Microsoft OneNote on Android: nice but late to the party

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Microsoft added Android support for its OneNote mobile app, enabling smartphones and tablets running on Google’s mobile platform to take notes from their device. The software syncs through Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive and to both OneNote for Microsoft Windows and the OneNote web app. OneNote for Android is free for the first 500 notes, and then costs a one-time fee of $4.99 for unlimited usage.

The price is certainly right to try OneNote if you’re an Android user: 500 notes will tell you for sure if the app meets your needs. And for many users, it likely will. I say that as a long-time user of OneNote when I used my first Microsoft Tablet PC in 2004. I found OneNote to be a powerful organization tool as I could create different notebooks for different contexts, such as work, personal, blogging ideas, and more.

The full software paired well with my tablet because it supported ink notes, which it would then index for search by using optical character┬árecognition. Such support isn’t available in OneNote for Android, unfortunately, but the mobile app is still quite capable. You can still have different notebooks, each of which can hold text, images, and bulleted lists. Missing however, is a OneNote widget, drawing notes and support for voice notes.

Still, current OneNote users on the PC that also have an Android handset will be happy with the new app. And they should be, because it extends the use of a tool that’s already part of their toolkit. But I don’t see Microsoft gaining many new OneNote customers out of this development. Evernote is widely considered the dominant player here; ironic because eight years ago, it was an up-and-comer against OneNote on tablet PCs.

Instead of embracing one of the fastest growing mobile platforms early on, Microsoft waited until now for Android support. In the company’s defense, it did deliver OneNote for iOS in January of last year. Evernote, and several other similar apps, brought wide-spread support for multiple mobile platforms far quicker and unless a specific app has a killer feature, I’ll opt for cross-platform support every time.

Maybe it’s just me though, since I use multiple devices on various platforms including iOS, Windows Phone (which already has OneNote) and Android. Let me know if you’re ready to move from Evernote on Android, or a similar tool of choice, over to Microsoft OneNote for Android.

As I always say, use the right tool for your tasks; clearly there’s no “right” answer here that applies to everyone. I simply wish Microsoft would have delivered OneNote for Android sooner rather than later as my notes are generally locked up on another platform at this point.

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