Mobile software Monday: Evernote comes to the BlackBerry platform

Summary:One of my favorite mobile apps/services is Evernote because it works across multiple mobile devices with native clients (iPhone and Windows Mobile) and via email while also working on PC and Mac computers. The folks at Evernote have stated they are working on clients for more mobile platforms and the next version is now ready for RIM BlackBerry owners. I've spent a few days using the latest BlackBerry client and you can check out some screenshots of it in action in my image gallery.

One of my favorite mobile apps/services is Evernote because it works across multiple mobile devices with native clients (iPhone and Windows Mobile) and via email while also working on PC and Mac computers. The folks at Evernote have stated they are working on clients for more mobile platforms and the next version is now ready for RIM BlackBerry owners. I've spent a few days using the latest BlackBerry client and you can check out some screenshots of it in action in my image gallery.


  Image Gallery:Evernote keeps coming out with mobile clients and the latest supports RIM BlackBerry devices.  
Image Gallery: Evernote BlackBerry home screen
 
Image Gallery: Entering a new note
 

Evernote is service designed to help you easily capture different types of information from anywhere so you can later access and use that information. It is an aid to your memory and works extremely well. The search capability is what really sets Evernote apart from taking standard notes or making task lists as they provide a recognition technology that even lets you search for text WITHIN a photo. It is extremely handy for taking photos of business cards and then later finding a person's contact info by searching for their name that is found on that business card image. Even handwritten notes are recognizable and searchable.

There is a free Evernote client that works for most people, but there is also a Premium option for those of us who capture lots of data with a bump up in monthly uploads from 40MB to 500MB, any file type file synchronization, and premium support. The premium option is only $45/year and after you try out the free version and see how amazing the recognition technology is I think you will find the Premium version is worth the cost.

Evernote for BlackBerry is compatible with recent BlackBerry smartphones running OS 4.6 and higher. Currently supported devices are:

  • BlackBerry Bold
  • BlackBerry Curve 8900 series
  • BlackBerry Storm

It is available in the BlackBerry App World store so download and give it a try now.

The Windows Mobile client was the first mobile client released, then the iPhone client came out and set the bar. The Windows Mobile client has been updated and is again the most powerful client with file synchronization support and a all the other great mobile features. The new RIM BlackBerry client is quite good in terms of creating new notes, but is still a bit limited when it comes to accessing your notes because it uses the web browser rather than the native Evernote client. However, looking at how each of the mobile clients has been developed in the past, this will change as development continues on the BlackBerry client.

Navigating Evernote: After you install and launch Evernote you are presented with the home screen that shows icons for a new text note, snapshot, audio note, and upload file option. You will also see a search box and search button on the bottom of the display. Entering a search term and selecting Search takes you to a mobile web browser-optimized Evernote mobile page with your search results. This web page has a look and feel of Evernote so you may not really notice too much that it is a page within the default web browser.

From the home page you can also select the BlackBerry menu button and see a menu with recent notes, pending notes, settings, check for updates, about Evernote, sign out, start/stop using GPS, and exit.

Before you do anything in Evernote you need to make sure you are signed into your account on the device so that notes are synced to your online service. You will find that selecting recent notes or settings takes you to the mobile web browser version of Evernote mobile. Within settings you have the option to select how notes appear (thumbnails, list, details), how many notes appear on each page (10, 25, 50, or 100), the order in which they appear (created date, updated date, or relevance), and view the stats for your account information (total notes, monthly allowance, current usage).

One cool feature in the BlackBerry client, for those with integrated GPS receivers, is the ability to geotag your notes and also search for public notes taken and posted in your vicinity. I could see this as something very useful with people leaving behind notes for restaurants, good parking spots, etc. that remain virtually within certain areas as we geotag the world.

Creating a new note: I am not sure if text notes or snapshot notes are the most popular, but usually when people think of a note taking client they think of a text note. To create one you simply select the Text Note icon and then enter a title, enter in the note content, select which notebook in your account to upload to, and then select or enter any tags you desire. You then select the BB menu button and save note. You can also discard the note if you decide not to create it. You will then see the status of the note on the home page for the upload and when complete. That's all there is to it.

To create a Snapshot note you select the appropriate icon from the home page. The first time you create a snapshot note you will see a pop-up informing you that the native camera application will launch and how to take a photo and then come back to Evernote to complete the note. You have the option to have this never appear again too. The camera application launches and then you take snapshot of what you want to save as a note. A snapshot note form will then appear, after you select the back arrow on your BlackBerry, where you can enter a title, text content to go along with the note, notebook to upload to, and any tags you want added. You then press the menu button and select save note for it to be uploaded to your account.

Audio Notes can also be created in Evernote for BlackBerry. Simply select the Audio Note icon and a very basic recorder will appear on your display that has two large buttons, record and stop, with simply directions above them. At first it states press record so you press in on the trackball to start recording. Press in again to stop the recording. You then have options to play your recording to hear what is sounds like or re-record it if you didn't like the audio note. When you are happy with the audio recording you then press the menu button and select save note. Just like the Snapshot Note you will see an Evernote form appear where you can enter a title, content, notebook, and tags. Press menu and save note to upload the new note.

While the iPhone has no accessible file structure, RIM BlackBerry devices do support this so like the Windows Mobile client you have the ability to Upload Files from your BlackBerry device. Select the Upload File option from the Evernote home screen and you will then see a file browser. Browse to and select the file you want to upload as a note. After selection, a note with attachment form will appear similar to the others where you enter a title, content, notebook, and tags. Again, press menu and save note to upload the note to your account.

Also, within the title and content fields you can press the Menu button and see the option to Check spelling and Show Symbols.

Thoughts on Evernote for BlackBerry: I am very pleased to see Evernote come to the BlackBerry platform and plan to share it with all of the family and friends that are now picking up BlackBerry devices. It is quite functional and I am sure we will see regular improvements and further integration moving forward. I am amazed at the Evernote recognition technology and just a few seconds after uploading image files with text they are searchable from the BlackBerry. As a multi-platform mobile user too I love that there is a method of using Evernote across all of these platforms (via web browser and email for those without dedicated clients).

I now want to see a dedicated S60 client for Evernote so I can use all of my Nokia devices with the service and with the sheer number of S60 users throughout the world I am hopeful a client is being developed for this platform too.

Topics: Hardware, BlackBerry, Mobility, Software

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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