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Evernote should make hardware

7th Jul 2011

I’m a big fan of Evernote. I’ve been an Evernote user for nearly 5 years (I used the early versions that weren’t cloud based, and had a very questionable UI). One of the great features is the ability to scan documents into Evernote, which are then searchable due to Evernote’s OCR capability). I don’t like clutter, so getting rid of the enormous amount of paper that seems to come through my letterbox each day is great. The problem I have is that getting this stuff into Evernote is still a bit of a chore.

My Use Case

When I get home, I pick up the mail, open it, and inevitably leave it on the kitchen worktop. My PC isn’t on as I’ve only just got in through the door, so I’m not about to turn it on just to scan a couple of letters. What I need is a solution that can be used in the kitchen and does not require a PC. As far as I can see, at this point in time such a solution does not exist. The Snapscan scanners support Evernote, but they require a PC.

My current solution

I currently use a HP TouchSmart all-in-one printer and scanner, and a piece of software called ScanDrop. It’s a good solution, but it does require my PC to be on.

My next solution

The closest (and cheapest) solution I have found is the Lexmark S605 All-In-One printer, you can pick them up new for around £80 (or less via eBay). This wireless printer/scanner can scan and send documents to your Evernote account without the need for a PC, it basically uses an app to email the scanned document into your Evernote account (See the Lexmark Blogpost here). It’s not a perfect solution, I’m not over-the-moon about having a printer in my kitchen, and I’ll never actually use the printer, I’ll just be using the scanner. What I really want is a similar solution, but without the printer, i.e. a wireless scanner that can send directly to Evernote, but, as far as I’m aware, such a solution does not exist.

My ideal solution

Personally I believe Evernote should make a dedicated document scanner, they’re obviously not in the hardware business, but such a device would give them a clear advantage over their competition. The scanner itself would have some very basic functions:

  • the ability to scan at around 300dpi
  • wifi
  • the ability to send emails to your Evernote account
  • a unique identifier (the MAC code could be used)
  • a scan button
  • a send button
  • a USB connector (used when initially setting up the wireless network credentials)

If the device sends a unique identifier along with the scanned document (such as the devices’ MAC address), your Evernote account could be configured to recognise the identifier and assign that document to your Evernote account. This greatly simplifies the requirements for the scanner, as the setup is basically done on the web via your Evernote account, rather than on the device, so a touchscreen on the device would not be required.

As well as giving Evernote an advantage over the competition it could also have an effect on Evernote’s bottom line. As I’ve said, I’m a big fan of Evernote, but I’m currently using their free service, which allows me to upload upto 60MB each month. If I had a scanning solution such as that described above I would end up scanning many more documents, and would have to pay for the premium service, which is something I would be happy to do if it meant less clutter!

From → Evernote

  1. With their clever OCR software you could just send them a scan of your handwritten email address and they could automatically register the scanner credentials with your account! 😉

  2. I’d actually considered something similar, but related to setting up the wireless network. It would be nice to remove the requirement for the USB connector (either a USB connector or a touchscreen would be required in order to setup the wireless network i.e. to pick the network, and enter the password). How cool would it be if the name of the network and the wireless password could be written or typed and then simply scanned?

    The scanner could come with a preprinted form, you simply enter the details for the wireless network on the form (and your Evernote account details, nice idea by the way, cheers) and then scan it. The form could come with some sort of unique identifier (a QR code for example) which the scanner could use to recognise the scan as a type of data entry, and not a simple image scan.

  3. Carolyn permalink

    This is pretty much what I am looking for as a means of remote stores in my business scanning and emailing documents to HQ without a computer. It’s over a year since your post – do you know if there have been any developments?

  4. As far as I’m aware the best solution is still one of the Lexmark printer/scanners, as they allow the user to scan and send to Evernote without requiring a PC. I now have 2 of these (Lexmark S605), both acquired via eBay, one for £40 and the other just £11. My long-term plan is to take one of them apart and try to separate the printer from the scanner, and maybe build the scanner into my desk, but it’s along-term plan (life is getting in the way).
    I guess that for many the new Evernote iPhone app is “good enough” i.e. they now have a “page mode” which aids with capturing images of documents. And for those who want to capture images of their own handwritten notes, the Whitelines app and paper offer a very good solution (I use this for work a lot)

    Hope this helps (I’d still prefer a dedicated Evernote document scanner though)

    Links: (you can download and print the paper)

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