Evernote for BlackBerry Review

CrackBerry Idol - Yousif
By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Jul 2010 10:44 am EDT
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Review of Evernote Application for BlackBerry Smartphones

With the growing desire to capture information and access it later in a simple manner, a problem yet to be solved has come up: organization. Organizing our digital lives can be a tough procedure, but thankfully many services are available out there to help us take control of our data. Evernote is one of them, which makes note-taking simple and intuitive. Evernote allows you to create text notes, take snapshots, record audio notes and upload files. Once synchronized with the Evernote server, you may access your notes wherever you are and whenever you need them. With a Web interface and applications available for the PC and Mac as well as BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Palm webOS, Evernote has you always covered. But how well does the BlackBerry application perform? Read on to find out!

Setting up

Evernote for BlackBerry

Evernote for BlackBerry is available on BlackBerry App World, which currently is the only official method for retrieving the application. This practically makes Evernote for BlackBerry out of reach for many of us, who otherwise can not or are not willing to use BlackBerry App World. Previously the application could be obtained as an OTA (over-the-air) download from links provided in a blog post in the official Evernote blog: http://blog.evernote.com/2009/05/12/blackberry-direct-download/. After trying the download link provided in the aforementioned blog post, my BlackBerry device came back with an 404 HTTP error request. I took the liberty to contact Evernote about this and here is the response I received from them:

"Yousif,

Currently Evernote Blackberry is only supported on various carriers. If you don't have access to Appworld, or our program does not show in Appworld (or shows, but does not offer a download option), this means your phone or carrier are not on the supported list.

We have found that if you are on an unsupported carrier, or using an unsupported phone, there is little chance our current offering will operate for you.

You should still be able to access your notes on the BB browser by signing in at www.evernote.com.

As always, Premium users can request a direct download link; however, we will be unable to provide any real support, and it is unlikely to work 100%. We will continue to expand our supported carriers in time, and hope we can support your setup in the future.

Thanks,

Evernote Support"

Giving it a second thought I came to the conclusion that there is no technical reason for Evernote to take down the OTA download option. After investigating a little I found this rather interesting reply to a thread in the Evernote User Forum posted by an Evernote employee: http://forum.evernote.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=15454&p=64339#p69760. It turns out that Evernote for BlackBerry may be obtained OTA and unsupported simply equals no technical support. These findings clash with the claims in the e-mail I received from Evernote Support. Nevertheless whether BlackBerry App World or OTA download, installation is simple and setting up an account for Evernote takes only a few steps.

Interface and usability

The application features a very clean and nice user interface. Not only easy on the eyes, but getting around the application is easy too. Once authenticated with the Evernote server, the application will present a home screen with the options to create a text note, take a snapshot, record an audio note and upload a file. At the bottom there also is a search function to be found for searching existing notes using keywords. The menu is simple and allows one to quickly access important features such as recent and pending notes. On top of this there is Wi-Fi connectivity along with GPS support for geotagging notes.

Evernote for BlackBerry

My experience was not that joyful, though. Disappointingly some of the more important functions launch the BlackBerry Browser and direct one to the Evernote mobile interface. In addition to this, the audio note recorder and file upload function refused to work on my BlackBerry Storm2. All these issues really left me wondering as to why Evernote have released a partially functioning application to the public. On the bright side it seems that Evernote are aware of the issues and are working on a complete overhaul of the BlackBerry application. Hopefully it won't take long before we see an updated application addressing the issues I experienced.

Closing thoughts

Evernote as a platform is excellent, but on the BlackBerry front has little to bring on the table. I was vastly disappointed with the way the application performed on my BlackBerry. I really hope Evernote will correct the issues in the current application and integrate all the features into the application (i.e. without directing the user to the Evernote mobile interface through the BlackBerry Browser). In addition to this it seems that BlackBerry users have been left behind lacking offline viewing and note editing capabilities; both features available on competing mobile platforms.

I have been looking for alternatives to Evernote and could not come up with anything that was either better or supported as many platforms as Evernote. One possible alternative I found was to use social networking sites. Although limited to 140 characters, I found Twitter to be quite handy for quickly jotting down some notes or creating shopping lists for example. This approach does not come without limitations, though: the increased complexity in separating private and public information and the nature of the service itself not intended for note-taking in the first place make it a rather poor performer in the field. Maintaining a personal blog could also be a viable alternative to Evernote.

To sum it all up my expectations were not met and if I had to rate the application, I would give it two out of five stars only, which I believe given the current state of the application is fair. However, I would be more than happy to give Evernote a second chance and make this review anew once an updated and better application for the BlackBerry platform is available.

