1. cjvitek's Avatar
    WorldCard Mobile, by PenPower Technology Ltd
    $6.99, ****


    Effective text recognition for scanning business cards
    Rolodex on your iPhone, with many export options/settings
    Keeps image on file

    Camera options could be a little better
    No auto-merge feature (dont even know if that is possible)

    If you are in any sort of business/professional field, you will find that sooner rather than later, you start collecting more business cards than you know what to do with. I know my desk has various business cards scattered around it for vendors, colleagues, references, collaborators, etc. Enter WorldCard Mobile, a business card eradication utility. It works by taking a picture of the business card, then using text recognition to identify specific aspects of the card email address, work address, phone, etc. Using that information, it then autofills a contact form, and presto, you have a contact sheet for someone where you previously had only a business card!

    In my tests, it worked quite well. The test recognition was spot on. I tested about 20 different business cards, and the only time it had a problem was when the card itself was smudged. In addition, it accurately recognized phone numbers, email addresses, and business addresses in a variety of different card designs and patterns. Once the card is photographed, a backup of the photographic image is retained just for future reference (so you can go back and check it to be safe!). It also have the capability to recognize multiple languages , including German, Spanish, French, and a few others.

    The process of taking the pictures was pretty straightforward, including ability to turn flash off (glare is no good) and have a stabilized auto snapshot option (which I wish was the default option, rather than having to manually turn it on each time). The app didnt make use of the volume button feature to take a picture, so occasionally I had to hold extra steady as I hit the button on the screen (thus, wishing the auto snapshot was on by default). In addition, it used the accelerometer to orient the photo, which didnt make much sense to me since the camera should be held relatively flat.

    Once you have a contact, you can choose to export them to dropbox, export them to your iPhone contact list, or just keep them in the app (which is backed up on the cloud, from what I have gathered). You can choose to merge the contact with an existing one, but it would be nice if the app automatically suggested a contact to merge (in case you dont realize you already have someone in your contact list).

    One nice feature that it has is the ability to get contact information from a signature file in email. If you copy and paste someones sig file into the app, it will work the same was as taking a photo of the business card, and create a new contact.

    On a purely aesthetic sense, it would be sort of cool to actually have a rolodex on the phone, spinning through the business cards that have been photographed. It would be fun to be able to tap on one to pull up contact information!

    All in all, this is a pretty useful app for anyone looking to get rid of piles of business cards (although I will still be hesitant to throw them away, probably!) An accurate text detection engine allows for converting all business cards to an iPhone contacts, or simply storing them in the app contact list. For $6.99, it is a reasonable utility to potentially get rid of all the clutter on your desk, although it is a little more expensive that I would have guessed. Four our of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.  
    12-15-2011 04:52 PM