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Nokia pen to beam notes to phones

The company is developing a digital pen that will let people write or draw a note, transfer it to a cell phone and then distribute it via multimedia messaging.

Nokia is developing a digital pen that will let people write or draw a note, transfer it to a cell phone and then distribute it via multimedia messaging.

When used with a specially printed notepad, Nokia's Digital Pen SU-1B will let people write in digital ink and transfer the image to their mobile phones via a Bluetooth short-range wireless connection.

The notepad contains paper that is otherwise ordinary except for printed command symbols that can be sensed by the pen.

The notes will be saved in the commonly used GIF picture format. People can then send them to a multimedia messaging-enabled handset like the Nokia 7650 and 3650, or to an e-mail address, the Finnish company said on its Web site.

The device also connects to a PC through a docking station with a USB (universal serial bus) interface, so that the writing can be uploaded to a computer. The pen itself can store up to 100 A5-sized pages of text, Nokia said.

To convert written words into computer text, the person must purchase a third-party character recognition software package, according to Nokia.

A Nokia Asia-Pacific representative said that the pen was first previewed in Hong Kong in March but that shipments won't start until the third quarter.

Pricing will vary from market to market, the representative said.

Nokia's foray into the world of digital ink is not unique. Rival Ericsson introduced a similar digital pen in 2001. Coined Chatpen, the gadget transfers handwritten messages to mobile phones via Bluetooth, like Nokia's pen. Instead of sending the information via MMS, however, Ericsson's device does so through GPRS (General Packet Radio Service).

CNETAsia's Winston Chai reported from Singapore.

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