WorldCard Mobile review
We review WorldCard Mobile - a Rolodex style application for syncing contacts
For a short while, just before PDAs were murdered and left for dead in the gutter by smartphones, a few tech savvy types attempted to make their handheld computers particularly useful for the traveling business man. Or woman.
One of the hottest features in the top of the range devices was a business card scanner, that allowed you to take a snap of someone’s deets and store them in the PDA.
Considering paper and print is so last century, it’s a wonder there aren’t more iPhone apps looking to take up this particular task. WorldCard Mobile is one of the few out there on the App Store, and promises quick, clean and clever gathering of your business contacts.
Since this function relies heavily on a decent photo of that wee piece of card, this probably isn’t an app that’s going to set the old iPhone 3G on fire (and is little use to the iPod touch user). But the iPhone 3GS seems to cope with those close up shots incredibly well, and gives WorldCard Mobile the best fighting chance of extracting its information.
The initial app is incredibly simple, with just two buttons to kick off the card content capturing.
You can take a brand new picture, or load one in from the camera roll (this could give iPod touch users some way to make it work, but the rigmarole of transferring the external photos to the device, then loading them into the app, probably isn’t worth the effort), and the app gives you a quick look at the image it’s going to scrutinise.
Hit the recognise button, and the optical character recognition (OCR) kicks in and looks at extracting the text in the image.
The OCR seems very capable, with almost no errors on the cards we tested the app on. But that’s only half the story. What’s perhaps more impressive than the app’s ability to read is its ability to organise.
It does a sterling job of deciding just where each line of the text should go when linking the data to a contact in your iPhone’s address book.
It’s able to reformat the address, decide which is a telephone number and which is a fax number (something worth pointing out here is one of the business cards used in the test denoted the phone and fax numbers simply with “t:” and “f:”, and the app still figured it out), where an email address goes and what to do with a website address.
It’s not flawless, by any means, and occasionally a small logo would confuse matters and chuck a stray letter into the mix. But manually correcting those few, minor mistakes is still massively preferable to entering all that info by hand.
WorldCard Mobile isn’t a cheap application, but anyone carrying an iPhone for business use, or has a desk drawer full of old business cards they’d like to put in the bin, will find it to be an impressive time saver.