I gave Netwalk’s Snabiz nearly every opportunity to solve one of the grand challenges of business life: How to automatically convert printed business cards into a digital format. It’s a real pain to type contact information on business cards into a contact manager. If you have to do it often, filing your teeth with sandpaper seems more enjoyable.
Snabiz purports to use optical character recognition to identify print on business cards and digitize them into a transportable format. The idea is that you simply take a snapshot of a business card and Snabiz tags the name, address and other relevant fields. Once that’s done, shazam, you can import all this information into your Contacts.
I’d be willing to actually pay good money for an app that does something like that. Unfortunately, all I got was bupkis.
I tried several cards and each time, the results appeared to have been typed by a monkey. Deborah, came out as D-bouh, another name came out as F..S<HI$\?T and just about everything else came out as “Unknown.” I even tried taking an image of a few lines of typed text without any distracting logos or weird typefaces.
I tried taking pictures of cards in low light and bright light; up close and far away; by handheld and by propping my iPhone on a level surface. I begged, I pleaded, I cajoled and I even offered up my cat as a sacrifice. Snabiz sneered and crashed at least three times.
I guess I should have read the fine print more closely: Netwalk notes that “if you want to take sharp (and useful) pictures” you need a special lens” such as Griffin Technology’s Clarifi. I interpreted that to mean that I could get better results with a special lens; not that I absolutely needed one to make Snabiz work. That point is glossed over on Netwalk’s support page too. That’s a key point the dev should have made more clear, I think.
I checked online for the price of a Clarifi. It’s about $34.99. Add that to the $4.99 for Snabiz and you’re looking at $40.00. For $4.00-$7.00 more you can buy a cheap scanner with OCR software. For now, that’s a better deal even if Snabiz actually works.
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category: Business

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