If you're anything like me, you probably have a pile of business cards about 20cm high that you keep meaning to get around to entering into your address book, but always ends up sliding further and further down your ToDo list. That's where a business card scanning app like WorldCard Mobile comes in handy.
The app's premise is simple: use the iPhone's camera to take a photo of a business card, then use clever software to pull the data out of the card and into your contacts. The text recognition is pretty good, but not perfect - you still need to closely check all the fields to see whether or not an 'i' is registered as an 'l', for example. Sometimes it will get everything right, other times you might need to edit every field. A lot depends on the business card, as well as the lighting conditions and quality of the photo.
One of the great features of the WorldCard Mobile app is the image stabilisation when taking a pic of the business card - the app waits for the moment when your hands are most still to keep the photo blur free. But once the photo's taken (and it has to be taken a certain way to register), you then manually need to rotate the image to begin scanning the text areas.
Another good feature is the ability to manually pull out different parts of the image for scanning in particular fields, which works especially well if the Name field fails, for example.
Once you've checked and double checked all the fields are correct, you can export the contact to your iPhone's address book, or merge it with an existing contact. Well, at least in theory - that aspect continually refuses to work for me.
At $7.99, this is the most expensive app we've featured so far in iAppalooza. And given the fact that it's far from perfect, $8 may be a bit too high a price to pay. But the process of taking a photo, rotating it, scanning it, checking it for mistakes (if there are any) and exporting it is still quicker than manually typing in all the information on a business card, which means that in my mind, it's still worth the effort.