Moleskine has tried to combine its analogue notebooks with the cloud via its Creative Cloud Collection, where it attempted to partner up with Adobe's creative tool as well as its Livescribe notebooks created to work with special Livescribe pens. Its Smart Writing Set might be its best native application of auto-digitising your notes to the cloud.
The set comprises three items: a specially modified notebook called, fittingly, the Paper Tablet, a custom writing pen called the Pen+ and, of course, an app. Combined, the set helps turn whatever you write on the page into digitised copies, capturing what you write or draw as opposed to the annoying extra step of needing to scan your notes and transferring them to the cloud.
If you think the Pen+ looks familiar, it's basically a rebranded Neo smartpen N2, aBluetooth-enabled pen that turned up in a Kickstarter a while back. Of course you could just buy that pen for US$169 ($228) but the pen only comes as-is, without the specially coded paper you would need to make the pen work. Though you could also just the pen's special app NeoNotes (the same one used with the Smart Writing Set) where you instead choose to write using it but in that respect you might as well just get an ordinary stylus.
Using the Pen+ with the Paper Tablet, you would need the app open and the pen would then sense whatever you're writing on the Paper Tablet and in almost-real time will copy it over to the app. The app will also sense which page or which Paper Tablet (in case you have more than one) so archiving will be easy - no messy rearranging of your notes in the app, you can just write with the confidence the app will properly sort and save your notes.
What if your phone's not on or not on hand? Moleskine says the Pen+ will still save your notes to its own internal memory, ready to sync to your app once you connect, thus ensuring you don't lose your precious writing. Only thing about the pen is that on first getting it you will need to charge the Pen+ for at least 30 minutes before use so no instant gratification; alas for technology and pesky charging mechanisms.
Head to the official Moleskine website to watch videos of the Smart Writing Set before you make your decision as to whether you'd invest US$199 ($268) in the system or you'd rather just get an iPad or Microsoft Surface, heck even a Galaxy Note smartphone instead. If the new iPad Pro calls to you check out our handy list of things we love or don't about Apple's new tablet.