Ina Fried

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Evernote Looks to Pen and Paper to Expand Its Digital Products

Evernote used its annual conference on Thursday to show off the usual array of updates to its signature apps and services. But its most significant announcements were a series of partnerships aimed at further bridging the digital and analog worlds.


The digital notetaking software maker partnered with 3M for a line of Evernote-compatible Post-It notes, and expanded a deal with notebook maker Moleskine. The company has already sold hundreds of thousands of the Moleskine notebooks, Evernote said. Now there will be a broader array of Moleskine products, including lower-cost journals.

“We realized that paperless is not the goal,” CEO Phil Libin said, kicking off the company’s EC3 conference in San Francisco. “Great experience is the goal. We want to eliminate the stupid uses of paper.”

But there are lots of good and convenient uses for paper that Libin said Evernote is better off augmenting than trying to replace. “Technology has a long way to catch up with that.”

Evernote also partnered with Austin-based Adonit on a better, finer-point stylus for those who want to take written notes on a phone or tablet. The Jot Script Evernote Edition will start shipping next month. Evernote is also partnering with Fujitsu’s ScanSnap unit on a $495 scanner that will take physical documents, scan and sort them, and put them directly into Evernote.

Evernote EC3

Evernote also branched a bit further afield, partnering with French designer Cote&Ciel on a backpack, and Japan’s Abrasus on a line of bags and wallets featuring the Evernote logo and brand.

“That’s right, we are a fashion brand now,” Libin said. “No one saw that one coming.”

The company is collecting all the products, from socks and T-shirts to the new backpacks and scanners, into an in-app and online store in its mobile and desktop apps.

For his part, Libin said he is trying to build a 100-year-start-up — that is, a company that will not only last for 100 years, but will still be a start-up in 100 years.

“Our goal is to make the world smarter,” Libin said. “The best you can say is we are off to a good start.”

Microsoft, Google and Apple are each also pursuing efforts to make their documents seamlessly move from device to device via the cloud, though each of their services tends to work best, and in some cases solely, on their own devices.

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle