Classic journal brand Moleskine's notebooks have long been the medium of choice for writers, artists and academics. Now, the Italian company is getting a modern twist with the launch of its Smart Writing Set that can digitise your handwritten notes and sketches, move them to a mobile device and share them with ease.
The notebook maker's new digital hybrid includes a paper notebook (dubbed the Paper Tablet by Moleskine), the aluminium Pen+ and an accompanying mobile app that work together to digitise your next brainstorming session.
"The very idea of an analog/digital divide is passé," Peter Jensen, Head of Digital Innovation at Moleskine, said in a statement. "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. The Smart Writing Set is the latest step in this direction, part of the new Moleskine+ collection."
Moleskine's Pen+ is a sleek, black, custom-branded version of the Neo Smartpen that has a built-in camera and Neolab technology to capture every stroke as its ballpoint nib hits the paper. The camera tracks and captures the pen's movements on the special "Ncode" paper and then beams it to your app via Bluetooth to digitise your notes and drawings in near-real time. Slimmer than most smart pens, the pen's tip is also actual ink so you still get that familiar pen and paper feel.
Designed by Italian industrial designer Giulio Iacchetti, the Paper Tablet looks a lot like the classic Moleskine notebook, but contains 173 pages with large, rounded edges that bulge beyond the cover to mimic the design of a tablet. Inside the hardcover journal, the special "Ncode" pages are covered in a subtle dotted grid pattern embedded with technology that recognises the smart pen's position on the page and helps translate its penstrokes into pixels on the app's digital notebook. An 'envelope' shortcut in the top-right corner of every page allows you to automatically email a digitised version of your content.
In the Moleskine Notes app, you can turn your messy handwriting into legible, editable text, tag your entries, add colour to your sketches, colour-code your notes and share them using email or Evernote. However, the Telegraph does note that the accuracy of the new set's transcribing feature depends mostly on the legibility of the actual handwriting.
You can also save your files to Evernote and Google Drive or export them to other apps including Adobe's software suite. The Smart Writing Set can also store up to 1,000 pages in its analog mode. Android users can use the Neo Notes app for now until the release of its official app while iOS users can use the Moleskine Notes app.
According to Moleskine's 2014 financial report, the company raked in €98.7m, a 13% increase from €87m in 2013.
"We see demand for our paper-based collections grow in double digits year after year, showing the continued relevance of paper in the digital age", said Moleskine CEO Arrigo Berni. "On the other end we are well aware of all the advantages of digital, for editing, curating and sharing. This is why we see analog and digital as a continuum."
The journal company's latest paper-digital hybrid comes on the heels of Microsoft's announcement about its enhanced digital inking features set to release in the Windows 10 "Anniversary Update" this summer. Moleskine has ventured into the gadget world previously with its collaborations with Adobe, Evernote and Livescribe to keep up with virtual rivals. However, they mostly focused on photographing a sketch or set of notes to digitise them.
The Moleskine Writing Set is available now for $199. Additional Paper Tablets are priced at $30 each.