New 'Pen' Writes Data Into Computers

For one, since the io doesn't have a built-in display screen, a user can't be sure that the pen is actually capturing their writing until the pen is docked with the PC. But since the pen is actually putting ink on paper, he says at least all isn't lost if the digital pen fails.

But he also thinks that the special paper, which is expected to cost about $8 to $10 per book of 80 pages, could become more of issue with users.

"The paper isn't cheap," says Enderle. And, "It's not like you can drop into any store in any airport and buy the paper. If you run out, the device is dead."

Geared for the Geeks?

Logitech's Bull admits that the device has, for now, very limited appeal — typically the early corporate adopters. "It's definitely aimed at people for work where the core emphasis is on taking notes and being more efficient with them," says Bull.

As such, Logitech has signed up powerful partners to make io-patterned paper that will offer even more unique corporate functions.

For example, 3M will offer a version of its popular Post-it Notes that will help users create electronic "sticky notes." Fill out an io-capable Post-it with a date and time, for instance, and the electronic version will automatically alert the user of whatever was written on the note.

Meanwhile, officials at paper-maker MeadWestvaco in Stamford, Conn., say it will produce notebooks filled with io paper for about the same price as its other "premium or business-oriented notebooks."

Logitech also isn't planning for a world-wide release of the io system just yet. The $199 pen system will be sold to customers in North America, Germany and Austria in November on Logitech's Web site. Retail sales in stores aren't expected until early next year.

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