Evernote Adds Handwriting To Its Android App, Finally Adding Penultimate-Like Features to Android

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One day after note-taking app Evernote announced image annotations for its Windows version, today it’s Android’s turn for some attention. Evernote is incorporating handwriting functionality — finally adding in the kinds of features that it picked up for iOS users via its acquisition of Penultimate from 2012. (Penultimate was an iPad-only app at the time of the acquisition.)

The functionality of creating notes with free-form “hand” (or, more appropriately, finger) writing was much-requested before now. No surprise, really, considering that Android tablets outsold Apple iPads nearly three to one last year; there were bound to be Evernote users among them.

Adding in this feature points to a couple of other currents within Evernote. The first is how the startup continues to hone its features to be more useful (and used) by particular audiences. In the case of handwriting, you can see how this helps open up the app wider to educational and also enterprise audiences more.

The second is that this update goes along with a recent, wider remit at the company to refocus on the product after a period of focusing largely on growing its user base.

So with all that in mind, why the delay?

“When we started working on a way to bring digital handwriting to Evernote for Android, we knew that our approach needed to extend the current Evernote experience rather than simply provide an alternate input method,” Evernote’s Andrew Sinkov writes in a blog post today. “It took us a long to time to figure out exactly how to make this work.”

In other words, not simple feature parity with iOS, but a bigger aim to make something improved.

The main idea here will be that the new app will give users the ability to integrate handwriting into other aspects of how they use Evernote’s Android app. You tap to write or draw by tapping the pen icon, and then you can add typed text alongside that. As with other Evernote notes, you can integrate audio, images and more as well. “Everything is in one place.”

Evernote says that other additions in this update include text highlighting and other editing features like adding links to other notes, and other annotations. And Evernote says that a new camera update will make it twice as fast as it was before.

A little video that Evernote made about the new feature: