The week in gadgets: Evernote makes Post-its digital, Samsung makes smartphones curvy

30 Sep 2013

Evernote Post-it Camera for iOS 7

A look at gadget happenings, as Samsung reveals when its first curved-display smartphone will arrive, Evernote teams up with 3M to put Post-its in the cloud, Apple speeds up its iMacs and Nest starts planning a new connected home-helper.

Digital Post-its

Evernote has teamed up with Post-it-maker 3M to digitise the tried-and-tested paper-based note. “Paper really is still the easiest way to write a thought down and remember it,” said Jesse Singh, vice-president of 3M’s stationery and office supplies division, speaking to The Wall Street Journal. “This partnership seemed an obvious choice for us for the brand.”

For Evernote, this partnership means working with one of its idols. “The Post-it is something we aspire to be,” said CEO Phil Libin. “They have been a hero product for us.”

3M produces about 50bn Post-it pads a year, not to mention the number of knock-off sticky notes out there. Now, with Post-it Note Camera in Evernote for iOS 7, note-takers will be able to capture images of these slips of paper and store them in the cloud.

Evernote 3M Post-it Tray

Evernote Post-it Camera (iOS 7)

Post-it Note Camera in Evernote for iOS 7 can recognise the colour of each captured note and take action

Evernote extracts and enhances the handwriting and stores the digital version in the user’s account for easy access anywhere. The new feature also recognises the colour of the note and uses this to take automated actions as per the user’s preferences. So, for example, you could write your shopping lists on pink Post-its and your appointments on lime green and Evernote will file the pink ones in the right notebook and add the tag ‘shopping’, while the green ones will automatically be stamped with a reminder.

This isn’t the first time Evernote has teamed up with an iconic note-taking brand, having previously partnered with premium notebook-maker Moleskine on the Evernote Smart Notebook. According to Evernote, this is only the beginning with Post-its and we can expect further blending of physical and digital note-taking in the future.

Samsung smartphones with curved display coming in October

At event launching the Galaxy Note 3 in Seoul, South Korea, Samsung’s mobile business head of strategic marketing DJ Lee said, “We plan to introduce a smartphone with a curved display in South Korea in October,” Reuters reported last week.  

Along with fellow South Korean manufacturer LG, Samsung is already known for its curved OLED TVs, but the question now is how this design will work in a device intended to live in your pocket. We’ve already seen prototype devices from Samsung demonstrating this, one with a flexible display and another with a display that extends around the curved edge of the handset, allowing for notifications to be read even with a cover obscuring the full screen.

Apple upgrades iMacs

Apple launched an improved range of iMacs last week with faster everything: processors, graphics, Wi-Fi and PCIe flash storage.

The latest configuration options include Intel’s faster, power-saving Haswell processors; up to 1TB of flash storage that’s up to 50pc faster than the previous version; and Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphics processors, which are about 40pc speedier than the previous generation and offer double the video memory.

For even stronger graphics performance, buyers can upgrade to Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4GB of video memory. Fusion Drive is also available, and is now up to 50pc faster, plus there are two Thunderbolt ports and four USB 3.0 ports for quicker connections all round.

All of this remains in the super-thin design for the iMac introduced last year, with either 21.5-inch or 27-inch displays.

Nest’s next bet is a smoke detector

Nest Labs, the clever company behind the Nest Learning Thermostat, could be moving onto a new device – a smoke detector.

Rumours began this week that the company is working on just such a device that could alert you via a subscription monitoring service whenever fire or smoke is detected. Tech reporter Jessica Lessin started the speculation with information from “people close to the start-up”.

Other features of the rumoured smart smoke detector include gesture controls so you can wave your hand to silence the alarm, and the ability to connect with the Nest thermostat. The latter could mean a longer battery life for the smoke detector, which wouldn’t need its own Wi-Fi chip. The helpful home gadget may also be able to detect carbon monoxide.

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.