Hovernote: A floating app to boost notetaking productivity

Posted Aug 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm in Threads > Entertainment

If you’ve ever gone out and bought a keyboard for your tablet to try and boost your productivity with the thing, you may have found notetaking to be a bit restrictive. Of course, there are always apps like Evernote and Google Drive which are my go-to apps for their cloud capabilities.

Since Android tablets are such multipurpose, multimedia devices, it’s not unreasonable to have dozens of textbooks on there. In addition, there are so many online resources for almost anything you could imagine. If you’ve ever tried to take notes from either of these, however, you would find that it’s nigh-on-impossible with a tablet, even if you bought a keyboard. This is just one of the inherent limitations of a mobile platform as it is essentially a serial affair, displaying one app at a time.

That’s when I stumbled upon hovernote. Essentially, it’s a floating notetaking app.
Super useful!

Here’s me taking notes. As you can see, it floats on top of anything you have open. I use it to take notes from websites (as above), but mostly from pdf eBooks. The app has a fair bit of customisability. You can change the transparency of the window, window size and basic font choices. I haven’t really found a use for it yet, but you can also have multiple windows open. If you want it out of the way, you can minimise it to a floating onscreen icon, or it’ll just minimise to the notification tray until you need it again. It also has a nifty auto-save function, where it saves every time you press outside the app.

As you can see in my screenshot above, it has some basic bullet point functionality – if you start typing a line with an asterisk (*), it’ll auto-insert one to the next line if you press enter. It can deal with pressing tab too, and it behaves like you’d expect on a word processor. Unfortunately, it can’t deal with pressing tab with the asterisks. It’d be great if it could deal with sub-bullet points. Similarly, it has a numbering system going on too.

My favourite feature, though is this:
Sharing options

It has integrated a lot of different ways of syncing to the cloud and has almost anything you could want. Unfortunately, it’s still a one-way affair for now – I don’t know if it’s possible to ever get two-way sync, but that would be amazing. Also, the UI is a bit clunky. I feel like it needs a “home page” almost – a place where you can view and organise all the notes you’ve saved (they save as .txt files).

Things I like about hovernote:

  • It hovers! It’s such a simple concept and has multiplied the number of things I can do with it.
  • Resizable windows
  • Customisable transparency
  • Cloud sync
  • Basic bullet point support

Improvements I’d like to see:

  • More formatting options. I use bulleted lists a lot, so different levels of bullet points would be really useful
  • The UI could use a rehaul
  • Two-way sync (wishful thinking?)

Alternative option:
There is also an app called Floating Notes on the Play Store which does the same sort of thing. It has a slightly better interface, but more limited sharing and formatting options.

Final words:
Hovernote is exactly the app I’ve been looking for over the past year. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction. Besides, at 99 cents, it’s definitely worth checking out if you ever take notes on your device.

9/10 – Who even needs laptops anymore, right?


PS: Does anyone have any questions about the app? I mentioned notetaking from books/websites, but else would you use it for?

  • Walkop

    Sounds like a very interesting app. I like the transparency, especially – all those tweakable things make it stand out. Also, CLOUD SYNCING? I’ve never heard of that for a little note-taking app from a developer I’ve never heard of. Impressive!

    • Esoth

      Yeah you’re right… it’s usually the bigger, more expensive apps that bother to integrate cloud syncing. To be honest, I would’ve been happy with just Evernote and Google Drive, but apparently some people really want to share their notes on Facebook (who knows why…). Either way, I was blown away when I saw the huge number of options.

      Also, if anyone’s interested, Overskreen is a floating browser which is pretty good also. With Overskreen and hovernote, you could have two separate windows side by side, which is pretty nifty. I never thought this would be possible!

  • Cinpell

    Very excellent app, but it will better if it has built-in bar code scanner, I think.