Another application has jumped on the BlackBerry bandwagon, and it's about time. Former Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile users can now rejoice as your wait is finally over. Iambic has unleashed Agendus upon the BlackBerry world. Agendus is their award winning and powerful PIM (personal information manager) which permits you to manage your tasks, calendar, messages and more. From Iambic's site, it seems as though RIM and Iambic share quite a few similarities. To quote Iambic;
"Like Peanut Butter & Jelly, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Agendus and the BlackBerry are two great tastes that taste great together"
Even I couldn't come up with that. Moving on...
How organized are you? Sometimes I find it difficult to be organized, what with work, family and reviewing software for all of you users and abusers. I've been looking for some sort of solution to my problem. I need something, easy to manage and extremely versatile. Let's take a closer look at Agendus and see what the hype is all about...great...now I'm craving Reese's Peanut Butter Cups....
This review covers version 1.01, build 134. Once you have downloaded Agendus, the application gets to work right away. It will begin displaying information that it finds on your BlackBerry. So, if have any entries in your native Calendar, Tasks, Messages or more, Agendus will retrieve and incorporate the information. Hooray for saving time!! When Agendus is first opened, it will show you it's "Today View". This screen will display today's date (calendar access), tasks and recent messages. This view also grants you access to a daily quote, day in history and the weather forecast. There are oodles and oodles of views to utilize as well, depending on your needs:
One Day - a break down, hour by hour, of the tasks, meetings and appointments of the day.
Week View Grid / List - day by day overview of your schedule, available in two different views - I prefer the grid view
Month View - have a look at the current month or the months ahead. Move over a day and the bottom portion of the screen will give you a brief look at the agenda.
Task View - this view is very similar to the native BlackBerry Tasks application. View task status, mark tasks complete and group or filter tasks. You can create reminders for your tasks as well.
Contact View - there are two views; compact and expanded. Compact will give you the name, main number and type of number (home, work, mobile) of a contact.
Expanded will give you all of the contact's numbers and email addresses. In either view, you can click on a contact to view all of their information including birthdays, anniversaries or other calendar events. Contact view also lets you filter your contacts by category, quick search or alphabetically. Agendus will let you call, text or email a highlighted contact without booting you out as well.
To switch between these views, open up the menu and select "Go to view...". A popup appears, displaying the rest of the views. Highlight and select and you're on your way. During the review, I discovered another method; once you have browsed through all of the views (or the ones you use the most), press the back key and you will be able to cycle through the..um..viewed views over and over. Wheee!... oh, gotta stop.... getting dizzy. No matter which view you find yourself in, you can choose to add a new contact, task or appointment using the menu. If I was in the Task view and want to add a contact, I click menu then new. Here, I would select New Contact. The next screen lets me enter all of the information. Once saved, Agendus brought me back to the Task view.
Tasks and contacts listed in Agendus can be assigned color-codes; basically running a highlighter over them. This helps you distinguish between business or personal contacts and tasks. Now, instead of reading through all of the information, you can scan through a specific colour to find what you need immediately.
Agendus truly offers a full in-suite management solution. Unlike other products that require you to constantly switch back and forth between applications, Agendus clings on so you won't leave. The application offers true management over your contacts, tasks and more. This management would be reflected in both the native BlackBerry applications and Agendus. In other words, creating a contact in Agendus will create the contact in your native Address Book.
Agendus also takes its PIM solution one step further. When creating a new task or appointment, you are given the option to add a contact. Now, you may be thinking "Why should I add Mr. Smith as a contact to my lunch appointment when I can simply type "Lunch with Mr. Smith"? Well I'll tell you. By adding a contact to a task or appointment, you will now be able to contact them by highlighting their name on the task or calendar entry. How's that for minimizing application jumping??
Agendus has also proved to be (as Iambic also guarantees) "100% theme friendly". I threw various free and premium themes its way and I couldn't faze it. Instead, Agendus adapted to the current theme (adopting the theme's colour, style, etc). The application is also compatible with all newer models of BlackBerrys; Pearl, 88xx, Curve, Bold and (quoting their site) Kickstart. I know I know, Pearl Flip is the correct name, but Kickstart sounds so much better. For the ultimate Agendus experience, you may want to have a peek at Agendus for Windows Outlook and keep your mobile and pc in sync.
I nabbed the following section from Iambic's site, detailing the Parallels in RIM's and Iambic's history. I'm craving another Peanut Butter Cup, so while you have a read, I'll be stuffing my face.
- To start, both products are established industry veterans: The first BlackBerry was introduced in 1999. Agendus (in the form of Action Names) arrived in the market in 1994.
- RIM focused on making a device that was easy and intuitive to use. iambic built a strong reputation for designing robust, pragmatic solutions that work the way people do.
- RIM simplified things by using an "always on, always connected" approach with the BlackBerry, so the device user was did not need to take additional steps. iambic was one of the first companies to leverage over-the-air (OTA) capabilities for features in Agendus like Quote of the Day, Day in History, and Weather Forecast (you can even get weather 9 days in advance!).
- RIM made the BlackBerry relatively easy to deploy and manage within an organization. iambic designed Agendus to use the device's built-in data structure so there would be no duplication of effort. Changes made in the built-in calendar would be reflected in Agendus and vice versa. And updates can be accomplished easily OTA.
- RIM has continued to develop and refine their business smartphones over the years. iambic has been recognized for its commitment to continuously innovating and improving the customer experience, including recently being named Handango's Developer of the Year for Palm OS.
One Last View
Ease of use, powerful integration, multiple viewing options, all these add up to an application that has burrowed deep into my heart (quick call a medic!). Agendus has taken PIM to the next level. Colour-coding contacts and tasks, communicating with contacts from within the application, instant integration of existing information on your BlackBerry, Agendus offers it all. The only downfall I just have to report is in regards to some of the Today View's features. Occasionally, I'm unable to retrieve the Quote of the Day, Day in History or the Weather Forecast. Hopefully a fix is in the works because then I could give Agendus a perfect score. Agendus is available at the CrackBerry Store for $19.95 and a free trial is available. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some personal information to manage....let's see.. pick up more Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...high priority..
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