Doodle Me This: The uncertain future of note-taking apps

digital pen

Getty Images

The past few years have seen the emergence of great options for every type of note and note-taking style. Word processors and drawing applications have merged into tools that specialize in organizing notes (OneNote, Evernote, Joplin), tracking backlink relationships (Obsidian, Roam Research), compiling research sources from the web and other documents (LiquidText, Flexcil), and mind mapping (LucidChart, MindMeister), whiteboards (Miro and Mural), and others.

Amid the blurred boundaries of these categories, free-form note-taking tools combine the spontaneity and flexibility of pen and paper with digital capabilities that include selecting and moving sections of text, converting handwriting to text, and syncing across devices. While the field has encompassed several specialized hardware (reMarkable) and hybrid paperbacks (Livescribe, Rocketbook), mainstream tablet platforms that have moved keyboards into an accessory have proven fertile ground for capturing free-form notes.

But pen input encountered a winding path across platforms. Apple brought pen input across the iPad font and gave handwriting to text a big boost in its iPadOS 14 Scribble feature, but it does not support pen input on iPhone. On Android and Chrome OS tablets, most business-focused products from Lenovo, Samsung, and HP support stylus input; Many of these brands support Google Support Global Pen Initiative who – which Looks slated for support on google Play tablet market backThe Pixel tablet. On the Android phone side, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra replaced the flagship Galaxy Note during TCL recently joined Motorola As a seller of more affordable smartphones, filling the hole left by the end of LG’s Stylo line.

Then there’s Windows, to which Microsoft has added pen support Years before the advent of smartphones (too much for Discontent with a startup offering a Windows competitor called PenPoint). It brought stylus support to the Surface Pro before Apple launched the Apple Pencil, but the rare use of Windows 2-in-1s as tablets — combined with a long-running dearth of touch-enabled Windows apps — has dented support from third-shaped note-taking tools. Free for a party other than Microsoft’s OneNote. While OneNote is available on many platforms, other first-party apps are limited to a specific ecosystem (Apple Notes) or even a brand (Samsung Notes). This also applies to many third-party products, for example, GoodNotes and Notability are exclusive to iPad while Squid and Inkredible are exclusive to Android. However, if you’re looking for a free-form note-taking tool that quickly gets you into capture mode and works across platforms, there are plenty of options.
Noteshelf It recently came to Android after starting it up on the iPad. Both versions support multiple notebooks and pages browsing via thumbnails or bookmarks, importing audio and images, highlighting, converting handwriting to text, automatic shape recognition, and a host of selection options that include forward/send backward, resize, And choose the color. . However, the latest Android version lacks a “Zoom box” feature to facilitate detailed work and presentation mode.

MyScript, the company behind Nebo The app, has a note-taking legacy that extends back to Apple’s Newton. It still licenses AI-based handwriting recognition to companies like Lenovo, Huawei, and Dell, which recently appeared in concept clip A meeting-centric menu was rolled out at CES 2021. Thus, it’s no surprise that Nebo is focusing on the handwriting recognition experience, previewing the recognized text in real time as you type. It can also recognize and convert mathematical formulas and graphs although we’d like to see at least PowerPoint level editing capabilities for the latter.
At $10 or more for the full feature set, Nebo is one of the most expensive note-taking tools, but the price includes free use of the MyScript cloud service to enable notes syncing with Dropbox and Google Drive. And while you have to pay to use it on every platform, it’s one of the few that fully supports Windows. It also offers a free viewer app for iOS and its iPad app can be used on Apple silicon-enabled Macs.

more: 3 Super Simple Ways to Take Notes on iPad with Apple Pencil

Earlier, Microsoft mentioned OneNote, another note-taking app with deep roots. (Next year will turn 20.) OneNote’s OneDrive supports syncing across iPhone, iPad, Android, the web, and of course Windows, featuring tight integration with the Surface Pen. OneNote’s hierarchical system of notebooks, sections, and mixed media notes is a bit if you’re familiar with tools like Evernote, but it can accommodate a wide range of organizational styles. OneNote makes it easy to get into free capture mode and has a handy set of drawing tools. However, the Handwriting to Text feature only works on Windows.

Today, many note-taking apps adopt a page-centric architecture that disintegrates as we move away from printing notes. Taking a cue from whiteboard implementations, the alternative is the “infinite board” as implemented in the most centralized (and widely cross-platform) layouts Apply concepts. Also, as with many older tools, note-taking faces increasing competition from artificial intelligence. The powerful performance of cloning tools such as beaver It relieves the need to capture what is being said in the moment. More conferencing tools now create transcripts on the spot as platform vendors extend the reach of live captioning features to a greater range of audio and video throughout the computing experience.

Currently, these are utilities and not a substitute for note-taking, where humans can only create notes that overlap their priorities and knowledge of information relationships outside of a particular piece of content. But if artificial intelligence can create Credible photos of characters and scenes Based only on textual descriptions, she is poised to master the mental process named after a famous children’s drawing experiment: Connect the Dots.