Penpower is a specialized hardware and software maker. The company is based in China with affiliates all over the world. They build input devices for specific purposes, such as a business card scanner with software the extracts the information from the card itself for cataloging.
They now have two iPhone apps that also do this. The first is WorldCard Mobile, which lets the user take a photo of a business card and have all of the information (name, address, email, phone, fax, etc.) extracted and inserted into your phone’s contacts list. The other is WorldCard Contacts, which synchs with WorldCard Mobile and replaces the contacts list on your iPhone with a more business-based option. Both are available in the iTunes App Store.
WorldCard Mobile is a very easy to use and understand application. It allows you to take photographs of business cards and insert the data from them into your contact’s list on the phone. It works with iPhone, iPod Touch (though only with imported images, since the iPod has no camera) and the iPad (photos are a little more difficult there).
Using it on the iPhone at a convention, for instance, is great. Just go around gathering cards as your normally would or snapping photos of them for later use. Then, once you have some time to “process” them, you can go through the photos or take pictures of the cards you’ve been collecting and have them quickly inserted into your contacts list. Each one can be imported in about four clicks, but you’ll want to review the information on each one before accepting it as there are sometimes problems with the recognition software on some fonts. Overall, it works very well, though.
WorldCard Contacts is an optional addition to the Mobile recognition app. It replaces the built-in iPhone contacts list software with a more robust, business-oriented one. It’s easy to use (most of the commands are very much like the iPhone built-in), works well, and really shines when you mate it with the business card imports. Now, instead of just importing contact data from business cards, you can search the cards themselves.
This is a very cool feature. Most of us remember things through mental imaging, meaning we have a picture or a sort of “snapshot” of what we recall. For me, that means that many of the people I meet only offhand or know primarily through phone or email contact, I visualize as being something tangible I’ve seen of theirs. Maybe a business card, a photo once, or whatever. With biz cards, this app is great since now it’s possible to search and see results as images of business cards rather than just text.
Both of these apps are nice additions to any professional’s phone and will save you a lot of time if you’re one of those who enters biz card info into your phone manually or just files the cards and then spends twenty minutes hunting for it when you finally need to call that person.