When you hear the word notebook these days, a lot of people think laptop. And that probably goes doubly when a tech company like Evernote is involved. But Evernote's new smart notebook, created together with Moleskine, is no computer; it's a regular notebook you can write and sketch in. What's not so regular about it is that it comes with three months of Evernote Premium service, and has specially-designed pages that allow the app to take great photos of your notes and then index them to make them searchable. This means that they're shareable and they're available from anywhere, even when you've left your notebook at home.
The notebook was just launched today for the first time in Southeast Asia, and right now it's available in Singapore at Kinokuniya locations, or online at Moleskine Asia. Prices vary depending on the size of the notebook, but at around $30 apiece, they're not cheap. That said, the notebooks do come with three free months of Evernote Premium service, which normally costs $5 a month, so really the notebooks are more like $15, which isn't too bad.
Of course, you could just take notes digitally in the first place, but many people prefer the feeling of a real pen and paper at one point or another during the creative process. As a former songwriter, this is something I can very much relate to. I always preferred to write songs out on paper, but it would have been great to then be able to save and index those songs digitally so that I could find one from anywhere at a moment's notice, even if I hadn't brought that notebook along. This seems to be exactly the problem the Evernote/Moleskine smart notebook is aiming to fix.
Unfortunately, the app doesn't actually translate your handwritten notes into digital text, so you'll have to do some of the tagging yourself (the notebook comes with special tag stickers), but it does feature a special page camera that works with the markings in the written notebook to take a clear photo and to adjust lighting and contrast to ensure that all your photos of notes are sharp and easily readable. That may not be enough to justify the price for some folks, but I suspect this evolved notebook and app pairing will be interesting enough to find a market with plenty of creative notetakers in Southeast Asia.