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Livescribe announces best-apps winners

Not surprisingly, the best apps for the Pulse smart pen are tools that help users with common problems, like translation, spelling, and more.

The Livescribe Pulse pen app store as seen on Wednesday, when the company announced the winners of its first-ever app development contest

If you are a fan of the age-old brain-twisting game Mastermind, you might want to pick up one of Livescribe's Pulse smart pens.

That's because the game, or at least a version of it, was judged the best application for the Pulse pen, a technological wonder that allows users to take notes and automatically synchronize them with an audio recording.

On Wednesday, Livescribe announced the winners of its app contest, a competition in which the company's users weighed in on the best apps available in its store. Like Apple's App Store, many of the most popular applications for the Pulse pen are variations on long-popular tools. Michel Bagnol, the developer of Mastermind (see video below), won $5,000. The other winners include Sudoku, and thesaurus and spelling apps. Another winning app is called SwissKnife All-in-one and features a stopwatch, a ruler, a counter, and a metronome. The developers of those each get $500.

The company had also asked a panel of technology and media experts to pick their favorite. The winner of that $5,000 category was Audible Healthcare, from developer Charles Caraher. Among other things, it automatically translates common medical questions into a series of languages.

The Livescribe app store got off to a rocky start when it launched in November. The company's CEO, Jim Marggraff, acknowledged to CNET at the time that the users employing the app store had been having trouble downloading the apps, as well as with some of the core functions of the device.

Still, the app store moved forward, and today there are about 65 applications available, ranging from various productivity and educational tools to games to, yes, fart apps. While it's many orders of magnitude smaller than the iPhone App Store, the Livescribe version has obviously followed in its bigger and better-known cousin's footsteps.

Apps on the Livescribe store tend to be in the $1 to $3 range, though there are some that are free, and some that are much more expensive. The top paid app is a Blackjack game which sells for $2. The top free app plays snippets of classical music.