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October 10, 2008

Innovative iPhone Apps: Evernote

Posted in: UE Critique, User Experience Design, iPhone

TITLE // Evernote

PRICE // Free from the iTunes Store.

PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION // Evernote for iPhone is part of the Evernote service, which is made up of desktop clients (Mac and Windows), a web version, and clients for other mobile devices. Whenever you add or edit a note in one version, it is quickly made available across all others, so that you can answer your notes and memories any time.

Of their broader service, Evernote says: Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.

USER EXPERIENCE INNOVATION // Embrace the cloud. There are a handful of iPhone apps that let you create, edit and manage your text, audio and photographic notes. Evernote stands apart because of it syncs to an even more impressive desktop application. Evernote uses a “cloud” paradigm that performs impressively. Even photos and audio notes show up on the web or on your desktop version within seconds.

Notes are synced automatically. No need to press send or wonder if you left notes on your mobile. Deleted items get deleted across the cloud.

Doesn’t the Mac have notes apps as part of Mail app? Yes, it does, but they don’t sync. The best you can do with the built in Notes app is send a note as an email.

In case I haven’t been clear, the real power of Evernote is the access to the content in the form that’s most convenient in whatever context you’re in. Evernote has struck a nice balance of features between it’s mobile and desktop versions, not trying to cram everything into the mobile version, but not skimping on the tools that make it invaluable to use.

WHAT’S LACKING // The one thing I’ve wished for on multiple occasions is that the application would store notes on the device and sync them when it’s able. This application loads your notes from the cloud only if you have an active data connection (Edge, 3G or Wi-fi). I learned this the hard way when I stored flight and hotel information for my overseas itinerary. To my chagrin I had to turn on data roaming to pull it down.

The second feature I’ve wished for is better management of To-dos. The system lets you manage To-dos in the desktop app but you can’t interact with them or create them from the iPhone app or the web version. Update: version 1.3 lets you can manage To-dos in the iPhone app!

PRICE TO VALUE // Evernote’s suite of apps is free to download and free to use up to a certain amount of monthly bandwidth usage. With daily use I have yet to exceed the free subscription.

URL // http://www.evernote.com

Editors’ note: This review is a continuation of our roundup of noteworthy, novel and useful iPhone applications. While we hope our list is useful to you, we’re not necessarily trying to create the “best of” iPhone apps list. Our goal is to highlight iPhone (and iPod Touch) apps that solve UI problems in unique and interesting ways; apps that add to the mobile device UI conversation or bring something new to the table.

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