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Will Evernote launch an innovative Android device?

Evernote CEO Phil Libin says the company is planning to launch its own hardware in partnership with OEMs. What kind of innovative gadget could this be?
April 18, 2013
Pictured: Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine
Pictured: Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine

Evernote is supposedly the app that remembers everything, even across platforms. But with a slew of alternative applications — many of which are free — Evernote might be finding itself increasingly playing second fiddle to the likes of Google Keep. But Evernote is not resting on its laurels. CEO Phil Libin said in an interview that the company is looking into producing its own hardware.

Now the question here, of course, is what kind of device exactly Evernote is planing to produce. The second question would be whether it will run Android.

These are reasonable questions, of course. Given that Evernote’s main application is for note-taking and clipping, it would only make sense to produce a device that can be used to go online and access your notes/clips, or save new ones from the web, email and other sources. As for the choice for Android, it’s probably the easiest option for a device manufacturer. See Amazon, for instance, which uses an Android core for its heavily-modified Kindle Fire operating system.

According to Libin, Evernote will be partnering with OEMs first in producing their devices, after which they might venture into doing the hardware themselves. “[W]e’ll do the co-design together,” he told IDG News Service. Partnering with OEMs is not uncommon for any major brand, but companies producing their own devices in-house is something different altogether. “Eventually, in a few years—three, four, five—I think we’ll be ready to do something ourselves,” Libin said.

Now the actual device that Evernote will produce might not exactly be your run-of-the-mill smartphone or tablet. Libin emphasized that Evernote wants to create a device that will offer something “new and magical,” rather than compete with existing products that are already dominant anyway.

Perhaps we can expect something along the lines of Evernote’s Smart Notebook, which was done in partnership with Moleskine. The Smart Notebook is actually a paper-based notebook that you can write on. But what’s so magical about this notebook is that the paper is specially-formatted such that you can take a photo of your notes, doodles or sketches, and these are converted into digital format.

Libin is quite idealistic with Evernote’s long-term plans in terms of app development. The company aims to develop a new kind of application that works on different types of hardware, and not just separate platform-specific apps. “We’ve got all sorts of people really thinking hard about what is this new paradigm of apps that are across all devices, but are really just meant for you in your life.”

Will Evernote up the ante with its planned hardware release?