Evernote Turns Itself Into a Platform With “Trunk”

The handy digital memory software maker Evernote today is launching “Evernote Trunk,” a platform for integrated productivity applications that it will sync with, market and sell.

Evernote is an early “freemium” success story, with 80,000 premium subscribers and 12 percent revenue growth per month for the last two years (for a lot more on the company’s freemium model, see this previous post). Today, most Evernote customers use the app to coordinate their note-taking across at least one mobile device and at least one desktop. Now the company is using that strength to help out other companies and add functionality it hasn’t built itself with 100 “items” (aka apps) from 67 companies at launch. Trunk is available for Evernote’s Windows, Mac and web apps today, the iPad next week and mobile devices after that.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin said this is “not another app store,” but rather a way to showcase and integrate apps. “We want to help these creative nerd engineering types make money for building something useful.” Libin was speaking at a dedicated Evernote press conference in San Francisco, which was a bit odd considering the small scale of this announcement.

Trunk items include voice transcriptions (with Dial2Do), social functionality (with Seesmic), group support (with SAP), PDF annotations and business card handling. Evernote will also offer “branded notebooks” with lifestyle content from publishers including Make Magazine on topics including travel, wedding planning and gadgets that users can annotate and “obsess over,” said Libin.

Evernote wants its partners to both augment and take a piece of its freemium model. It promises it will soon add the ability for developers to charge within Trunk and earn affiliate revenue. Apps can also be region-specific; for instance, a German app called Paperboy takes pictures of newspapers or magazines so a user can read them later, and the Japanese device airpen records physical writing in digital form.

Libin said he hopes future Trunk projects will include games, education, semantic analysis, recommendations and templates.

Meanwhile, Evernote is also pursuing the crazy newfangled idea of retail sales; as an experiment, it will sell an Evernote starter pack with Sourcenext in Japan, including a three-month starter subscription. Always ready with a quip, Libin said, “This may be the first time anybody’s ever put a cloud service in a box — a retail box … which explains why it’s so light.”

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