Hear ye, hear ye! App Court is back in session, for us to take a quick butcher’s look at a popular application for one of the major mobile platforms and decide if it should be kept, deleted, or if the jury is still out.
This session we will be looking at an App with a long and storied history. Pocket Informant by WebIS was one of the first big PIM (Personal Information Management) applications and THE killer app on the PocketPC when the iPaq was king. Now, things are a bit different and Pocket Informant HD has been released for the iPad, aiming to become just as essential for a new generation as it was for us PPC toting oldsters. What does the App Court have to say about it? Approach the bench, and lets see.
Pocket Informant is a classic Calendar/Task App and in the iPad Version sets itself up like an old Dayplanner book with separate tabs for daily schedule, calendar, task list and settings, which is well suited to this format. However, many different Apps use it and it is becoming a bit stale and ubiquitous. I would have loved for WebIS to push the envelope on this and surprise me. However they do take the format, however overused, and do well with it. The fields are consistently big and clear and the extra screen space on the iPad really gives Pocket Informant room to spread its wings. I love the column on the left hand side in Landscape view giving extra info, like the next 5 months.
The Daily tab gives you lots of space to read your tasks for the day with a clear hour by hour listing along the left side. You can also flip between custom calendar very easily.
When working in the Tasks tabs you have lots of filter options as well as the ability to organize tasks by both folders and by contexts which means you can do a lot of really useful cross referencing.
In the Calendar tab you get all the standard views such as weekly, monthly and list, but you also get a very handy daily view which lets your appointments out in a very clear grid similar to what you find in Outlook. However you can’t actually sync Pocket Informant HD with Microsoft Outlook. The App syncs with Google Calendar, Toodledo and Pocket Informant’s own desktop app. For me (and a great number of business people), that is a serious failing. Sure you can sync Outlook with Google Calendar and then with Pocket Informant, but I would prefer to be able to skip that step and sync my Outlook tasks and appointments directly with Pocket Informant.
Sadly in Portrait mode you lose the left hand side info you get in Landscape mode, which becomes a far less handy popup menu. It would be nice if they set up a way where you can opt to have that info always visible along the bottom of the screen in portrait mode.
There is no question that Pocket Informant is a complete and powerful Calendar and Task organizer, one of the best if not THE best of the breed. The GUI is clear and colorful with many useful features, but may lack creativity at times.
How does the App Court find?
This is an app which if you need a calendar or task program on your iPad, is the clear choice. However, if like me you don’t need those on an iPad or need tighter, automatic Outlook integration to justify having this functionality on both your phone and your iPad, then there is no reason to keep the application.
If you use your iPad for business or as your main computer however and need a PIM app, then you can’t go wrong with Pocket Informant.
Pocket Informant is available for $6.99 from the App Store.