Livescribe Gives Developers Huge F-You

I got an email today from Livescribe announcing the closing of their developer program:

As of July 29th, Livescribe will close its third-party developer program.

With cloud technology and mobile information access becoming increasingly important to our customers, Livescribe is realigning its focus and resources on cloud access, storage and services. Our recent introduction of Livescribe Connect, which enables customers to easily send notes and audio, as a pencast PDF, to people or destinations of their choice like Google Docs, Evernote, email, and Facebook, is an important step in this direction.

Applications in our online store will remain available for download and purchase pending compatibility with future Livescribe software updates.

We will continue to accept applications submitted for publishing in our online store, as well as pattern credit requests through July 22nd. At this time, the SDKs and developer website will no longer be available.

Effective immediately, their forums are read-only and will be taken offline completely in a little over a week. They’re removing the ability for developers to create custom applications and taking away the SDK. Particularly disappointing is the loss of the custom paper penlets, which allow developers to create and print their own custom printed paper and forms.

It’s upsetting to see a technology company close its doors to creative developers. It’s insulting to see them to do so overnight, not only shuttering the program but silencing the forums immediately. It’s clear the company doesn’t value its developer community at all, and that’s a damned shame.

As a consumer and developer, I feel duped. Part of why I purchased the Livescribe was specifically because of the ability to extend it. Developer communities bring niche functionality to products – they add features that are too esoteric for the company to bother with. Killing off your developer community sends a clear message that your product is for mainstream users and mainstream users only: everyone else can go home.

So, well done Livescribe. In the span of just a few hours you’ve turned me from one of the biggest evangelizers of Livescribe to someone who wishes ¬†she still had the receipt and packaging for her Echo so she could return it.

21 thoughts on “Livescribe Gives Developers Huge F-You”

  1. I’m very disappointed as well. I gotta say, though, that the people from Livescribe that I met at their developer events seemed to really think that their app store was going to be huge. They really seemed to think that this would explode, and that it would vastly increase the popularity of their platform.

    There were enough problems with the SDK, and poorly thought out bits (no way to use the translator on an already written word, for example, and never really any great ways to quickly get to apps) that it didn’t seem likely to explode.

    I think that shutting down the forms *immediately* was quite rude.

  2. I’ve got the same mail. It was really disappointing. They have even put all the forums down, but only because of “some developers” complains switched them back for some days.

  3. When I got my smartpen and signed up for the developer program I felt the world was at my feet. Now I realized I’m under their foot being crushed.

    Pen –> Cloud ? No. Pen –> River ? Yes.


  4. The principal reason that I was interested in Livescribe for business applications was the existence of a healthy apps market. My interest is in producing custom forms so that professionals could write and share audio-enhanced notes in the 12boxes format.

    While I am very sorry for those developers who have given their time and energy to Livescribe over the past few years, I am very glad that this announcement came before I launched an in-house project and started talking to developers or, even worse, clients.

  5. it is very sad that livescribe doesn’t have any regard on the developers they had encouraged for years to develop some app for their platform. at least they should open source the sdk now instead of closing it. otherwise do they think developers will trust yhem anymore and spend their time to develop on future products.

  6. I’m glad you see this information. I was going to buy the LiveScribe. There is an analogous teconologia anyone know?

  7. It isn’t possible that the whole world wide web doesn’t have any clue where a copy of the sdk is available! Isn’t anyone out there who has an old copy of the SDK? thx

    1. Nobody has *yet* – but its a matter of time….
      So lets get this off the ground, people. We’ve bought the hardware – lets share the old SDK and develop some underground hacks to make the smartpen what it SHOULD have been!
      Screw Livescribe – we have the power!

  8. I just bought this pen hoping to make my life in civil service easy only to find out I cannot make digital forms.. What good is me saving taxpayers dollars if I cannot re create forms for digital use to match this pen. Seems stupid of Livescribe. If someone can help me with this please let me know

  9. WTFs!!!??? I no can haz underground developer community!!!??? is there a conspiracy behind this or something or everybody hates smartpens, maybe they’re just underappreciated. why is develop[ment not possible do I need to spend weeks hacking it before I begin to develop?? who else is with me? who wants to help me hack and start the dev community again?

  10. Me too – if anyone has a copy of the SDK I’d love to get hold of it. Please livescribe bring this back – I have so much I still want to do with the smartpen.

  11. Anyone have any luck yet? I can’t believe no-one has posted. Why not some of the guys who had already started an app?

  12. I know this reply is VERY dated… nevertheless, I have a copy of the original Pulse/Echo SDK.
    How shall we share it?

    1. You still got the SDK? I’ve been looking for ages. Probably upload it on some cloud service?

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