Scribble me this: The uncertain future of note-taking apps

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The past few years have seen great options emerge for every type of note and style of note-taking. Word processors and sketching apps have bled into tools specializing in note organization (OneNote, Evernote, Joplin), tracking backlink relationships (Obsidian, Roam Research), aggregating research sources from the web and other documents (LiquidText, Flexcil), mind-mapping (LucidChart, MindMeister), whiteboarding (Miro, Mural), and others.

Amidst the blurred boundaries of these categories, freeform note-taking tools meld the spontaneity and flexibility of the pen and paper with digital capabilities that include selecting and moving sections of text, converting handwriting to text, and cross-device syncing. While the field has included several specialized devices (reMarkable) and paper-digital hybrids (Livescribe, Rocketbook), mainstream tablet platforms that relegated keyboards to an accessory have proved fertile ground for freeform note capture.

But pen input has faced a winding path across platforms. Apple brought pen input across the iPad line and gave handwriting-to-text a huge boost in iPadOS 14 with its Scribble feature[5], but doesn't support pen input on the iPhone. On Android and Chrome OS tablets, most business-focused products from Lenovo, Samsung, and HP support pen input; several of these brands support the Google-backed Universal Stylus Initiative[6] that appears slated for support[7] on Google's tablet market comeback play[8], the Pixel Tablet[9]. On the Android phone side, Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra has replaced the pioneering Galaxy Note while

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