Services & Software

Evernote unveils ambitions to build hardware devices

The CEO of the maker of the popular note-taking app appears ready to try his luck in a new product frontier.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin.
Stephen Shankland/CNET
Evernote has enjoyed great success developing note-taking software. Now Chief Executive Phil Libin is broadly hinting that the company's ambitions include taking a big step beyond software.

In an interview with the IDG News Service in Tokyo, where he was attending a conference, Libin, who obviously knows how to grab a headline, did not offer many more details. He said the company does not plan to do the manufacturing itself but would codesign the still-mysterious product (or products.)

"Eventually, in a few years -- three, four, five -- I think we'll be ready to do something ourselves," he said, adding that Evernote would focus on manufacturing devices that are "new and magical," rather than entering an existing product category.

But there's a long road between now and that still-hazy future, and it's unclear whether Evernote's plans will revolve around something along the lines of what HTC is doing with Facebook Home. It's a large ambition and one that's not easy to navigate, as Microsoft, perhaps the biggest software company to try that path, can attest. As happenstance would have it, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, speaking Tuesday during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call, deflected a question about whether Yahoo would try something similar to Facebook Home -- "as for the question around the more immersive experiences and all-encompassing experiences on mobile devices, we don't have anything to announce there at this time and we would like to offer our praise to Facebook. We think it was a very nice idea and a great product."

A move into hardware wouldn't be an entirely radical move as Evernote already works with Moleskine on a notebook tailored to work with the company's software.