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Bighand gets itself onto new Blackberry App World – updated

On Friday 3rd, Blackberry launched its new App World facility – containing a shedload of utilities you can download onto your Blackberry device – including a lot of free stuff. If you are familiar with Apple's App Store utility for the iPod, you'll get the idea. You can either download via a PC (must be running Internet Explorer as the browser) or direct to your device (which we did here – took a couple of minutes & we have a weak signal). However…

Glancing thru the gzillions of downloads available we found, among the free apps, there is a Bighand app that allows you to record, edit and send voice files, instructions and dictation files. As far as we can see, this is a free version of Bighand Mobile 3.3.0.0 however it does appear that to get anything out of the device, you need to have the Bighand DDS workflow infrastructure in place back in the office. We've just downloaded the app and will report back once we've had a play with it.

• We've now had a chance to play with it and, frankly, were unimpressed. What seems to be the big issue here is that Bighand are merely pitching this as a taster for the Bighand Blackberry interface – however nowhere in the material on Blackberry World is this made clear and you could be forgiven for thinking you were going to get some kind of mini digital dictation app. Obviously not the whole Bighand DDS workflow works but at least something comparable with Blackberry's own free voice note recorder app.

What you actually get is a greeting file saying hello and we do hope you'll upgrade AND the ability to record a memo. But that's it, you can't, for example, email the voice file to your desktop for later use – something you can at least do with Blackberry's own recorder. Given that you may have download issues (Blackberry and Bighand are pointing fingers at each other but basically if you've got an older Blackberry with an OS upgrade – as distinct from the latest Blackberry with the latest OS factory installed – you have to fiddle with the applications permissions manually otherwise the device freezes & you have to remove the battery & reboot) then I suspect a number of people who try this app will also wonder why they bothered.

You expect applications on an App World – not product demos, otherwise they'd call it Demo World.

For the record, Winscribe have a similar system available but whereas Bighand is in Professional & Business section of the store, Winscribe is in the Voice Dictation subsection of the Productivity & Utilities part of the store. Check out MotionApps mVoice system, also available on the store – this lets you try the system (which is more advanced than Blackberry's own recorder) before you decide whether or not you want to buy.

2 replies on “Bighand gets itself onto new Blackberry App World – updated”

Bighand have now made the following comment…
I think you make some valid points. It is only when it has gone live that we have seen how the 'summary of app' info we provided has now come across. We are now correcting the text to better represent what you get at that free download stage (balanced against what is then possible in the full version). In a couple of minutes it should read:
“BigHand allows professionals to record, edit and (with the premium edition) send voice files or tasks to office based support, or access outsourced business services. The BigHand premium edition allows voice tasks, instructions and dictations to be sent on-the-go and to instantly enter the office workflow, where they are tracked via status updates, priorities and alerts. Overall BigHand helps users get more done, expedites the document production process, reduces support costs and improves client service.
This free download gives you an advanced recording application which allows you to save your recordings locally for playback at anytime.”
The thing about not being able to send via email for free (as with RIM's own note app) is that the power & commercial appeal of BigHand actually lies in sending from within BigHand software to take advantage of the workflow, delegation and progress tracking elements. The very barrier you have come up against (namely not being able to take advantage of BigHand enterprise-level workflow, delegation and tracking as an individual user not part of a larger enterprise) is something that we have been working on so watch this space.

So from this comment are we to read a veiled suggestion from Bighand that they are planning to introduce a hosted solution. If that is the case then maybe they should publish there 2007-2008 accounts (currently listed on companies house as overdue since the 31/1/2009) as commentators on hosted solutions say that the financial security of the provider is absolutely key because if the provider goes bust they could go with your data as well. Just for clarities sake maybe Bighand could also expedite the publishing of their 2008-2009 accounts as well. I think anyone who considers a hosted solution from them might want this as well. I would also guess that a few of their corporate customers might want to see these accounts publsihed too! Either way in my opinion with the tough current climate requesting an escrow may be a prudent approach for anyone buying anything from them until they fess up with the info.

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