Paper product companies know they are limited by paper. Software companies know they are limited by electrons. But notebook maker Moleskine and cloud-based note and document-storing service Evernote think they’ve found a way to bridge those limitations in a collaborative product that offers the best of both worlds.
The Moleskine Smart Notebook doesn’t look different than a regular ‘ole Moleskin notebook. They are sold with either ruled or grid pages, but each version also has dotted lines on the pages that, according to the companies, optimiz the words or images on the pages for digital image capture.
If you’ve written or sketched something you’d like to digitize, you simply open the “Page Camera,” feature in Evernote’s iOS app (sorry, Android users). Page Camera enhances contrast and removes shadows. The digital image is then uploaded to the user’s Evernote account.
Once digitized, Evernote’s software is designed to recognize the words and make them searchable. Testers at CNET’s Crave blog had some trouble with this, but Evernote said they hadn’t waited long enough for the servers to synch up the data. (Hmm.)
The notebook also comes with stickers with printed icons that, when placed on the pages of notes or images that are photographed, help the user search for them within their Evernote account.
The collaborative product is clearly a good idea for both companies. Buying the notebook gives the consumer a three-month Evernote Premium subscription — well, the consumer pays for that in the $24.95 price tag for the notebook, which is $15 higher than a traditional Moleskine notebook of the same size.
Evernote and Moleskine are hoping that just before the three-month subscription lapses, the consumer will be ready to buy her next Smart Notebook, which automatically renews the service for another three months. And so on.
Evernote announced the new product on Friday, when it also made clear that it won’t seek an initial public offering until 2015 at the earliest. Facebook’s lame stock performance has everything to do with that reticence to go public, reports Bloomberg.
But Evernote also has a major business transition to accomplish before it becomes viable in the long term. It needs to get more of its 955 million users from free to pay-based accounts. The Smart Notebook is one small step in that direction, and one that will likely gain at least a little traction among designers, writers and artists that wouldn’t be caught dead without out their Moleskine notebook in one hand and their iPhone in the other.