I wrote back in the Spring about how Promethean were changing the nature of the IWB market with a change in the way their ActivInspire software was licenced so that you could use a cut-down version on other brands of Interactive Whiteboard.

Well it looks as though Smart are now following along similar lines with the release of Smart Notebook Express.

Smart Notebook Express will be released in the Autumn and will allow anyone to access Smart Notebook resources “regardless of operating system, file type or brand of interactive whiteboard”.

It’s not yet clear just how cut-down this version of the software will be and just how much you will be able to interact with the Notebook files – will you be able to move things/rub things out etc? Or is it just a viewer?

Rub and Reveal

In some ways it sounds similar to the old Smart Notebook Student Edition (or the Smart Notebook Viewer) which will let you open and use Smart Notebook files on any IWB. Previously this was technically possible, but if you did it without owning a Smartboard then you were in breach of the license.

It does sound like a great idea – and will mean that users of *cough* “lesser” whiteboards such as Hitachi/Starboards can finally access a wealth of useful Smartboard (and Promethean) content on their boards.

As well as the new Smart Notebook Express, Smart will be relaunching their Smart Exchange with a better search and possibly new resources. The press release states; “SMART expects to have 10,000 high-quality resources by the fall”

All of which is good news for Smartboard users, and also for users of all IWB’s. Promethean users can legally use Smart Notebook resources, Smart users can already now use Promethean resources. And other brands of board will finally get a bank of useful stuff from both Smart and Promethean that they can use.

So it’s a win-win situation as far as I can tell. Keep an eye out for the release in the Autumn, and as soon as I hear about it, I’ll alert you all here on the Whiteboard Blog.