First WhatsOniPhone Editor’s Choice Awarded To…

On September 15, 2008

And the first Editor’s Choice Award Goes to…


Evernote…    And here’s why…



I have been a huge fan of Evernote ever since receiving an invite to their “Beta” last winter. Billed as a method to “Remember everything”, Evernote serves as your “external brain”, allowing you to collect, organize and make accesible a wide variety of information on a wide variety of devices.
See a web page you want to visit at a later date? Clip and send it to Evernote…

Need to jot a quick note? Add it to Evernote…
Need a place to store pdfs? Evernote…
Documents… Evernote…
Images… Evernote…

As Evernote describes it, it is a simple three step process.

1.   You capture the things you want to remember using what you already use—your Windows or Mac computer, the web, and your mobile phone.
2.   We run everything through our recognition technology, and then synchronize it across your devices. You can then organize and tag the notes, if you wish.
3.   When you want to find something, just search or filter and there it is just like you remember it.

Evernote allows you to create any number of folders so you can organize your life any way you choose.

Best of all, all text sent through Evernote’s servers os scanned and searchable (even text in images) so that information long forgotten is easily accessed.

As a multi-platform service, Evernote was immediately available as a web service, through Mac and PC clients, and via a  Windows Mobile application. An iPhone optimized website was available beginning April 29th, 2008 and, as the Evernote blog attests, the web app saw a rapid improvement from the start. 

On July 10th, one day before the release of iPhone 2.0, Evernote announced that a resident iPhone client would immediately be available for free through the iTunes App Store. The new iPhone app was described as “the best Evernote experience on a mobile phone yet” and they weren’t kidding. The iPhone app allowed users to capture images, voice and text notes and immediately upload them to an Evernote account. Moreover, users could access their database on the go and have a full ability to search notes, including  tags and keywords all without having to access Evernote through a website.

An update that optimized the entire process of accessing Evernote through the iPhone came just a week later . The announcement of this new version concluded with-

Editing notes directly on the iPhone is coming soon! It’s a highly requested feature (by me, let alone all the rest of our users), but anything that involves changing the content of your memories on the primitive iPhone editor is just too risky to jump into without thorough planning and testing. We’ll roll out a way to edit text-notes on the iPhone (and our other mobile platforms) in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, since Evernote keeps all of your memories synchronized, you can easily edit notes on our Windows, Mac and Web clients and have the changes automatically show up on your iPhone.

Sure enough, less than a month later a update for the iPhone became available. This update, Version 1.2, optimized the voice notes functionality of the iPhone app (allowing for up to 5 minutes of recording time), made syncing 4 times faster and, as promised, introduced the ability to edit notes created in plain text format and add notes to images and other rich content.  

That announcement ended with this-

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. Please keep the ideas and suggestions coming. Now that we’ve got the 1.2 release out, we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting started on the biggest task: letting you have local storage of notes right on your iPhone. Stay tuned.

Last week saw yet another update, this time to version 1.3, and while it did not yet bring local storage of notes, it did allow for access of previously encrypted notes, introduced the ability to email notes and to-dos directly from the iPhone app and supercharge the geo-tagging ability of Evernote so as to take full advantage of the iPhone’s camera and gps chip.

It is truly remarkable to see the rapid development of the iPhone app for Evernote and if past experience is any indication, local storage of notes will arrive sooner rather than later.

Evernote is the first app to be awarded an Editor’s Choice award due to many factors including…

The Evernote app lets you take text notes, snapshot notes, saved photo notes and voice notes. As such, it can be your only voice notes app, your only notes app, and your main photo repository. You can give notes a title and add tags and everything is easily searchable. One app can easily take the place of at least three app and, perhaps, even more.

Use of The iPhone’s unique abilites-
Evernote makes excellent use of the iPhone’s camera by allowing the user to quickly grap a picture and save it for later access. Moreover, the update to version 1.3 brought a powerful and useful approach to using the iPhone’s location feature to add another mode of searching previously created notes. 
While other applications struggle to find convenient and reliable methods to save and back up data, from day one the iPhone Evernote app immediately synced with the Evernote servers and made notes created on the iPhone also accessible via the web or any of the Evernote desktop clients. Moreover, notes created in any Evernote client are also immediately available on the iPhone.

Upgrade Path-
As previously noted, the initial release has been updated three times in its first 60 days. Each update has introduced new features and optimization that makes the app even more useful and powerful. The one major hiccup in Evernote currently is the inability to store notes locally on the iPhone. It was promised with the release of Version 1.2 and the rapid development of the application is a clear indicator that it will be coming soon. (This is why we initially gave Evernote a low rating but have raised it to 4.5 after a series of updates. It will become a solid 5 when local storage of notes arrives.)

One of the big concerns with Web 2.0 services while they are in Beta is the fact that at some point they need to stop being in Beta and move toward profitability. That is all good and well since companies are in the business of making money but if you have become dependent on something during its “free” period and it enters into its “paid“ phase at an unreasonable price you have a problem- either change your work method or get gouged. This was a huge concern with Evernote. fortunately my concern was unneccessary. When Evernote launched publicly in June , 2008, they offered a generous free version and a ”premium“ version that cost just $5 per month or $45 per year. Plus, the iPhone app that allows you to take Evernote  almost everywhere was and remains free. I signed up for a premium account one minute after receiving the email notifying me that the Beta would end. It is to my mind, among the best deal in organizational services around.

Finally, Evernote receives the first Editors Choice Award because on many levels it enhances the power of the iPhone and makes life easier and more organized. Because of it, and the fact that much of the information I need on any given day is now saved in Evernote, there are an increasingly number of times when I just carry my iPhone when preiously my notebook would have been with me as well.

Well done EVERNOTE… and thanks for a great iPhone app and a great service!

The Full Review can be found HERE.