In a bid to make OneNote 2003 more attractive to students and educators, Microsoft announced this week special educational pricing for the Microsoft Office System application. The full package version of OneNote 2003 Academic Edition will cost just $49 in the US when it is released October 21, the company says, or one-quarter the normal retail price. OneNote 2003 is a note-taking and management application that should appeal to students, though Microsoft is also targeting the product at Tablet PC-toting corporate executives. Curiously, OneNote 2003 will not be bundled in any Office 2003 suite versions.

"Students have always been at the forefront when it comes to utilizing new technologies to be more productive, and we want to continue to make it as easy as possible for them to access these tools," says John Vail, the director of product management for OneNote at Microsoft. "We see OneNote as being an incredible application for helping students \[to\] improve their learning experience. Reaching out to universities to introduce this new product to students and offering special pricing and incentives to educational institutions are just a few examples of how Microsoft is meeting the needs of the academic community."

OneNote 2003 supports standard text-based note taking as well as digital ink note-taking with a Tablet PC device. One of the more innovative features of the software lets a note-taker record audio while taking notes; when you refer to the notes later, you can hear the portion of the audio recording that occurred at any point in your notes. Likewise, if you navigate through the audio recording, OneNote will display the notes you took when that particular audio was recorded. OneNote was widely heralded during Microsoft's extensive public beta for Office 2003 and Northeastern University is now recommending that all incoming students for the 2003-2004 school year use the product for note-taking in their classes.