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.
In another gesture that shows Microsoft's increasing willingness to play along with its competitors, the company has launched a OneNote Android Wear app into the Play Store. However, this release oddly requires users to have this separate app installed alongside the standard Android one in order to interact with OneNote on their smartwatches. It's awkward, but hey, it's better than nothing. With this new integration, people are able to dictate words to their wrists and have them appear among their notes.
For a while now Microsoft developers have been working on adding handwriting support to the Android app. The feature, which appeared in the newly released beta app last month, lets users add notes in a way that is sometimes more convenient or useful than typing. Writers can use their fingertips or a stylus and then tweak their notes with a number of options. The feature is particularly useful for scribbling thoughts in the margins of a scanned document.
Microsoft recently launched a beta program for its OneNote Android app, and a couple weeks later we are now seeing the first update hit devices. It happens to include a number of noteworthy enhancements. Primarily, the debut beta update introduces the ability to take handwritten notes with either a fingertip or stylus, a natural progression for a note-taking app geared at touchscreen devices.
Joining this change are a number of formatting options letting users tweak fonts, text size, and word alignment.
If you're a heavy user of Microsoft's cultishly-beloved OneNote application, good news: the company has just announced that it will be publicly testing a beta version of the Android app via Google's Play Store beta program. Yay!
To sign up, just join the OneNote Google+ community and then head to this page to opt-in to the beta. While Microsoft hasn't announced any new OneNote Beta features just yet, they're saying a new beta version of the app should be going live "soon," so testers will likely be getting some new and interesting things to play with in the coming days or weeks.
Microsoft is on a roll today – first a Skype update, and now OneNote for Android is on the receiving end of a fairly major update, as well. Those who rely on Microsoft's note-taking service should find that the update brings some rather favorable and useful changes, including support for Office 365 notebooks and new formatting options. Here's a look at the full changelog:
* New note formatting options and full fidelity viewing
* Support for Office 365 based notebooks
* Support for roaming “Most Recently Used” list
* Home screen Widgets with quick actions for capturing photo and audio notes
* Create audio notes
Unfortunately, the official blog post is very iOS-centric, but the details should translate across all versions of the application.
It seems the rumors can't stop flowing out of Redmond. Last month, a representative from a Microsoft subsidiary in Czech Republic claimed that Office would be coming to Android in 2013. While the company distanced itself from those remarks pretty quickly, that may simply be a smokescreen to cover leaks, like the kind the Verge picked up, including a few screenshots of Office running on iOS, and information on the release for our little green buddy.
Google Docs on Android is, to put it politely, crap. While the app was recently updated with a nice tablet interface for viewing documents, editing them has always been kind of a pain, and ugly to boot. Microsoft is stepping up to save the day with their simple, elegant OneNote app for Android. Because screw your expectations.
The only downside seems to be that if you already have .one files on your Android device, OneNote won't read them.