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Evernote Updates Android Version with Handwriting Capability
Posted March 6, 2014
Evernote Updates Android Version with Handwriting Capability
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By Barry Levine. Updated March 6, 2014 11:02AM

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The popular note-taking application Evernote is out with enhancements for its Android version, including a handwriting capability. The updates, announced Wednesday, follow new features added earlier this week to its Windows version.

Handwriting functionality had been available in the iOS version. Android users can now employ their finger or a stylus to write free-form, a capability which enlarges the application's appeal. The feature had been introduced in January in a beta version of the Android app.

"Whether a graph from a meeting, an equation from class or an inspiration while traveling," Evernote's Andrew Sinkov posted Wednesday on the corporate blog, "handwriting can be the most direct way to express what you're thinking or seeing."

Penultimate, Windows Version

A user taps a paperclip icon in a note, then taps on the pen. Tapping on the checkmark indicates you're done, and other note-taking -- typing, an attachment, audio, an image -- can accompany the handwritten note.

In mid-2012, Evernote bought Penultimate, which made a handwriting app for the iPad that, at the time of the sale, was the fourth best-selling app ever for that tablet.

Other improvements in the Android version include enhancement of the note editor to better handle notes created on other platforms. There is also a new highlighting option, as well as an ability to duplicate notes and more easily create note links. The camera has also been improved in speed, focus and autofocus, and the company said a previously reported lag in performance has been removed.

Earlier this week, Evernote announced an annotation tool for its Windows version. The tools allows a user to mark up a photo or a graphic in notes. The capability, which had been available in the iOS version, was based on technology the company acquired when it bought annotation tool Skitch in 2011.

'Intelligent Genome'

Michael Yamnitsky, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester, told us that Evernote's overall strategy "is to create an index of all your company's interaction," so it can add value by creating context around the assembled info.

He described handwriting as "a killer feature," and noted that it can be searched. "A lot of people still love the pencil and the pad," Yamnitsky pointed out, adding that they can now "have that experience and still search" the content.

The bigger picture, he said, is that Evernote is building the capability to link information in ways that improve workflow, such as knowing what notes you'll need for a given meeting that is indicated on your calendar. They don't yet have that capability, but Yamnitsky said that's the direction they're heading.

The overall vision is that Evernote "becomes an intelligent genome for your team," he said.

Yamnitsky added that, while Forrester has not seen any "large scale deployment" of Evernote in enterprises, it is popular among smaller companies.

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