Wednesday, December 3, 2014

MyScript Smart Note (Android App)

When I first acquired my Samsung Note2, I thought I would be able to take handwritten notes on it in full screen like a tablet. Turns out that the best it could do was use sticky-note-sized area to write notes that were not transferable to editable text. Alternately, using the Samsung keyboard with the SPen I could write on a space at the bottom of the screen and it would immediately convert it to typewritten text within the text input area of several apps. For example, within an email, there are fields for recipient, subject, and body of an email. Within each of those text areas, depending on which was the current selection, when I start writing at the bottom of the screen (the area reserved for the Samsung keyboard), it would immediately convert what I wrote to typewritten text.

Lastly, there is an option, but only within some apps, that opens up a scripting window and permits several lines of text to be handwritten. This is a feature only found on the Samsung Note devices. But its implementation is limited and again the screen area is very small. So I bought myself the Samsung Note Pro 12.2 thinking that it would provide a larger input area. Yes and no. The area is only slightly larger and the ink size is correspondingly larger so that it is a “wash,” (no benefit). What I wanted was a full-screen entry area akin to a typical sheet of paper.

Enter MyScript Smart Note. I had seen iterations of this app on the Play Store for years but disregarded it because I thought I already had the functionality that it was bringing to the table. Turns out I was wrong. It brings exactly what I’ve been missing--full screen editing. One benefit for non-Samsung Note users is that the app is useful to them as well.Although using a finger as a stylus is possible, if you don’t already have one, I’d recommend getting a stylus if you want to use this app.

Besides full screen input, MyScript Smart Note provides very intuitive editing motions for inserting, joining and deleting text. If you buy the full version (under $3) you can add pages, add workbooks and more. Although the videos the company provides show many of the editing functions, it is more geared as a marketing video than a tutorial. In the right top of the app’s screen is a three-dot icon. Tap that and then tap help to get the full in-app tutorial with detailed explanations.

To be clear, MyScript Smart Note does not becoming another keyboard usable in other apps. It provides a full screen input area within itself. The text can later be copied and pasted into any other app. The document itself can also be exported to PDF. There are other features such as drawing and inserting pictures that I didn’t cover here.

As an ending note, my first app from this company was its calculator. With it, the user can hand write any formula and it is not only converted to typed text but it formula is resolved to whatever the result would be. For example, if you write “2 + 2” and wait just a moment, the app will display “2 + 2 = 4.” I find this much more intuitive and easier than using a 10-key calculator and I actually have known how to touch-type (without looking) on a 10-key since my teens. (My father was an accountant and taught me.)

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