Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Experience with OneNote on Smart Phones

OneNote is my favorite Microsoft productivity program. I would like to say that I have had a lot of experience with Microsoft's OneNote on mobile devices, particularly on smart phones. Unfortunately, I have just about no experience with OneNote on smart phones.

I have been using OneNote on Windows desktops and laptops for well over four years. I've used both OneNote 2007 and OneNote 2010. OneNote was the program that convinced me to move from taking notes from simple text files. I had been taking notes that way since around 1989. Generally speaking, I'd rather have access to OneNote than Word, Outlook, or even Access (the database program).

I think that OneNote is the worst-marketted product in Microsoft's stable. People just don't know about it.

Two years ago, I was  using a Nokia E71 smart phone and awaiting the first modern Windows Phone devices. My expectation was that I could run OneNote on my smart phone and seamlessly edit my notes on my phone, the Microsoft Live web site or the OneNote 2010 installed on my laptop. I carry my phone everywhere. I could have all of my notes with me at all times.

Then I found out that OneNote on Windows Phone wouldn't fully support everything that the Windows edition of OneNote does support. The features that wouldn't be supported were a little mysterious. Which of my notes would not be viewable on my smart phone? I couldn't tell. This was my first disappointment with OneNote.

Within the week, I bought an Android smart phone, a Motorola XT710. I subsequently moved the vast majority of my notes to EverNote or Google Docs. Now, I have over 1200 notes stored in EverNote and I use it nearly every day for both work and personal data. I started this blog entry in EverNote and finished it off in blogger's editor. These days, I spend more time with EverNote than any other software, except for a web browser.

When I heard that there would be an Android version of OneNote, I was again hopeful. Shortly thereafter, I learned that the version of Android on my Motorola XT701 ("Eclair") was not supported by OneNote, due to the age of that version of Android. This was my second disappointment. I sent OneNote back to the bottom of the pile of things to try.
So, as of last Saturday, I have a new, modern Samsung Galaxy Nexus smart phone with the latest version of Andorid (Ice Cream Sandwich, patched to 4.0.4). I thought that there would be no reason to not at least give OneNote a try. I hopefully installed OneNote on my new smart phone. OneNote allowed me to enter my LiveID and then it crashed. I restarted it and it crashed again. Restart. Crash. I don't think I've seen any other Android program crash like this. This is my third disappointment.

I don't see many other smart phone users with this problem, though I can't imagine what I am doing that they are not. I haven't had time to gum up the phone with lots of strange apps. Perhaps my phone is too new; it has only be around for seven months. For the time being, I intend to keep the app on my phone and see if it gets any updates.

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