As Apple gears up to announce the iPhone 6 and a possible iWatch, Evernote, the popular note taking app, is pinning much of its future success on the fast-growing wearables market.
The Silicon Valley-based archiving service started launching its mobile note taking apps on mobile platforms back in 2008 but the company, which has raised $225 million (£139 million) since its inception, is increasingly focusing its attention on wearable devices like Samsung Gear and Google Glass.
These new wearable apps sync with the user's phone, allowing users to view their recent notes and checklists on their smartwatch or a head mounted display. They also let users take photos using the devices' camera or record audio, which can be automatically uploaded to their Evernote account as a new note.
Senior software engineer and Evernote's lead wearables developer, Damian Mehers, told Techworld today that users increasingly want to access their information from anywhere via any device.
“We don’t want to duplicate the desktop or mobile experience,” said Mehers. “It’s really more about surfacing information to you based on your context. So [for example], when a meeting is about to happen it [the wearable device] can show you information about the people that you’ve taken notes on in the past."
Evernote on iWatch
If Apple does announce a much-anticipated iWatch this evening then it’s very likely that Evernote will have an app on the market by the time the device goes on sale, said Mehers. “If we didn’t do it there’d have to be a really good reason why not,” he said.
Commenting on the rumours around the iWatch, Mehers said Evernote could possibly build a wearable app that was able to lock a user’s account and interact with a wi-fi enabled set of weighing scales.
Analyst house Forrester predicts that Apple will dominate the wearables market in 2015 if it does announce an iWatch this evening.
"Apple will succeed where companies like Nike, LG, and Samsung have experienced spotty success," it said. “Those companies launched products. Apple will do what it does best and use its trusted relations with consumers and its second-to-none ecosystem and sell the wrist-based wearables category.”
Developing wearables software
Mehers said that building apps for wearables isn’t technically all that different to building apps for mobile.
“The Pebble was a little bit different in that it’s a very limited device in terms of its power,” he said. “There was a lot of kind of low-level coding of things that took quite a bit of ingenuity to get right.
“But generally it’s not so much a technical problem. It’s more thinking: ‘Why? What functionality do you expose? What makes a genuinely useful experience on a wearable device and not just something for the sake of it?’”
The majority of Evernote’s wearable software development currently takes place in Europe but the company does not have anyone working solely on wearable software development – they tend to focus on both mobile and wearables, depending on where the demand is, said Mehers.
Mehers revealed that he and his team have been able to utilise the code used to develop Evernote mobile apps to build wearables apps. “We’ve been able to piggyback on top of the existing Android apps,” he said. “It’s a nice way of doing it.”
The market for wearables hardware is expected to generate revenues of $53 billion (£32.91 billion) by 2019, according to analysts at Juniper Research.
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