The pen might be mightier than the sword but it's unlikely to prove a match for the tablet and the smartphone, unless Livescribe realises its vision of a smart pen tightly integrated with smartphone and tablet.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was reported in July saying that Apple had sold a million iPads into schools, adding: "The adoption rate of iPad in education is something I've never seen from any technology product in history. Usually education tends to be a fairly conservative institution in terms of buying, or K-12 does, and we're not seeing that at all on the iPad."
That report anticipated even greater sales should the then rumoured iPad mini materialise.
There are plenty of arguments against this trend: the cost, the rapid obsolescence of any IT devices, the Apple walled garden, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that the days of the text book and the school exercise book are numbered.
What then of handwriting? Will today's kindergarten generation grow up seeing the act of making marks on paper as some weird practice that their grandparents indulged in?
Not if Smartpen manufacturer Livescribe has its way. And it claims that, today at least, there is no sign that the tablet takers are going penless: a survey of 600 of them said they look lots of notes (54 percent; that these were important (88 percent) and that it was important to get them onto the tablet or smartphone (85 percent).
81 percent said they took notes on their tablets but only 15 percent were "very satisfied" with this process. Sixty nine percent had bought a stylus to take notes with on their tablet with, but only 13 percent were very satisfied with this experience
The Livescribe Smartpen is a brilliant piece of technology that captures and digitises the act of making marks on paper and synchronises these with whatever sounds were being picked up by its inbuilt digital voice recorder.
In its first incarnations - the Pulse and Echo Smartpens - are great for taking notes and making recording for your later use, for archiving and for sharing with others - by connecting the pen to a computer via a USB connection - but these recordings sound/notes files are largely stand-alone.
Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.