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Circuit Breaker

Montblanc's Augmented Paper digitizes rich people's handwriting

A digital notebook in Italian leather

Montblanc

Montblanc isn't the first company to try and bridge the worlds of analog and digital note-taking, but it does want to be the most stylish. At IFA this week, the German company best known for its luxury pens and watches unveiled the Montblanc Augmented Paper — a notebook that lets users transfer handwritten sketches, doodles, and everything else to a connected app. It's a concept we've seen before with Moleskine's Smart Writing Set ($199) and Livescribe's Smartpen (from $149.95), but Montblanc is definitely going for a more upmarket crowd: Augmented Paper costs €650 ($725).

For that price you get a modified pen from Montblanc's StarWalker range, and an Italian leather notebook from the company's Urban Spirit collection. We won't go into the details here, but that these items are (at least according to Montblanc's press release) superlative in every way, steeped in "century-old traditions" and the like.

The technology side seems more pedestrian. The notebook and pen use electro magnetic resonance (EMR) senses to digitize the writing and doodling made on the pad (and only on the pad). Up to 100 pages can be kept in the notebook's internal storage, with this information uploaded to an app on the user's smartphone over Bluetooth. Montblanc is also promising "best-in-class handwriting recognition" in 12 languages, including English, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. After they've been logged away, notes can then be categorized and sent on to other places — your email, your Dropbox, etc.

This functionality is pretty much identical to what you'll get with similar products from Moleskine, Livescribe, and Evernote. And while Montblanc seems confident that its raw materials are more luxurious, we'll have to wait to see if the user experience is just as accommodating.

montblanc augmented paper