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Evernote buys Penultimate app developer Cocoa Box


Evernote is on the move, reporting a US$70 million financing round last week and plans to "grow its user base in new regions, expand its offering into new verticals and enable the company to make strategic acquisitions." One of those strategic acquisitions was just announced -- Evernote has purchased Cocoa Box, the developer of iPad note-taking app Penultimate.

It's a perfect match of two products. Evernote (free, paid subscriptions available) brings not only storage and access of "everything" (notes, business cards, photos, drawings, web pages, food experiences, travel documents, ad inifinitum) to the Web, but also provides cross-platform apps to search and add to the data store. Last fall Evernote added Skitch to its stable of apps, and now the acquisition of Penultimate ($0.99) brings even more power to the Evernote ecosystem.

Penultimate was recently listed by Apple as the fourth-best selling iPad app of all time in the United States. Considering that two of the best sellers are Angry Birds editions and the other is Apple's own Pages, you could say that Penultimate is simply the best-selling productivity app for the iPad.

I had a chance to talk to both Evernote CEO Phil Libin and Cocoa Box founder Ben Zotto last Friday, and both are ecstatic about the marriage of the two firms. Both Evernote and Cocoa Box are located in the Bay Area, which made the acquisition even more convenient.

Phil noted that handwriting is about a quarter of all of the content on Evernote. Cocoa Box added Evernote integration to Penultimate in January, and many Evernote staffers use the app on a daily basis. Now that Penultimate is part of the Evernote family, it will be much easier for Ben and his team to add Evernote functionality.

One of the early benefits of the acquisition should be improved handwriting recognition. At this point in time, Penultimate users can send their handwritten notes to Evernote, where they're transcribed to editable text via picture-based handwriting recognition. Now Penultimate can be tweaked to capture handwriting stroke information and send it to Evernote for faster and more accurate recognition.

Ben mentioned that up until now, Penultimate has been a fairly self-contained piece of software. Plugging it into a system like Evernote will make the app a view into an Evernote world, bringing along such improvements as better search capabilities. He also noted that their plans include getting Penultimate onto more platforms; unfortunately, I neglected to see if the iPhone was one of those platforms.

Along with the many other apps that are part of the Evernote ecosystem -- Evernote Food, Evernote Hello, Evernote Clearly, Skitch, Evernote Web Clipper, Evernote Peek, and a growing number of third-party apps -- Penultimate adds to the overall usefulness of Evernote. Phil Libin once noted that he wants Evernote to last for at least one hundred years, and with tools like Penultimate added to the mix, that dream is getting more likely every day.

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Penultimate is the Fourth Best-Selling iTunes App of all Time in the US

Mountain View, CA – May 7, 2012 – Evernote, the company that's helping the world remember everything, today announced the acquisition of Penultimate, the most popular digital handwriting application for iPad, and the fourth best-selling iPad app of all time. The acquisition will allow Evernote to expand its handwriting capabilities, while also making Penultimate available on more platforms and devices.

"Digital handwriting has been around for decades, but it has never gone mainstream because the hardware and software simply weren't aligned. Thanks to Penultimate and the iPad, that's all changing," said Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote. "For the first time ever, writing on a tablet is really great, which is why we chose this moment to make the acquisition. We have big plans for Penultimate that will both enhance the app and bring more capabilities into Evernote. It's already the best handwriting app out there, and it's only just getting started."

The Penultimate app is designed to resemble a physical notebook. Individuals can use a finger or stylus to take notes wherever they like. The application allows users to choose from a variety of paper types, ink colors and line thicknesses. Notes taken in Penultimate can be saved directly to Evernote with a single tap.

"Technology often distances us from things that feel natural and human. With Penultimate, our goal was to use the most advanced tools to enable something that was at once powerful and familiar," said Ben Zotto, creator of Penultimate. "I'm thrilled to join the Evernote family. Their vision and expertise will help bring exciting improvements to Penultimate, and together we'll elevate the importance of handwriting within Evernote."

Penultimate is available for $0.99 from the iTunes App Store.

About Evernote
Evernote is helping the world remember everything by building innovative products and services that allow individuals to capture, find and interact with their memories. Evernote apps are available on all major computer, web, mobile, and tablet platforms. For more information, please visit:

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