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Microsoft is also opening the floodgates to third parties to use OneNote via APIs

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Notepad and Wordpad have long felt a little long in the tooth, lacking dedicate support for features like autosaving and cloud backup.  One option, of course, was to turn to third-party apps, but Microsoft had its own beefed up notes app; OneNote.  The only problem was that you generally needed an Office suite license or an Office 365 subscription to access OneNote.

I. OneNote Goes Freemium

That's about to change.  Microsoft announced this week that it will be offering a slightly downgraded version of OneNote for both Windows and Mac users, via the platforms' respective app stores.  The new app will reportedly lack a handful of power user/enterprise features, such as Sharepoint support and Outlook integration.

Clearly Microsoft was feeling the heat from sleek competitors like Evernote.

Here's how the new free Mac version looks...

OneNote for Mac

And as a refresher, here's how the Windows version (now free) looks...

OneNote for Windows

It should be interesting to watch whether the rest of Office gets shifted to such a Freemium model, one which Stephen Elop reportedly advocated when he was campaigning to become CEO of Microsoft (Servers boss Satya Nadella instead received the nod).

In related news, Microsoft also announced it would be releasing an API for third-party apps to integrate OneNote.

OneNote API apps

Japanese printing and scanning giants Brother Industries, Ltd. (TYO:6448) and Seiko Epson Corp. (TYO:6724) are among the early adopters to put forth OneNote enabled apps.  News clipping apps such as Weave News and News360 also added support, as did Doxie Scans, an app that looks to turn your mobile devices into portable scanners.  A full list of Microsoft-featured OneNote API-enabled apps can be found here.

II. Office Lens, Office Clipper Make a Splash

Microsoft also announced a slick new Windows Phone app called "Office Lens" which interfaces your Windows Phone with your global OneNote account.  It allows you to snap photos, which you can enhance using cloud processing. It also offers optical character recognition technology that allows your phone to literally "see" text via its camera, which can then be inserted into OneNote entries.

Office Lens

Here's a view of the app in action...

Office Lens in action

...and a demo video from Microsoft:

Microsoft also offered a handy tool called OneNote Clipper that makes it easier to copy and paste entire webpages (particularly news articles) into a OneNote entry.

Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android and Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS include third-party OCR support from various app makers, but this looks like one of the most tightly integrated and efficient OCR apps available on the market -- definitely a boost for Windows Phone.

Sources: Microsoft [1], [2]

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RE: Thrilled
By Imaginer on 3/21/2014 3:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
Surface? Possibly, if the next one can have an AMD or Intel Bay Trail like solution - thus still keeping the RT side of software (since RT apps work just as well in x86 Windows 8) and the added benefit of previous desktop applications in places like Windows 7. It isn't a hard process to migrate over from since if you have an RT solution, getting a full Windows 8 solution would mean you gain a software working space.

Surface Pro and Pro 2? You are crazy to think such a product like this should go away in my opinion (unless you do not have one and saying it out of spite).

Both the Surface and Surface Pro adopted a new device paradigm in their cover systems that keeps the components in the screen - while boldly eliminating components in the keyboard. I have not seen any other PC OEM do this (most of them use detach tablet with a dock that cannot fold back completely, mechanical hinges to keep the light keyboard and port dock solid, the hinge mechanism not allowing full fold back of the tablet section (which is understandable) or keep the laptop model but have a 360 degree hinge).

Not to mention, tablet PCs (before the Samsung ATIV and Surface Pro up to this point) settled on a swivel hinge design, and maintained the usual laptop chassis for the keyboard and components.

It isn't noticeable since you can get after market bluetooth keyboards and folios... but would be as thick as the cover system in the Surface Pros with a wireless connectivity concern. A pure tablet in one of those things (in computing and software loadouts) can't compare.

Lets not forget that little thing called the pen that pretty much is what some Tablet PC prospects want in drawing, notes, diagramming, painting, and such. Because buying that separate Cintiq display (or a USB digitizer that has a disconnect from the screen to pen - to a laptop) is still a spaghetti solution.

Even if you do have a capacitive stylus, it is still registering a point and tablet capacitive displays aren't pressure sensitive. Meaning strokes aren't as "pen" like.

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