Available for beta testing: Zotero for Android

  • Boox is great for reading, but not all android apps work well... Will be exciting to see how well Zotero will work on my Nova Air.

    Zotero should really support e-ink without color as distinguishing between the different accent colors is difficult to impossible. The same goes for the UI; There should be a separate mode (theme) optimized for such displays.

    From experience with apps that are not optimized for black and white e-ink, I would today buy the Boox tablet with a color screen.
  • @sstraume97 Frankly, I can't imagine buying a non-color Boox tablet anyway. Color and Android are their two big selling points. The main reason I want one is for reading papers, and with as common as colors are in graphs, color e-ink seems pretty much essential to me.
  • @LoganJFisher does s pen's side button also work? Like long press to erase? Thanks.
  • @atnoir Unfortuantely, no. Erasing seems to only be possible by tapping the icon on your screen.
  • edited December 28, 2023
    Oh, I should mention an oddity I noticed in the app. I don't know that I'd call it a bug, but it is a bit weird.

    In dark mode, highlight and pen colors are inverted.
  • edited December 28, 2023

    The boox tablets are very cool, but apps typically have to be tailor made for the eink screen to make good use of the stylus. So far as I know, no apps have been made for them besides the ones boox makes themselves (and one WIP notes app that I've seen on reddit). On the native apps the pen works really well, but on play store apps its pretty bad.

    They use a workaround for certain very popular apps (like onenote) where the tablet will draw a line on top of the app for the immediate visual feedback and then input the whole stroke at once when you lift the pen, but this is only available on a few apps which boox enables the feature on.

    If the documents can be annotated in the native boox software then that will be the way to go, depending on how well the two apps work together, because that experience is quite good.
  • edited December 28, 2023
    Echoing @Ioannes

    I haven't been a Zoo user but from what I've read, one needs to configure an external pdf viewer to read the attachment from zotero (which is saved in a temporary directory), then have the amended/annotated document save back to the zotero's directory for it to be synced via zotero.

    If Zotero is low on manpower on optimising the pdf viewer, I suppose it doesn't hurt to use boox's native pdf app (at least for the reasons Ionannes mentioned). But I share Ioannes' worry that zotero and the external pdf viewer has to work quite well.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, us boox users on zotero might get a forum to discuss workflows. Well, no need if zotero can accommodate all of our workflows under its hood! xd
  • Been waiting for this announcement since January 4th, 2023 (https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/425262/#Comment_425262).

    Thank you so much for your work. Can't wait to access the beta (and hoping for an F-Droid version)
  • Finally!
    Looking forward to test the environment with my Max Lumi and get rid off the 2 workaround to stablish a workflow
  • For those who are testing it on a Boox device: how is the experience so far on a black/white screen? Considering purchasing the note air 3 b/w version.
  • edited December 28, 2023
    for everyone wondering how the Zotero android beta's annotation features work on a Boox Air 3 C ( @sstraume97 @Ioannes) I am happy to report that stylus support works great, its possible to mark up, underline etc using the markup and pen colors offered by the zotero app directly in PDFs. And while the colors are muted this is a key functionality benefit over black and white eink. Using the boox system keyboard, handwriting recognition also works - when writing in the designated area. Thank you zotero android team for such a great UX out of teh box!

    Because I use webdav for file sync, only the bibliographic data i had entered manually on the device got synced to my library - the pdf itself did not get synced.

    I do have one design/feature request: When using the "light" appearance options, the boundaries of buttons do not render well on eink. The system does render them internally as evidenced in screenshots taken on the device, The design in Dark mode is better for eink, and since elsewhere UI lines are rendered clearly it seems that a small design tweak would make this more legible and usable on eink. Find comparison screenshots and photograpsh to illustrate this point here: https://imgur.com/a/5yM7fcr

    Please add Webdav integration soon, for nextcloud, there should be an easy way to offload this to the nextcloud app...
  • @menelic do you also get inverted highlighter and pen colors when using dark mode like I'm getting on the S23 Ultra?
  • @LoganJFisher the colors do not change in the color picker, but they do change once they are displayed on the Black page. For my use on a color eink screen with a limited number of matte colors, this is actually a good thing, as the change - not sure ints an inversion, but that could be due to the limited color gamut - makes the colors much more legible in the dark background than the "original" colors would be. So I suggest to make this an option a feature, with a toggle on the color picker once one switches to dark mode. Users could then agree to use inverted colors which would then also be displayed in the color picker. While not an expert, I am sure such an option would have accessibility benefits.
  • @menelic I agree that I prefer the dark mode colors. It just needs to represent those same colors in the picker.
  • @menelic
    How are handwritten notes in margins, etc?
  • I hope linked attachments (https://www.zotero.org/support/preferences/advanced#linked_attachment_base_directory) will eventually be supported for those of us who use Syncthing or other external sync tools on both desktop and Android. It's not even a problem with paying for Zotero Storage, but I rely on all attachments being in the same folder so that various other non-Zotero applications/devices can also easily use them.
  • Great!
    I need only View PDFs and Annotate but i didnt get on beta.
    I'm looking forward to expanding the group of testers.
    Good job!
  • Thank you for developing the Android app! I have tested it a bit on a Samsung S23 Ultra and Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus the past days.

