bamboo Spark.
You can buy Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set for £199.00. Note that the pen is the expensive bit and a new tablet will only set you back £23.95. And, as the pen is created with Neo Smartpen, a company that creates smart pens in its own right, you can use the pen with other compatible notebooks.