59215 Top 3 Business Card Scanning Apps jason.fanguy@148apps.com iPhone Life 1528-5456 2010-09-23 NovDec2010_BuyersGuide 2 5 30 Apps Business

Business Card Reader

$5.99, app2.me/2620

imageThis app from Shape Services (shapeservices.com) stood above its rivals, producing consistent, quality results scan after scan. Take a photo of a business card using the app's clean interface, and Business Card Reader scans the card and places the information on it into the appropriate fields of a new entry in your Contacts list. Verify the data, correct as needed, and tap on the Done button to finalize the entry.

Business Card Reader produces accurate results scan after scan.

The app distinguishes itself from other card readers by its visually pleasing and easy-to-use menu interface. Neatly tabbed, color-coded display options are displayed on the main menu. From there, users can take a photo, select an image from their Camera Roll/Photo Library, view stored cards in Card Holder, and read about the app's FAQ/Support. Business Card Reader recognizes multiple languages and contains a built-in browser that lets users search and read LinkedIn profiles of scanned contacts, without leaving the app.

This app is elegant, easy to use, and works as advertised. If you're looking for a no-frills, solid, well-developed business card scanner, Business Card Reader is the app for you.

ScanBiz Cards

$6.99, app2.me/2621; Free "Lite" version, app2.me/2622

imageI wrote about data recognition problems with an earlier version of this program but was impressed by the app's array of features and options. The developer—ScanBiz Mobile Solutions (scanbizcards.com)—apparently took note and has since released 6 updates to the program, improving data recognition and adding a laundry-list of features that include Evernote and Skype integration; the ability to store, sync, and access cards on the Web; integration with the iPhone's native Calendar; and many more.

I'm very impressed with the latest version. The app's data recognition capabilities are very accurate, and the variety of features borders on overload. ScanBiz Cards is the luxury sedan of card readers; Business Card Reader is the reliable, economy car. (Note: A close-up lens accessory is required to use ScanBizCards with the iPhone 3G. Such a lens is built into the Griffin Clarify Case: $34.99, griffintechnology.com/products/clarify.)

WorldCard Mobile

$5.99. app2.me/289; Free "Lite" version, app2.me/2623; versions for other languages also available

imageAs with ScanBiz Cards, my experience with an earlier version of WorldCard Mobile was disappointing. However, the developer— Penpower Technology Ltd. (worldcard.penpowerinc.com)—has significantly improved the app's data recognition capabilities in later versions of the app. In addition, they've added an e-mail signature capture feature and an automatic anti-shake feature that should be standard in all scanner apps.

WorldCard Mobile also offers a companion app to its business card reader. WorldCard Contacts ($3.99, app2.me/2624) is a nice full-featured business card and contact management app.

Tip: Make sure you take clear photos

The accuracy and performance of these apps depend on the clarity of the business card photos you take. The best card scanning technology can't read dim, shaky images. Take the time to place the business card on a flat surface, steady your hand, line up the photo, and make sure there's plenty of light. Your scanning results will be much better.