Most high-quality drawing and note-taking apps cost money these days, or at the very least, include in-app purchases. FiftyThree is bucking that trend with its boldest move yet: setting all the drawing tools in its Paper app free. Previously, the app only came with one free writing implement, unless you bought the company’s stylus, Pencil, in which case all the tools came free. Now, anyone who downloads Paper gets all the tools for free.
The pen, pencil, brush, marker, highlighter, and color mixer tools are now available the minute you download the app. The entire tool pack used to cost $4, which wasn’t too expensive, given the quality of the Paper app and the comparatively high price of physical art supplies, but may have turned off some users. FiftyThree’s founder Georg Petschnigg hopes that liberating the creative tool suite in Paper will open the app up to students, teachers, and kids who wouldn’t have normally paid for the in-app purchase.
“We build tools that empower people to create and express themselves, and we want to put these in as many people’s hands as possible,” Petchnigg told DigitalTrends via email. “Also, given how many teachers and students already use Paper to give lectures or take notes, we’re happy that this means Paper can be used more widely in schools, an area where budget tends to be a concern.”
FiftyThree says it always hoped to make Paper’s tools free, but prior to the launch of its stylus Pencil, that simply wasn’t possible. However, the company’s stylus is now one of the most popular styli on the planet. The walnut version sold out just a few weeks after it launched, and demand for Pencil has grown in all parts of the world where it’s sold. The company just introduced a new color option called Pencil Gold, to bring its number of styli up to three.
Making Paper free means that FiftyThree will have to rely on stylus sales to fund its upcoming projects and keep things going. It’s something of a risk, as Paper has been very profitable for the company, with more than 13 million downloads and in excess of 150 million pages created, many of which have been shared on its new collaborative community Mix. However, it’s a chance Petschnigg is willing to take.
“Since FiftyThree’s inception we wanted to remove barriers to creativity and self-expression, and making Paper’s tools free is a great way for us to continue doing this,” he explained.