Bamboo Paper is an app released by Wacom in 2014, presumably to promote their Bamboo series of capacitive pens. It features 6 pens, 3 of which need to be unlocked via in-app purchases. Notes are stored in the proprietary WILL format, and can only be synced to Wacom’s own Inkspace cloud service. Otherwise, backing up notes involves exporting each notebook manually to PDF.
Due to these restrictions, I don’t use it that often to actually take notes. However, I can’t think of a single note taking app that I enjoy as much.
It’s not because of the minimalist interface, or the satisfying action of the pressure-sensitive brushes and pens, though I love both of those things. Only recently have I realized what draws me to this app.
Notebooks in Bamboo Paper have the same size as your device’s display. When you rotate the device, the UI rotates, but the notebook itself remains in the same orientation relative to the device. Zooming in is possible, but unwieldy, and you can’t zoom out beyond 100%.
All these limitations mean that writing on Bamboo Paper feels like writing on a notebook, whereas using any other app feels like playing a game where your character writes in a notebook. When penstrokes are bound to the specific location on the tablet’s front glass where I put the pen, it makes spatial reasoning more natural, and spatial reasoning is the main advantage of taking handwritten notes over textual notes using handwriting recognition.
Using Bamboo Paper with floating windows of other apps in front of it, as Samsung lets me do, is the closest feeling I’ll probably get to using a Microsoft Courier – at least, it would be if Paper had drag-and-drop support. It might be a 10 year old app but it did get an update last August, so come on Wacom…
Despite all my searching, I haven’t found another app on Android that imitates Paper’s model. Some apps like Samsung Notes zoom and scroll like Word documents, while other apps have an infinite canvas that makes me feel disoriented. Since I want to store my notes somewhere that’s not too likely to disappear next year, I put up with the Word doc, but I’m putting this out there in case someone points me to the perfect virtual notebook