Nebo in 2023: A year of remarkable progress shaped by our users


A hand-drawn Christmas tree with blue snowflakes around it

As we prepare to turn the page on 2023, it's a good moment to look back over a year packed with major updates and new features. Our mission, as ever, was to make your digital note-taking experience smoother, smarter and more enjoyable – so join us as we revisit some of the milestones we reached along the way.

But wait! Before we dive in, we have a festive thank-you gift for all our users: a custom-made 2024 digital planner PDF, designed to help you stay organized and productive throughout the coming year. Import it into Nebo and put it to good use with some of our powerful new PDF features.

👉 Download your free 2024 planner

Speaking of which, let's start our tour of Nebo's 2023…

Expanding the possibilities when working with PDFs in Nebo

A lot of our users work with imported PDFs – whether college course notes, forms or professional documentation. Until recently, you could use your pen to annotate and mark up PDFs in Nebo, but we wanted to go further. So we devoted some time to improving our PDF features.

First, we introduced a new sidebar showing PDF page thumbnails, allowing you to quickly navigate, add, move or delete pages as needed. We also added keyboard support, so you can type in PDFs – particularly useful when filling out forms.

We enhanced PDF annotation too, enabling you to convert freehand lines and shapes to perfect forms by holding your pen to the screen. And to top it off, we introduced a feature that sets Nebo apart from any other app currently on the market: the ability to convert handwritten annotations to typeset text in imported PDFs. This brings a whole new dimension to PDF reviews, and can instantly turn a casually marked-up PDF into a perfectly polished and legible document you can share with others.

Perfecting cloud sync for better content control across platforms

For some time, we’d wanted to improve how Nebo handles cloud sync. We envisioned a faster, smoother sync process, with fewer conflicts – and the option to let Nebo handle syncing automatically.

Our planned sync upgrades were technically complex, and would require a complete redesign of Nebo's underlying architecture – but this would, in turn, open the door for even more exciting new features. It took a long time to rework Nebo from the ground up, but we got there, launching our new sync protocol as part of the milestone release that was Nebo 5. 💪

The upgrade was a game-changer, offering lightning-fast sync with better conflict management – now, if a conflict occurred, both versions of the affected page were kept for you to review. Optional auto-sync was the icing on the cake, rendering it possible to work across multiple devices and platforms without a second thought.

Making your notes editable everywhere by bringing Nebo to iPhone

The improved sync also made it possible to check another major objective off our list: bringing the complete Nebo experience to iPhone.

The iPhone version of Nebo represents a huge step forward from our previous iPhone app, Nebo Viewer. With Nebo on iPhone, you can access and edit your content on your iPhone, anytime and anywhere. Whether you're riding the bus to school or waiting in line outside an exam, your entire library of notebooks is in your pocket, ready to be consulted or updated. And of course, all changes will automatically sync across all your other devices.

Improving content management with Nebo's own trash

Upgrading Nebo’s data architecture also meant we could finally introduce a much awaited trash feature. It entailed a surprising amount of design and development work to ensure a great user experience – especially on iPhone – but it was worth it to offer the safety of recovering deleted notes. And thanks to the sync enhancements, you could now delete content from one device and recover it on any other. Just one more way to boost productivity and improve your content management.

Harnessing AI to make study faster, more effective and fun

Of course, 2023 was the year AI began to change everything – and Nebo wasn't about to stand on the sidelines. So we did our research, keen to discover exactly which users would benefit most from generative AI in Nebo, and how we could serve them.

Nebo AI launched in September as a free English-language beta for users on Apple devices. Created with students foremost in mind, our aim was to make learning more efficient and enjoyable.

You can use Nebo AI in several ways: to summarize long chunks of text, to explain tricky words or concepts, or simply to chat and ask questions. You can also use it to generate instant quizzes based on the content of your notes – taking a lot of the effort out of cramming before exams. 😅

The feedback we've received about Nebo AI has been overwhelmingly positive, with users loving its transformative impact on their note-taking and learning. But we're not stopping there! In the months ahead, we hope to roll out Nebo AI for users on Android devices – and we'll be expanding and improving the generative-AI features on offer. So stay tuned!

Building the Note into a freeform powerhouse

We're all about amazing user experiences, and that means listening closely to what our users want and need. So when you told us you wanted to use some of the Document's key features in your Notes, we were happy to oblige.

The result was the world's first freeform note-taking canvas with interactive ink and write-to-text conversion. We added the ability to use the keyboard in Notes, to convert handwriting to typeset text, and even to use some of Nebo's intuitive pen gestures to make edits on the fly – like scratching to erase content. We also made it possible to copy-paste content from other apps, and added brand new features including shape beautification and manipulation. And finally, all of this is rounded off with a range of different page background patterns and colors, giving you more control over the look and feel of your notes than ever before.

Growing our community with Nebo's new free plan

We end with one of the first major updates of 2023: Nebo's new free plan on iPad, designed to make the note-taking experience more accessible to a wider audience.

Before this, Nebo was free to try but with significant limits on the features available. To experience the app's full power, you had to unlock extra features via in-app purchases. But we wanted everyone to discover the benefits of digital note-taking… so we decided to change things up!

With this new plan, anyone can enjoy the full Nebo experience for free across 5 pages with no commitment at all. If they love the app and want to continue using it, they can unlock unlimited pages with a one-time payment; if not, they haven't lost out. That said, we think it's highly unlikely that anyone who tries Nebo wouldn't want to make it part of their daily productivity toolkit… 😉

Looking ahead ⏩

In 2023, Nebo experienced its most productive year yet, with the release of significant foundational features that transformed the note-taking experience.

As we look ahead, we're committed to listening to your needs and leveraging our AI expertise to exceed your expectations. Together, let's make 2024 even more remarkable.

Happy New Year!

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