Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jott was Nice but Reqall is Nicer

A couple of posts ago we introduced Jott. Jott is now owned by Nuance, which gave us Dragon Naturally Speaking, the speech recognition tool. Unfortunately, Jott has significantly increased its price so we've turned to Reqall which does much the same thing for less. Both Jott and Reqall are speech-to-text (or regular text-to-text) reminder systems. Reqall is available for the iPhone but I drink a different brand of kool-aide so I'll describe how it works for the BlackBerry.

You can send a to-do to Reqall from the Reqall for BlackBerry application as a text message, dictation, or via a phone call. Sending as a text message is pretty straightforward. To send by phone, select the 'Send By Phone' option, again, from the Reqall for BlackBerry application. Reqall dials and when the call connects it recognizes your phone number. You speak your to-do and, if you like, you give it a due date:

"Hello this is Reqall. Do you want to add, share or recall?"
The system beeps
"Remind George about the Pensky file. Tomorrow, 2 PM."

Tomorrow at 2PM, you get a text message reading 'Remind George about the Pensky file.'

You can also choose to record the message on your BlackBerry rather as well (useful, if you're somewhere that doesn't have cell phone service). As soon as service is available, the application will connect and upload the audio for processing.

We use Reqall primarily as a way to capture to-do items as they come up. Reqall has a number of other features that are worth exploring. For example, if you smartphone has GPS capability you can associate particular locations with particular tasks. Let's say you make regular site visits as part of your job. You could create to-dos for eachsite and when the GPS sensed your proximity (you’d need to designate the site), Reqall would send you the appropriate reminders. You can also share to-dos. Instead of leaving yourself a to-do, you could send it directly to any of the contacts you've entered into Reqall.

In addition to getting SMS reminders of your to-dos you can also view them from your browser. That's what we tend to do around here. We use the BlackBerry to create them and the browser to manage them. As with many such applications, Reqall plays well others. You can use it with Evernote, Google Calendar and Outlook. In a mash-up contest however, Jott is the clear winner. Let us know what you think. You can find out more by viewing David Pogue's video tour which you'll find here.

We'll be posting about other tools in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more.

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