Something I love about Android is the ability to fiddle with apps, free apps, as often as I like. They appear and disappear from my handset with amazing frequency, and a few stay for the long haul.
One application I’ve come to love is Easy Note.
I’ve been using smartphones since before they were smartphones. Since they were unconnected PDAs like the good old Psion Series 5, and before that the Series 3. I’m a data user. There are bits of information I like to have about my person at all times. Various lists, various documents, just stuff that is important to me and nobody else, stuff I like to be able to refer to.
The fact that Android doesn’t come with any kind of note taking application natively is perhaps something of a surprise, but it means there is a huge opportunity for developers to produce a wide variety of notes based applications.
Currently I am using, and liking, Easy Note, a mixed together notes app and to do list manager that is pretty simple in operation, and not a little irritating at times, but works well enough for me.
What I like is that you can organise notes into groups and these appear visually as tabbed folders. There isn’t the variety and range of little icons to suit my requirements, but generally the system works and the look is pleasing
Notes themselves appear with like little Post It note style thumbnails side by side on screen. You tap one to open it fully but as couple of lines of text is displayed you can usually get the gist of what a note is about without the need to open it.
You can set an alarm reminder for a note. But the alarm just keeps on going till you turn it off, so you have to be careful about how and when to use this feature. I tend to use it for very short term stuff rather than for anything more than a couple of hours into the future. It might trigger when I am away from my handset or in any number of potentially embarrassing or annoying situations.
You get some themes but irritatingly you have to cycle through them rather than picking from a list, so changing away from the default is a bit tedious.
The software will back its entire database up to Google, which sounds like a great idea, but actually the backup file is full of unreadable gobbledygook as well as the text of notes. It is good as a failsafe, but not really useful as an online alternative to using the handset.
You can, though, send individual note to Google Docs, and that is a better proposition as you get just the textual content. Potentially this could be used to draft documents, and if I had an Android handset with a proper keyboard rather than the on-screen offering of my HTC Hero, I might use that feature.
There is one feature I never use – the ability to make a handwritten note to screen. It is quite unsophisticated and needs more work if it is to be useful, but on balance I could lose this and have development time spent on enhancing the core features.
This might all sound quite negative, but that very first principle of the ability to make notes and organise them in whatever way suits you best is the real appeal of this application, and it is what means I keep it on my handset.
If you fancy giving it a try, just search for ‘Easy Note’ in the Android Market.