Evernote Acquires iPad Handwriting App Penultimate
May 9, 2012

Evernote Acquires iPad Handwriting App Penultimate

Derek Walter for RedOrbit.com

The Evernote platform continues to expand, as the company snapped up the popular iPad handwriting app Penultimate on Monday.

The move is likely designed to strengthen the use of handwriting and recognition featured within Evernote.  While Penultimate already sends notes into Evernote, users can expect a tighter integration with the cross-platform service.

Penultimate will remain a standalone app for the iPad, still to be priced at $0.99. It is currently ranked second among the best-selling paid apps in the App Store. According to the Evernote blog, it is the number four best-selling iPad app of all time.

Penultimate makes considerable sense as a purchase, given that Evernote is designed for storing web clippings, notes, drawings, and images for later recall. The web, mobile, and desktop app already uses text-recognition technology to search out words in photos or hand-written notes.

Evernote has grown significantly since its debut in 2008. It was one of the first productivity apps to win major acclaim when the iPhone App Store launched that year. It was designed to store notes in the cloud, making them available on other devices. Evernote currently has mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire, and BlackBerry. It is available on the desktop for Mac, Windows, and as a web app.

Earlier in May, Evernote raised $70 million to fund these kinds of acquisitions. It has not been timid about doing so, snapping up five companies last year. One of its most notable acquisitions was Skitch, a Mac, iPad, and Android app that allows users to annotate and share images and screen shots. While Penultimate will remain at $0.99, Skitch became free.

Two other acquisitions became Evernote Food, a mobile app for keeping track of favorite meals, and Evernote Clearly. The latter is much like the Reading List in Safari. By adding the browser extension, the text on a web page is reformatted for easier reading by eliminating advertisements and other superfluous images. Then with one click the article can be added to an Evernote notebook.

Ben Zotto, the founder of Penultimate, said the app would remain a strong presence on the iPad.

“Penultimate has come a long way since its launch as the original dedicated handwriting app for Apple´s first iPad two years ago,” he said in a statement. “It now offers scores of powerful features within that same accessible and attractive design. It´s remained a top-selling app, and millions of people have showed us that they´re doing things with Penultimate we never imagined.”

There are clearly a growing number of users that seek to use the iPad as a writing tool, much like the tablet PCs that it replaced. With Penultimate, Evernote seeks to stake out a strong position in note-taking and handwriting recognition.