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With Its New Mobile Scanning App, Evernote Is Trying To Transcend Paper

Scannable is entering a crowded category, but it’s clever, simple, and useful.

With Its New Mobile Scanning App, Evernote Is Trying To Transcend Paper
[Scanner Photo: Glovatskiy via Shutterstock]

Open Evernote’s new Scannable app, point it at a document, business card, or receipt, and plop, it instantly creates a digital scan ready to be sent to a number of different locations–including an Evernote account. The free app, announced back in October, is now officially available in the iOS App Store.

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Not only do a lot of scanning apps already exist, such as Scanbot, but a fair amount of them already send data directly to Evernote. With Scannable, Evernote is trying to skip the conventions of the category and figure out what you want to do with that piece of paper, quickly.


Beyond just sending scanned data to an array of sources–from Evernote to your iPhone’s Camera Roll to cloud-storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive–Scannable also employs a healthy dose of delight. “One thing that it does, which is sort of a really magical experience, when you take a picture of a business card and connect to LinkedIn, it instantly becomes a full, rich, LinkedIn contact complete with picture,” says Andrew Sinkov, vice president of marketing at Evernote.

That “it just works” magic is also present when you use the app with the Evernote-branded ScanSnap scanner sold in the company’s physical goods market. Instead of having to go through the process of connecting a multiuser office scanner to lots of computers or devices, the ScanSnap will send scanned paper right to the person’s phone when paired with Scannable–no setup necessary.

Even though there’s a link to buy a ScanSnap inside the app, Evernote’s objective with Scannable wasn’t to sell more hardware, Sinkov says–though he adds that the company isn’t opposed to the possibility.


There’s no real setup involved with the app. In fact, you don’t even have to connect to an Evernote account if you choose not to, although if you don’t, you’ll lose features such as text recognition in pictures.

Evernote’s goal with this app doesn’t seem to be trying to compete with other mobile-scanning developers. Instead, it’s just trying to build out one of its core competencies. In this case, that’s data scanning and parsing. Beyond existing features such as business-card-scanning, Sinkov hinted that other types of data would get special treatment in the future. For instance, it’s easy to imagine the app automatically picking out dollar amounts in receipt scans and keeping a running tally for expense purposes.

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Even with all the attention to detail it shows, Scannable isn’t revolutionary. What it does do nicely is to help expand on Evernote’s dominance in the information-collecting space and put emphasis on the content, rather than the piece of paper.

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About the author

Tyler Hayes is a Southern California native, early technology adopter, and music enthusiast. You can reach him at tyler@liisten.com

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