ChatPen from Anoto and Sony Ericsson, available now in Sweden for approximately $260, U.S. release later this year
PROS: With ChatPen’s camera technology, you can store handwritten notes, send e-mail directly from paper, or call up a Web page by writing a URL.
CONS: The pen can be used only on paper covered with dots — invisible to the eye, but necessary for deciphering handwriting and transmitting e-mail and Web commands.
BOTTOM LINE: Although the paper is restricting, quick e-mail and Web access are worth the effort.
VPen by OTM Technologies, available in 2003 for less than $200
PROS: A laser point allows use on any surface that reflects light. Partnerships with heavyweights like Microsoft and Motorola ensure multisystem compatibility.
CONS: Long wait for its arrival.
BOTTOM LINE: OK, so the wait seems extreme, but so are the promised benefits. The ability to write on any surface is key, and with big-name partners, other innovations seem likely.
InkLink by Seiko, available now for $100
PROS: Use with any paper up to legal size. Allows user to cut, copy, paste, e-mail, and store handwritten notes.
CONS: Less sophisticated than the others; no mouse-like capabilities
BOTTOM LINE: The InkLink isn’t as advanced, but it is inexpensive and on shelves now.