Pros

  • Clean, nice user interface

Cons

  • Poor functionality
  • Relies on the BlackBerry Browser
  • No "official" OTA download

** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **

Reader comments

Evernote for BlackBerry Review

22 Comments

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): Nicely done Yousif. Cool how you upped the ante by going with a two video concept - one with your closing thoughts and one with the walk through. The app obviously needs some work... but let's see what the judges think of your review.!

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: I love reading reviews that really take it to apps and your review was honest and didn't pull punches, so I had some fun with this one, dawg. I didn't have fun with your videos, though - both were too long on their own and together were way too long. Tighten it up and script a video that's much shorter next time.

Georgia: Really enjoyed watching your video, there was something refreshing watching you speak and I appreciated your frankness on the application. You have a smooth speaking voice and covered the applications functionality well. Nice work! I enjoyed reading the review as well, I feel that often a reviewer is overly positive and hearing about an applications downfalls is something I appreciated. I really hope you are with us for more of the competition, great job!

Craig: The 2 videos were a bit long together. I think that the second video showing the app was great. The first one was OK. I understand why you wanted to talk about it separately but I'm not sure it works for reviews. Your blog post was well written and I think accurately concluded that the BlackBerry version of this product is junk. I too hate it when apps just spawn the web browser!

Thank you for your comments, all of you. I have to admit I did not push myself beyond my limits in this one. I believe it is better if the community gets to see what I am able to do on a regular basis.

I took the risk with the dual video concept, because often times I have a hard time finding the information I need when watching someone else's video. Therefore I decided to make the walkthrough for the crowd who want to see the application in action and made the other video presenting my thoughts on the application for those who want to know what I, as the reviewer, think of the application.

I try to deliver the information the community wants, unbiased. If there are flaws in an application, I will point them out. If something feels unnatural to me, I will and you can bet on it, I will investigate and do research. I want to provide the answers before the community gets to ask them. That is what I tried in my review. After all everyone benefits from this; both the developers and the community. Nothing makes developers open their eyes more than the truth. No matter how cold it may be.

Thank you all for your support and I hope to be able to contribute more to CrackBerry in the future. I am afraid this was my last entry to CrackBerry Idol however, because I indeed am soon going to visit my family in Iraq for a few weeks. Everyone have a nice time and thank you again for the kind words!

I have to agree with the judges that the two videos was a little overkill. I did like hearing your views separately (although it could have been added to the walk-through and been shorter). The photographer in me was hating the fact that you had the sun to your back and no front lighting. It made for a nice background, but your face was in the dark, making it hard to see you.

I felt that the written review needed the video walk-through to be complete. The walk-through was good, pointing out the features and flaws. I think the app got the tearing into that it well deserved. The fact that it is such a large-sized app that mainly access the web browser is definitely a flawed design. I hope Evernote takes a look at this and considers it a serious review. I wish their response was more customer service based and gave more hope to having a better BlackBerry application.

I would love to see you review reQall for contrast and comparison.

The funny fact is...

Evernote was indeed available to all carriers/coutries at some point and not that long ago, they changed that.

It didn't interest me back then but I recently decided to try it again. I can thanks to The BlackBerry Detective!

I could upload a picture but after that all other notes simply stopped uploading. I gotta agree... This app is not worthy the trouble as it is now...

I've been hearing a lot about EverNote, and you gave me the information needed to make my decision (no, for now). And I liked that you're using a Storm 2, since that's what I'm on.

For now, I'll stick to keeping my notes in the WordPress app, which works great. With my blog set to private, and using categories and tags, it does the job fine.

Good luck in the cbidol contest!

Yousif, I enjoyed your written review. The opening paragraph was engaging and prompted me to read further... Until I watched your videos. Both were the long and not truly helpful if I were new to this app.
Otherwise, great job! Maybe we'll see you in the next round. Best wishes.

I've been using Evernote for over a year. When I switched to a Blackberry 3 months ago I found the unsupported version and installed it. I have had no problem uploading notes or pictures I am disappointed that it opens a browser to search for notes and you can't edit them. I hope they solve this soon.

i don't know about the rest of you but i found the guys english a barrior to be able to follow him and i zoned out after 10 seconds. I don't think he is crackberry material. It is not his fault but a crackberry reviewer must be able to keep his audiance interested and not change the channel on them!

I find the above poster's comments intolerable. Just because I happen to be middle class and white and a native-born English speaker does not mean the rest of the world has to be! Let us not have our intolerance be a BARRIER (you spelled it incorrectly btw) to being open-minded to people of all walks of life for Crackberry is made of all human beings of all AUDIENCES (you spelled that wrong, too!) And YES, I AM a teacher; you can thank me later!

Happy Freedom Day! Freedom to say and be what you'd like, America, and all those who believe in democracy!

