Productivity software

Evernote CEO: We want to build hardware

The CEO of archiving service Evernote said his company will soon release branded hardware with partners, as it moves toward creating its own devices.

“We won’t actually do the manufacturing, but we’ll do the co-design together,” said Phil Libin, who spoke to IDG News Service on the sidelines of the New Economy Summit, a technology conference held Tuesday in Tokyo.

“Eventually, in a few years—three, four, five—I think we’ll be ready to do something ourselves.”

Evernote’s Phil Libin

Libin emphasized that the company aims to make devices that are “new and magical,” rather than entering an existing product category. Evernote already works with manufacturers to integrate its notetaking and archiving platforms into their products, which include scanners, cameras, and even blood pressure monitors.

Evernote was also one of the initial third-party applications announced for Google Glass, the search giant’s upcoming wearable computer due out this year.

He said Evernote will begin introducing two-factor authentication “probably in May,” along with other “user-visible” security changes. The company is eager to assuage user concerns after a hacking incident last month in which it said names, email addresses and encrypted passwords were compromised.

Libin said overall usage on Evernote is back to within 1.5 percent of where it was before the incident, though the company has yet to see some users return after it forced everyone to reset their passwords.

“People who were regular users all just came right back in, but people who maybe hadn’t logged in a few months, some of those haven’t come back in yet,” he said.

He said the company is not concerned with potential challengers to its platform, such as Google’s online scratchpad Keep or Microsoft’s OneNote. It will compete with such firms as it ramps up efforts to sell companies on a corporate, paid version of its services called “Evernote Business.”

“We’re not on defense. Our goal is not to prevent anyone from doing anything,” Libin said. “I think it’s pretty tough to duplicate what we have, but it’s certainly possible.”

Livin said his company could “get to profitability any time,” but is focused on expansion, especially overseas. The company has no plans to be acquired.

He said Evernote, like other companies, is trying to solve the problem of creating a new kind of application that works on many different types of hardware, rather than the current model of one app for each phone or computer.

“We’ve got all sorts of people really thinking hard about what is this new paradigm of apps that are across all devices, but are really just meant for you in your life.”

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