Evernote considering digital ink, handwriting recognition for iPad

May 4, 2010
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Evernote is one of the more useful apps out there, and the company has just announced that it's passed three million registered users.  Some of those are using the app on their iPad, but going by a GottaBeMobile interview with CEO Phil Libin, the company could find themselves taking on one of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' biggest tablet beliefs: that if you reach for a stylus, it's a failure.  According to Libin, Evernote are considering "full" digital inking capabilities on the iPad and iPhone versions of the software (along with the Android app), and in the meantime are adding in basic inking and sketching abilities.

"Libin said that the main problem iwth the iPad and iPhone is they don’t have a stylus. This relegates inking to quick notes or annotations. With sketching, users will be able to draw on notes, add shapes or draw quick diagrams." GottaBeMobile

Should they decide to go ahead with full handwriting recognition, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch.  Evernote already runs the ritePen, riteForm and riteShape handwriting recognition and digital ink projects, which together can convert hand-written notes into text as well as track shapes and charts.

As Libin says, the biggest hurdle is the absence of stylus input for the Apple products - not surprising, given Jobs' apparent hatred for it - which leaves users attempting to write and draw with a fingertip.  There are aftermarket styluses available, such as the Pogo from Ten One Design, but despite the fact that graphic artists are discovering the iPad makes for a decent portable art tablet, Apple aren't pushing the functionality.  It remains to be seen how the company might respond to a version of Evernote which prioritises handwritten input over Apple's on-screen keyboard, but there's definitely a market out there looking to pair their iPad with an illicit stylus.


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