App of the week: Simplenote


Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on notable apps you should check out.

If you missed last week’s feature on Hue Ball, a simple to learn but difficult to master game available on iOS, you can see what all the fuss is about here.

The app release schedule was a bit sparse this week, so I’ve decided to talk a bit about one of my favourite productivity apps.

If you’ve read the list Daniel wrote on his most essential apps (and if you haven’t, what are you doing? There are some great suggestions there), you’ll know that Evernote is one of the first apps he downloads on a new phone.

For my part, I’ve long had mixed feelings about Evernote. Ever since the company reworked its premium tier earlier in the year, I’ve found myself using it more often, but one nagging feeling pervades my all time with Evernote. In trying to be a note taking app that’s meant for everyone, Evernote, much to its detriment, tries to do too much. That was true when I first started using the app in 2009, and it’s true even now. However, that’s not a criticism you can level against Simplenote.

Unlike Evernote, which is defined by all the things that it can do, what characterizes Simplenote are all the things it cannot do. It doesn’t allow the user to take audio notes, embed photos or, for that matter, even format their text. But that’s exactly what makes it compelling to me.

Sometimes you simply have an idea that you need to jot down before it fades from your mind, and that’s a situation where features like formatting get in the way. Simplenote—excuse the word usage here—simply gets out of the way of the user and lets them write. That, I think, is praiseworthy.

However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s share of smart and well-implented features. Simplenote is available on the web and through its Android, iOS and Mac client, and it seamlessly syncs between all of them, meaning that your notes are never out of reach. Moreover, powerful tagging and search systems make it easy to find notes. Best of all, no matter how much you use the app, or how many text files you upload, Simplenote will remain free.

Download Simplenote from the iTunes App Store or Google Play store.