Evernote Buys Penultimate. Next Stop: Enhanced Digital Handwriting

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Hot on the heels of its $70 million round, Evernote is making quick use of the new funds: today it announced that it has bought Penultimate, a digital handwriting app designed for the iPad. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Phil Libin, Evernote’s CEO, tells me that it is a cash-and-stock deal “to acquire the whole company.” Ben Zotto, the founder, will be joining Evernote as part of the deal.

While many acquisitions of this kind often lead to the original app getting shut down, that doesn’t appear to be the case here: Evernote says that it will extend Penultimate to become available on “more platforms and devices,” while at the same time using Penultimate’s technology to enhance handwriting functions on its own app.

Penultimate is a clever buy for Evernote because not only does it give the company new technology — but also potentially an opening to a wider base of users. Penultimate is the fourth-best-selling app for the iPad of all time, the company says, and most definitely the best-selling handwriting app.

“We have big plans for Penultimate that will both enhance the app and bring more capabilities into Evernote,” said Phil Libin, Evernote’s CEO, in a statement.

Penultimate, if you are not familiar with it, is a nifty app that looks like a notebook and lets users write with their fingers or with a stylus, with the ability to change paper and pen styles. It already had some integration with Evernote before today’s news: users could save notes directly to Evernote from the app.

It also dovetails nicely with Evernote’s own integrated, multi-media approach: users can incorporate pictures and other things into their hand-written notes, which as you can see from the picture above, sometimes are the only thing that will work for a note-taker.

Penultimate sells for $0.99 in the App Store.