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OneNote Mobile November 22, 2005

Posted by Gary Slinger in microsoft.com, Technology.

OK, so, if the RIM/NTP lawsuit goes in favor of NTP, and RIM actually does have to close down US operations (getting more unlikely, given the recent brief filed in interest by the US DOJ), this might be enough to make me happier about moving to a Windows Mobile device again.

Enter OneNote Mobile. OneNote Mobile is your portable extension to OneNote that you get when you purchase OneNote. You install it on your Windows Mobile SmartPhone (this is semi-automatic so it is low hassle) and you’re good to go. A few weeks ago, David Siedzik, the program manager for OneNote Mobile showed it to the mobile devices MVPs who were on campus and actually got a standing ovation! Read on to find out why.

When we shipped the syncing feature for mobile devices in OneNote 2003SP1, we had a few constraints that limited us to simply one-way sync (device to PC). A big one was that the built-in note applet was not designed with OneNote in mind, so it couldn’t handle our data unless it were “dumbed down” to plain text more or less. We didn’t have dev resources then to build our own SmartPhone client so that limitation wasn’t going away. We also found that most people were interested in the “upload” scenario, although plenty were also interested in bringing their data with them. So we did the relatively cheap thing which let you take notes on your device and see them in OneNote.

OneNote Mobile goes way beyond that. It is a real note taking app for your mobile device. You can take text notes, voice record, or snap them with a camera. It has a cool picture viewer for navigating the image in detail.


  • Two-way sync
  • Note flags
  • Most formatting is transparent between OneNote and OneNote Mobile
  • Image pan and zoom
  • Photo note taking.   Merging the analog and digital worlds in Chris Pratley’s words, and expounded on some here.

No PocketPC version at the moment – there’s several “votes” for that functionality in the comments of the source post, so that may change – you never know.

I’m a satisfied Blackberry user, but I also make a lot of use of OneNote as part of my personal GTD methodology, using OneNote as a primary capture device during meetings, brainstorm sessions, and so forth.  Being able to use it in a mobile fashion…  That’d be useful.



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