11 Comments

Summary:

Want to write in ink on your iPhone or iPod Touch? A finger and this $0.99 application might do the trick. It’s a note-taker, but can be used for email or with Evernote. And it ought to run on Apple’s upcoming iPad too.

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All the recent talk about Apple and their iPad tablet brought out the loyal Tablet PC fans. A “real” tablet, some would content, must offer inking capabilities, not to mention handwriting recognition. For those that need the feature, it’s a fair point. And as a long-time Microsoft Windows Tablet PC user, I get it. But such a feature sadly hasn’t attracted a massive audience just yet. There’s actually a few inking applications available for Apple’s iPhone and there’s even a stylus available that works with the handset’s capacitive display. You don’t need a stylus, though. All you need is $0.99 and the FastFinga application for iPhone or iPod Touch which uses the entire screen as a notepad.

One of our readers, Jezlyn, offers up a fantastic overview of the application, which she may use for some short ink blog style posts. After using FastFinga, she says:

“The UI is really intuitive, much more so than Note Taker. And as you can see, my handwriting is recognizable.  This app feels most natural to me. It’s so good that I may start ink blogging more regularly from the iPhone.”

I highly recommend reading her continued thoughts because she offers some excellent background into the research she’s done. And if you need to see the app in use, this video will help.

You’ll note that after writing each word, you have to “send” it to the application, but surely the small screen of an iPhone is part of the constraint here. And that has me looking into the future for a minute — Apple’s iPad can remove that constraint due to its larger display. Might we see a FastFinga update to expand the inking functionality for a bigger screen? Sure, it’s just a note-taker now, but there’s potential here for so much more.

While you consider that, I’ll point out a few other features of the current iteration. Inked notes can be sent by email as an image attachment, which is handy. FastFinga can also automatically send your handwriting to the note with a configurable delay time, so you don’t have to hit a button to send it. You can swipe a word, or several words, and then use the iPhone’s cut, copy, paste feature. There doesn’t appear to be any handwriting recognition — hey, the app is only a buck — but I see Evernote integration in the app. You could gain some word recognition and indexing that way.

 

Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Web Tablet Survey: Apple’s iPad Hits Right Notes

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  1. Looks like a nice app, but “sending” each word would get a bit old after a while. Will probably work much better on the ipad.

    1. There is a setting in the app to automatically send your writing after a configurable period of time. I just haven’t tried it yet.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Actually there already is a HWR app for iPhone and hopefully, iPodTouchSuperSize….. ;)

    http://www.phatware.com/index.php?q=product/details/writepad/writepad

    Mark

    1. OOOH! Thanks Mark! I’ll have to check it! I haven’t powered up my iPhone since CES — blame the Nexus One for that — but I’ll take a look over the weekend. :)

  3. It looks like a nice way to compensate for relatively low res of the digitizer, allowing for about 5:1 scaling, but it’s still not enough to do 1:1 Inking on the iPad.

    1. Understood, but what’s to prevent the developer from reworking it for the iPad? ;)

    2. What I would be more concerned about using this app on the iPad is the lack of palm rejection. I am very interested to see if FastFinga is updated for the iPad, and how they handle palm rejection and sizing up the app in general.

  4. I take notes all the time using Onenote and most of the time I don’t even use handwriting recognition. I just want to keep my notes in one place and be able to find them when needed and forward them to others as needed. Don’t get me wrong, handwriting recognition works fine in Win7, but it’s highly overrated as a necessary option – at least for me.

    1. Same here. I prefer leaving my handwritten notes as is. Now if the iPad got a OneNote, or even a Journal-like, notebook-type inking app, wow, would I be all over that!

  5. BTW…fastfinga looks pretty good. I’ve seen the reviews for writepad and they seem mixed. If I could take notes and multitask on the iPad I’d really consider it. Has anyone used either of these two apps?

  6. Has anyone actually got FastFinga yet? I went to the iTunes link and it won’t pull up for the US store. I did a search for it, and there’s nothing by that name.

    Ugh, the internet is a worldwide connection. Why do companies insist on breaking it up in regions?

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