    **Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra**

    - works great with S-pen like LoganJFisher mentioned.
    - highlight colour in dark mode incorrect. Yellow shows as blue.

    Handwriting and related settings panel
    - Handwriting shows up as blue in dark mode; changing the colour seems impossible.
    - Sync progress bar hides the settings' appearance option in landscape mode. It'd be nice to hide syncing progress if desired, especially since the entire library is syncing often on my S23 Ultra.

    Crash report ID: 1556729458. Saw this after unlocking my S23 Ultra. I don't know what happened. The Zotero app was open when the phone locked because of inactivity (as I am writing this). I don't know how to reproduce the crash.

    **Boox Note Air 2**

    Crash report ID: 454560091 after cancelling the creation of a new collection while the library was syncing for the first time since installing the Zotero app.

    - too much lag for annotating using a pen on an imported pdf. Syncing was done.

    - enable use of of colour highlighting on black & white screen of e-ink device (e.g. by using abbreviations rather than pop-outs because of the low screen refreshing rate)
    - enable eraser function of e-ink pen Staedtler Noris digital Jumbo. It's not working.
    - automatic import of files from specific folder into specific collection. I have various notebooks in project and practice-specific folders. Boox automatically exports these as pdf into their respective folder. Automatic import of these files in Zotero would enable a centralised repository of source files.
    - OCR to use on handwriting or a photocopied pdf.

    I look forward to more elaborate testing while working on a running project once webDAV is enabled.
  • edited December 29, 2023
    @menelic @J.Hijmans
    I have a note air 3c.
    My testing with the stylus is that it is too laggy and also inaccurate in placement to use when in HD refresh mode (balanced isn't too bad). I can't accurately highlight text that I want. I also can't easily change highlight color after the fact (thats not a big deal).

    -When I switch to fast and ultrafast, highlighting works much better, even balanced is pretty good.
    - I'm currently using balanced with display enhancement on, with anti-flicker set to 1, dark color enhancement 30, vividness 100 and color brightness 5.

    I got the note mainly to read and annotate pdfs for academic purpose. I've been longing for the android app, so this was great news!

    Wish list.

    -TOP Priority: an option to open the pdf in an external app, this would be helpful for the boox devices so we can use Neoreader, that seems like the easiest/quickest fix for annotation.

    -in the pdf reader, some (or all) of the anotate options may as well be on the top bar, tap to annotate, then tap to turn on pen is tedious. I'd be happy to have toggle pen highlight color, and undo in the main bar at the top.

    -ignore touch option.
    -Color change highlights with press on highlight.
    -stylus eraser support.

  • Wow!!
    I am really excited to start my 2024 with the perspective of being able to read my papers in the Samsung S9 tablet seamlessly!
    Thank you very much for all the amazing work!
  • thank you for sharing @rkpirlo, and I agree. Using Neoreader with Zotero would make Boox devices great for annotating texts.
  • Wow, welcome news for 2024 and long awaited by pretty much anyone doing postgraduate studies in the world..
  • The early access program is currently full. HOW DID I MISS THIS?

    Great work, really looking forward to this.
  • This is huge. Missed the announcement, hope to hear increase in number of testers soon. Eagerly waiting to join.
  • Is there any way that we could reach out to Boox to petition them to provide official support for Zotero? This really is a big deal for the academic community, so I think they could be convinced.
  • edited January 2, 2024
    Onyx, the maker of increasingly popular "Boox" eInk and Color eInk android devices actually offers an SDK to integrate its (very good) digital pen functionality into other android apps, see https://github.com/onyx-intl/OnyxAndroidDemo/blob/master/doc/Onyx-Base-SDK.md and this sample project https://github.com/onyx-intl/OnyxAndroidDemo . While an integration from the Onyx side would be great as well, using the SDK to better tune zotero to Boox (and possibly other WACOM9 devices is the standard route. I will write to Onyx to ask them bout integration options from their end, but would ask zotero to explore the SDK with a view to implementing it.

    That said, the annotation basics work very well for me out of the box on the Boox Air 3 C. I believe using a 3rd party app such as Neoreader might make it more difficult for zotero to ensure a unified experience across devices. So it seems to me the SDK route is the best way to go @rkpirlo @J.Hijmans
  • Thank you for this beta! Just tested it on my phone, and I like how the interface is the same as on my iPad. Great job!
  • Ah! Just found out about this! I've been waiting for ages to use Zotero natively on my Boox Note Air 2. Really hope the early access program opens up to more users soon! Thanks for all the work on this!
  • @menelic I second this request! I wasn't aware that they had a publicly available SDK. I'd love to see that integrated into the Zotero app to provide better support for their e-ink tablets.
  • this is very exciting news. as i'm about to purchase an e-ink device, is there a minimum iteration of Android that is supported? does Zotero for Android require 12 or will Android 11 suffice?
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