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The Note Anytime virtual whiteboard app now supports handwriting recognition in 13 languages

I'm always amused when people say the iPad is really not a productivity tool. If it only allowed web browsing and email, it would greatly enhance my productivity. Of course, the iPad does much more than that and a case in point is the universal iOS app Note Anytime.

The app creates a whiteboard on your screen and lets you take notes, create graphics, insert photos / graphs, sketch and then share your work via email or social networks. I took a look at the app last year, and it has been substantially enhanced with new features and better sync tools across platforms. Users now also get 2 GB of free cloud storage.

In its latest version, Note Anytime adds handwriting recognition and predictive text in 13 languages, which is no small achievement. While Note Anytime is free, adding handwriting recognition in one language is US$7.99, and recognition in all 13 languages is $19.99. There are also some paid options for different bold inks and some templates. None of those options are required, and if you don't want handwriting recognition you can get along fine with the free version.

I find the handwriting recognition very valuable, but like all such software, it's not perfectly accurate and you have to get used to it. The app recognizes your handwriting input in real time, and presents a list of what it thinks you wrote. Just tap on the correct word or phrase if the software gets it wrong. I found using a really thin pen stroke gives the best results. You can use your finger or a stylus as a pen. Of course the app has a keyboard built in so you don't have to use handwriting recognition.

I can't cover all the great features in this app in an online review, but if you have an interest I'd suggest you take a look at the demo video on the developer website, or download the app and then give it a try. I found using Note Anytime on an iPhone was a bit cramped, but on an iPad it was a pleasure to use. I was easily able to create useful notes that go far beyond what I would be able to create on a piece of physical paper. Even web links or whole web pages can be imported.

The app gets very strong reviews from users. It requires iOS 5 or later, and is optimized for the iPhone 5.

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