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BlackBerry Pearl users can now transfer handwritten notes into their handhelds using a digital pen and paper. The technology is aimed at uses such as form-filling - write on the form, tick a box and the written data is sent first to the BlackBerry's screen for you to check, and then back to base over the mobile network.

It uses Anoto digital writing technology, which overlays the paper - a blank sheet or a printed form - with a unique dot pattern that's picked up by a camera in the tip of the pen. The pen records only the marks you make, which are then superimposed on a digital copy of the form to re-create your complete page.

According to Destiny Wireless, which developed the routing software that enables the smart phone to collect data from the pen over Bluetooth and then forward it for processing, handwriting now works with several BlackBerrys, including the Pearl and 8800. The company already has similar software for Symbian, Windows Mobile and Java-capable handsets.

Destiny's CEO, Edward Belgeonne, said that although many businesses have eagerly adopted BlackBerry for its messaging capabilities, there's a whole range of needs that it cannot answer. In particular, he said, "They may need to capture customer signatures to validate work, or find that they are restricted in how much data they can send from the field."

He added that the routing software also allows users to attach photos to a form before sending it off. If there is no network coverage, captured data is buffered on the smartphone and sent once the connection comes back up. ®

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