Livescribe, makers of the Pulse and Echo smartpens, has announced that their developer program is ending, in favor of their Livescribe Connect offering, which sends data to Facebook, Google Docs, and other destinations in a variety of formats.
From the announcement email:
As of July 29th, Livescribe will close its third-party developer program. With cloud technology and mobile information access becoming increasingly important to our customers, Livescribe is realigning its focus and resources on cloud access, storage and services. Our recent introduction of Livescribe Connect, which enables customers to easily send notes and audio, as a pencast PDF, to people or destinations of their choice like Google Docs, Evernote, email, and Facebook, is an important step in this direction.
Livescribe made a splash at JavaOne 2008, when developers like me were able to buy then Pulse pen at the show. It's a very useful device, as it records not only what you write, but also audio while you write. So you could take project notes in a meeting with the pen, and if you wanted to review something, you could have it play what was being said when you wrote down a particular note.
The Developer SDK allowed you to write applications that ran on the pen directly. There are some useful apps, although most are more "interesting" than useful (Zork I, noise packs, stuff like that). That's what's being discontinued. From the sounds of it, it sounds like there won't be any new pen-based applications other than the ones already in progress or finished.
So the alternative now is LiveScribe Connect. From the pen, you can write the word "email," for example, and then tell the pen to who you want to send the page you're on. The next time you connect the pen to your computer, the page will be sent in an email to that person whom you want to send to. You can also use the desktop app to do the same thing.
There are different formats you can send in, and many different destinations: Google Docs, various PDF types (including audio), you can send to evernote, facebook, and a few others, with more to come, I imagine they won't stop with those.
This is a great example of alot of things. LiveScribe saves resources by not habing to support a developer program with fairly limited appeal, we get the output from the pens in open formats too.
I just wish I had one of the new Echo pens - the old Pulse pens are great and I loved having one the first ones but the new ones are lighter and don't roll and have more memory, too.