Hands-on: Livescribe 3’s upcoming Android app is built with Material Design in mind

Hands-on: Livescribe 3’s upcoming Android app is built with Material Design in mind

I’m a big believer in handwritten notes – not only for the personality behind human penmanship but the heightened quality of memory when I physically scribble down words.

Livescribe, a smart pen maker, is one of the bigger players in merging the physical world with Web productivity. Its line of smart pens allow users to write notes on specially-designed books and get a copy digitally transcribed and saved on an iOS app. At CES 2015, the company has announced that, at last, Android support will come to the Livescribe 3 pen “this spring.”

livescribe 3

We met up with the Livescribe team for a quick demo of the beta version of the Android app, built with Material Design in mind.

If you’ve ever used the iOS version of the Livescribe+ app, you’ll know that everything you write on the notebook gets mirrored onto the app so your notes are both backed up and transcribed for easy search and share. Users can also press record while writing to associate any audio file to the words being written. Any words that were written while audio recording is on will highlight as green in the digital copy.

pencast livescribe android

In the Android Livescribe+ app, much of the functionalities are the same – writing down a URL will convert the transcription into hyperlink and a phone number can be connected to the SMS or Phone function. You can also write down reminders and send them straight to your calendar, or send entire pages to Evernote or OneNote.

Livescribe says the team aims to make both the iOS and Android experiences interchangeable so customers who use both operating systems can easily swap between devices as needed.

What’s slightly different with the Android app is the OS’s tendency to put search front and center, with a bigger search functionality built into the experience. You can search for notes from the top right corner, or pull the left hand navigation over to browse recent notes and audio clips (otherwise known as Pencasts).

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Although the Livescribe 3 has been out since November 2013, the team says it waited to launch an Android app this year because the device runs on Bluetooth 4.0 and LE, a key functionality that was not available on Android until 4.4 KitKat.

Having Material Design as a guideline also helped the team develop an experience that will feel native for Android users, maximizing all of Android’s features and aesthetics. At the moment, the beta Android app features a blue and white scheme similar to Facebook. Perhaps the ability to customize interface colors to match Material Design’s colorful options will come by the time the app makes its official launch.

The team was unclear exactly when in the spring it will launch the Android app, but expect it to be compatible with Android KitKat and Lollipop.

The Livescribe 3 is available for $149.

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