Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Resurgence of OneNote via the iPad? Hmm…..

This morning in Computerworld, “Microsoft's OneNote’s Strategy: Battle Evernote or something bigger?” brought back all my memories of using OneNote for 5 years or more - as well as the frustration.

The writing by Gregg Keizer points to a number of reasons' and potential thoughts on why Microsoft could be pushing OneNote onto the iPad. At the end he does make the comment that to use OneNote you must have a Microsoft account as all data is stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Note: you can get a OneDrive account by just having an Outlook email account and you get 7 GB storage for free.

Gregg does state that the FREE OneNote for the Apple environment can only be used at Home or School (not for business) whereas Evernote can be used any where – even the FREE version.

Evernote does have a business package now which adds better collaboration tools.

As for me: I am a prolific note taker and for years I used Microsoft Word for this. When I was introduced to OneNote in 2003 I became one of it’s biggest fans. I was an evangelist for OneNote. I had notebook on notebook on notebook. What a fantastic tool. I gave seminar’s on OneNote and taught it.

I started synching OneNote on all my devices (at that time devices were Desktop and  2 laptop’s – circa 2003). I began using Microsoft’s Mesh – (now ‘OneDrive’), when it became available. Most of the time the synchronization worked well however was not perfect. Occasionally I would have multiple copies of my notebooks.

Sometime around 2008/2009 I was introduced to Evernote in it’s Beta form and, although not as powerful as OneNote, it’s synchronization was better - and I could access it on the web from any computer. It did everything I needed and I opened a FREE account. For awhile I used both Evernote and OneNote.

With my acquisition of a smartphone Evernote suddenly became the only way for me. OneNote was not available and I did not see a benefit to using two tools. Evernote was it. I stopped using OneNote completely. When OneNote did become available for the Android phone it was not easy and did not sync well for me. It was like having two different version's of the app.

Forward to today; I have an Evernote Premium account (pay) and it sync’s with my Samsung Galaxy S3, my iPad, my Nexus 7, my HP Desktop, my HP laptop, and this device, my HP Omni 10 and it sync’s very well between all devices.  Evernote is also on my Google Glass and performs exceptionally well with voice recognition.

The desktop, laptop, and HP Omni 10 tablet are all using Windows 8.1. The phone and the Nexus 7 are Android, and the Apple iPad is running the latest iOS 7.

I can share folders within Evernote and collaborate with others – which I have done. I have many folders as one might have notebooks in OneNote.

I am also a user of Skitch by Evernote for making sketches as well as annotating pictures and drawings. There are also handwriting tools like Penultimate (by Evernote), which on the iPad works very well. Evernote has voice recording and well as a camera connection.  Handwriting is now good within Evernote for the Windows user.

There are many other tools in the Evernote portfolio as well as many web extensions for the Chrome browser. 

Yes there are only (?) 80 million users of Evernote at this time and a billion users of Microsoft Office. I use Microsoft Office (Word and Excel can’t be beaten) however I just can’t see my way back to OneNote.

In the end I am not sure that by providing OneNote as a FREE tool it will bring many people to the table when Office arrives on the iPad. The many users of the iPad already have something that they use to take notes. I think OneNote is very powerful however does everyone need all that power to take notes?

Just sayin’…..