November 5, 2011
WorldCard Mobile is the next entry into a category filled with apps. If you enter “business card reader” into the iTunes search bar, you’ll find dozens of possibilities. So what sets WorldCard Mobile apart from the competitors? Let’s take a look at the options.
Unlike most of the competitors, WorldCard Mobile gives you more than one option of adding contacts. Most similar apps will have you take a picture of a business card, and then use OCR to recognize the contact information, which you can then save directly to your contacts. Of course, WorldCard Mobile can do that. Character recognition is alright. Not perfect, but will still save you time. I have yet to try any kind of OCR on iOS that renders perfectly.
Use is simple and intuitive. Tap the Camera button, focus the camera on your business card, and take the shot. You can go back and do it again, or tap Recognize to begin the character rendering.
The information is pulled up in a format similar to what you will find in your contacts, and from here you have the option of fixing any errors, or adding extra information (such as a contact photo). Once you have validated the information is correct, just tap the Export button for the new contact to appear in your list of contacts.
If you happen to have a photo of information for a contact, you can use this as well. The process is the same. The advantage to being able to do it this way is that sometimes it’s faster to just take a snapshot of someone’s information. Other times, someone has one business card left, and this way you can quickly snap a picture of it, and leave him without having to take his last card.
I tried it with a form that was not quite a business card, but had contact information I needed. Below you can see the “card” and the results.
As you can see, the character recognition is less than perfect. It is, however, still faster to edit a few errors than to type the entire contact from scratch.
Now we arrive at the unique feature of WorldCard Mobile. This is actually the most useful feature for me, as much of what I do (in any of my jobs) is done via email, with little chance of anyone handing me a business card. Most people who send me email have their entire life history in their signature block. Alright, that’s a slight exaggeration, but some people I know tend to overshare even in a simple email signature.
So when you get an email from someone new (or newish), and you’d like to save their contact information from their signature block – what do you do? In the past I’ve copied it all and pasted it into the notes section of a new contact, where I can then copy/paste one field at a time. Talk about labor intensive! But with WorldCard Mobile, just select the signature block in the email, and then open WorldCard Mobile. Tap on the signature button, and all the information is there waiting for you. Export, and you have a perfect new contact. There can be no character misrecognition, because it’s all properly formatted to start with.
This method also works exceptionally well when someone emails you their contact information, or that of someone else. Yes, there are still people who don’t know about vCards.
At $5.99, it carries a mid-range price tag in iTunes, but if you are one of those people who is constantly adding contacts, this could save you hours.