Smartdown is, first and foremost, a no-frills markdown editor. The developers, more pretentiously, call it a "zenware" editor. But they make it clear that "zen" for them just means "simple." Secondly, it is also a folding text editor, like foldingtext. It is simple, but it is also elegant. There is a Mac version and a Windows version. The Windows version is hyped as "A native Windows Mardown [sic] editor made with love for a zen efficiency. A nice place to express your creativity. With the focus mode and the fullscren [sic] presentation, discover a distraction free zen environment for enhancing your writting [sic] productivity. You can focus on your text, not on the tool."
Among other things it has Critic Markup Support and built-in spelling. SmartDown also supports snippets that allow you to substitute predefined text for an abbreviations. It is developed by Aflava, "a small software company base[d] in Lyon (France)." Its "introductionary [sic] price: $24.99 -> $19.99," but you can download and try it for free. I did not try the Windows version. But judging from the Mac application, it is is much better than the spelling suggests.
The Mac version seems to be developed by the same company under the name of "mobili." It does not have snippet support or spelling (which makes me suspect that the Website for the Windows version was written with the Mac application). But it has footnote support, and that is why I chose to test it. No price is listed, but "SmartDown has just been submitted to the Mac App Store. Crossing fingers…"
I do like the application. Inserting a footnote is a two step process. First you provide the footnote reference, then you type the footnote. It works well, but the footnotes are not transformed into automatic footnotes when exported to rtf, and the ugly convention of "[^1]" is retained rather than transforming them into superscripted numbers or other characters. In Markdown preview the footnotes look a lot better.
The applications are rough around the edges, but they have a great deal of potential. Not only do they look better than Ulysses, they seem to do what Ulysses does in a much simpler way. I will keep an eye on them, even if they are not likely to be serious competition for ConnectedText.
I hope I do not sound too negative. I really like the way the applications look, and, to say it again, they have a great deal of potential.