THE VERDICT:

Handwriting recognition will become an in-app purchase and will not stand in the way of normal note taking tasks.

Thank you very much for your comments !!!

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UPDATE:

We’ve decided to use the handwriting recognition engine from Vision Objects instead. You can try out the engine in the MyScript Memo app from the App Store! The simple reason is it’s much more accurate.

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Hi everybody,

I just signed a contract with PhatWare to use their handwriting recognition engine (WritePad SDK) in Notes Plus (press release: http://prmac.com/release-id-20763-search-notes+plus.htm). I have to pay $2.00 royalty for each license. They recommend including their WritePad SDK as a $2.99 in-app purchase (just like Underscore Notify did). I have a different opinion.

I look at handwriting recognition technology not just as something cool to convert handwriting to digital text. It must transfer to some value, searching for handwriting text, for example. Ultimately, I want to use it to understand what users handwrite on the iPad. For example, if one writes :11 / 3 = ? , I should be able to understand that he want to calculate that expression. Or if he writes: -> http://www.google.com, I should be able to understand that he wants to look at the web page.

To implement those kinds of intelligence, the handwriting recognition has to go hand in hand with the app. It doesn’t make much sense for the app WITHOUT the handwriting recognition. I’m thinking of having it as part of the app, not as an optional in-app purchase. There are three problems with that.

First, as some wise business man would say: you have 100K users (by the time I release this handwriting recognition update) who you could sell to. Why giving out things for free when people are willing to pay for it?

Second, I have to increase my app price . The higher the price, the harder I can sell the app. Plus, I cannot have $1.99 sale anymore because I would lose money.

Third, I’m not sure if PhatWare would agree with my decision to give their WritePad SDK to 100K users for free.

On the other hand, I still want to do it for two reasons:

First, these first 100K users are very important to me not only because of their feedbacks and suggestions but also because of their referrals. I don’t have publicity from Apple, MacWorld, TechCrunch, or TUAW. I only sell my app via referrals. I must make these 100K users happy.

Second, I do want to make Notes Plus a killer app.

So to all of my wise users, please give me advise.

Viet

Jan 19, 2011