PhatWare announced this week the release of its handwriting-recognition, note-taking software, WritePad 5, for iPhone. That alone isn't groundbreaking news. But there's an interesting tidbit in the software's feature list: the fact that it offers synchronization services with note-taking and memory-keeping app Evernote.
The latest WritePad also cooperates with Facebook Dropbox, Google Docs, iTunes, SMS services, and Twitter clients. It's one of a growing generation of unrelated apps that allow interaction with third-party software. WritePad, PhatWare's top selling app (according to its own stats), was developed entirely independently of and its other sync companions. But the separate developers allow cross access to their software to make both more appealing to users.
If you consider that we're still in the early days of app development--as what we think of as apps didn't exist just a few years ago--this open, co-development philosophy is a new software experience for consumers. We never would have seen similar kumbaya in the earlier days of computer software. Competitive software packages like Microsoft Word or the old Wordperfect wouldn't have acknowledged their rival's existence, let alone have cooperated with it. QuarkXPress and Pagemaker would have burned down each other's HQs before looking to swap features on the fly.
It'll be interesting to see where this future takes us. How willing will app makers be to extend a hand across the desk and make everything work together? Will we see the development of super apps that handle multiple major functions that make multiple apps obsolete? Could we one day own a smartphone or tablet with just one Joshua/Forbin Project super app that does everything, including launching international missiles? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, for those willing to settle for Writepad for now, it also offers an improved handwriting-recognition engine that converts handwriting into editable text by reading inline gestures, analyzing word context, and decoding shorthand. WritePad 5 is available in English, French, German, and Spanish versions and sells for $3.99.