Seiko SmartPad 2
More than just a pad of paper
by Shawn Barnett
November 2001, Pen Computing 42
Among the few truly brilliant technology mergers we've seen over the years is the SmartPad by Seiko Instruments. They've taken the CrossPad idea, where your scribbles on a pad of paper are captured into a computer, and merged it with the ubiquity, convenience, and low cost of a Palm OS handheld computer. In this iteration, they add support for Handspring Visors by making the IrDA port into a boom that can be switched from the top, where most Palms can use it, to left, accommodating for Handspring's preferred IrDA placement.
The SmartPad runs on two AAA batteries like most Palms. The radio stylus runs on one AAAA battery. Users just turn on their handheld, affixed into place by two velcro strips, select an application (either eAddress, eDateBook, eMemo, or eToDo) and begin writing. The note is then named by the date and time of the item's creation. You can also assign notes to specific records. I like to attach maps to addresses so that I can look those maps up later.
You can even email ink documents to others, either by HotSyncing with the desktop, or by sending them wirelessly from your handheld. This actually works amazingly well, using the included PadFire software.
It should be made clear that in no way does SmartPad claim or try to translate your handwritten notes into text; something the CrossPad tried to do and was unsuccessful. Instead, SmartPad is a capture, storage, and transmission vehicle for your handwritten notes. For those who still work better with paper, this solution offers an excellent, fax-free solution to business communication for the consummate idea scribbler. US$199.99
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