The Microsoft Garage team has graced the Play Store with more than a few interesting apps recently, some of which are actually useful. The latest project from the Garage is a note taking app called Parchi. It's designed to be quick and easily searchable, but odds are it's not available in your country yet.
There's always more than one way to approach the creation of an app and in the case of note-taking, it's very easy to make things too simple or too complex. From a design standpoint, powerful Android apps can sometimes leave intuitiveness and beauty aside (see Titanium Backup for more details).
neutriNote is a new app, currently in beta, that combines a simple and attractive front-end with a litany of features that can and should appeal to power users, especially of the academic type.
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book.
Evernote has added a third tier to their subscription note taking service that fits comfortably between the free and premium options that existed before. The new option, called Evernote Plus, allows users to upload up to 1GB of notes monthly and unlocks offline access to notes on mobile devices, passcode lock, and a feature that lets you turn emails into notes. The new package will run you $2.99 a month or $24.99 per year.
Evernote Premium, the most expensive tier, retains a few exclusive features to justify its higher cost of $5.99 a month or $49.99 a year. With Evernote Premium, users can upload an unlimited number of notes and gain access to exclusive tools including business card recognition, the ability to annotate PDFs, and the option to turn notes into presentations.
Google Keep was one of the first apps to add support for the Android Wear platform, giving users a quick, simple, and mostly effortless way to record short notes without reaching for a smartphone. Since then, the main application has seen several updates, but the Wear-specific companion app has gone mostly unchanged. With the latest update, the tables have been turned, and it's time for the Wear app to go through a moderately sizeable refresh.
In earlier versions of Keep's micro apk, the app only served as a target for voice commands and a way to browse existing notes.
Ever wanted to take handwritten notes, but didn't want to write on a digital screen? Maybe you just don't want a Samsung device, the primary Android manufacturer to offer active digitizers (better known as the "S Pen" in their marketing materials). Livescribe's smartpens have, up to now, been just a nearly perfect solution for many. You can write on real paper* and have your notes rather effortlessly synced to select digital destinations. It is suddenly looking even better, though, because long-awaited Android support is on the way.
Cross one more item off your list of Google apps in need of material facelifts! Next on this bountiful Update Wednesday, Google Keep is receiving a bump to version 3.0 with some new material-inspired touches, the most obvious one being its launcher icon. Instead of a realistic stack of sticky notes, we now have a single dog-eared sheet of paper with a lightbulb cutout sitting on top.
Once you're inside the app, there's plenty to look at. There's a new search interface that (like Keep's web update) allows users to search by type of note (list, voice, image, or reminder), or by color.
You might be familiar with the MyScript Calculator, which lets you jot down math problems and solves them on the spot. It's creepy accurate, and now that same technology has been applied to note taking with MyScript Smart Note (for tablets only). It works best if you've got a stylus, but even a finger is accurate enough for this app to figure it out.
The Box cloud storage app has received a significant shot of new features today, the most notable being mobile support for Box Notes. Now users don't need to head over to a computer and fire up a web browser to create, view, or edit those portable documents. The editor can handle basic formatting, bullet lists, and the essentials. You also now have the power to make checklists both on the web or within the app.
Users who fire up the new version of the app will see that their 25 most recently opened files are now presented in a single list for easy access.
It's a sad day for the 400,000+ active users of note taking service Springpad. After six years of battling the Evernote behemoth, Springpad is calling it quits on June 25th. The website, apps, and sync features will go offline at that time, but the team is working to help you get your data out.