That's a fair bit of an overreaction you had there. He said that he couldn't follow you. How does that make him intolerant? If I don't understand someone's accent in public, I ask them to repeat themselves. You can't ask a video review to clarify. So am I intolerant because I ask someone to clarify or repeat themselves? Sorry, the ethnicity/gender/country of origin card doesn't fly well with me. The whole intolerance thing is so overused as a defense mechanism.

None of this even matters since you stated that you won't be continuing on the competition anyway.

First of all, good review. The videos may be a little long, but I am thankful for the change of pace in an app review.
To the person above...
Please take the time to read, or re-read maybe even. You addressed the person above you as if they were Yousif. Had you read all of the comments, you'd have seen the second one was from him. If any of the things you mentioned "don't fly with you." perhaps it is a good thing people can tolerate you and you should try to take a page from their books. I'll be the one to tell you that you may not be intolerant, but I find your comments both intolerable and ignorant. In this case "intolerance" was not used as a "defense mechanism" at all. So who is the one having the overreaction here?

Thank you redheadincognito, as you seem to have been able to read AND comprehend what I was trying to say. not only does Mike above have trouble with overreaction, he had trouble with comprehension. Whatever, I am not slinging mud here, the purpose of my original post was to say, as human beings, shouldn't we give EVERYONE a chance to prove themselves, even if they don't speak English as well as we would believe we ourselves do? (Oh and by the way, many of the people who post on Crackberry haven't mastered the English language very well either. How do I know? Oh yeah, I'm a teacher. Remember? An ENGLISH teacher...LOL!)

First off, my apologies to Yousif. I did mistake the comment and that was my fault for not double checking (I love my berry, but it's tough to browse comments/message boards on it sometimes.)

Now as for my earlier comment, I still stand by the majority of it. It was one person's opinion that they could not understand the speaker well. Notice that he continually used "I" in his sentences, indicating his own opinion. He wasn't being intolerant, he just couldn't understand the speaker. jaydee, your reaction still wasn't warranted in my opinion, but i respect your opinion.

redheadincognito: your attempted pithy jabs fell short. To err is human. You recognized my error, and pointed it out, but then chose to follow up with a worthless rant.

My "attempted pithy jabs." were nothing more than my own opinion on your comment, just like the person you originally were defending had an opinion on Yousifs review. We can certainly agree to disagree though. Have a good day.

All the things Yousif said are true and this was a good review.

Having said this, I would also say that I also am a dedicated iPhone user (leaning more towards my iPhone these days) as well as a big Blackberry user (my business for self communication device).

To continue, I do find the limitations on the BBerry unfortunate but this app works seamlessly on the Apple platforms and updates immediately with my PC and therefore, I am still a dedicated user of this app.

I would say that I find the development of BBerry apps is woeful compared to Apple and I think this must have to do with RIM just as much as the developers and probably goes a long way to explaining the growth of the iPhone platform and the relative stagnation of the BBerry.

I loved the twist of the two videos, but I thought this review sounded like a review I would read on somebody's personal blog or as customer feedback at an online store.
It's not the kind of review I would come to expect from a commercial blog like Crackberry.

I think good reviews can include personal opinions, but I think objectivity should be the priority. Tell the reader and viewer what the app does, what are it's pro and cons, and then share your personal feedback in a section of the review. Bias, or a one-sided opinion of the product, is the liability of a bad review, in my opinion. I don't use the same phone as you. I may not have the same needs as you do in what I want the app to do. So, you can't assume that what you didn't like about the app is what everybody will hate about it. If certain features that the product does well is good enough for a select readership, Evernote is going to be a popular app among that said readership. So, your review should be objective and not full of bias.

Your introduction video was hard to understand because of your accent, lighting, and perhaps distance from the mike. It was a little distracting with the flag, because the viewer may be trying to guess which country that is instead of listening to you. However, I did like your hand gestures as you gave an overview of the product and it availability on other platforms. I thought what you had to say was good except that it just came across like personal bias.

Your second video was pretty good. I think you backed up what your feelings were about the app. You showcased the menus well and your written review was a good read. It's sad to hear that you may drop out of the competition, but if you ever get a chance to contribute to the blog in the future, I would hope that you can be more objective in your presentation.

at the end of the end he securd himself a spot in not moving up :P

how do i know this? (Oh yeah, I'm a teacher. Remember? An ENGLISH teacher...LOL!)

Program just hangs when loading on my Bold. A search of the net comes up with a few others that are having the same problem.

Looks like you put a lot of time in doing this review, I'm always looking for Apps to play with, unfortunately I'm kinda of an apphole, I thank you for saving me the time to try this one on my own I wont bother with it looks like its too buggy still. Good luck to you .