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BlackBerry Apps of the week
Productivity apps are tools that we use daily to maximize our time. They can bring enhanced functionality to existing features or create new ones to get the job done. In the case of the former, one BlackBerry 10 developer focused his attention on creating a full-featured voice recorder application.
While a case could be made that it already exists on BlackBerry 10, albeit hidden away in the Remember app, nothing wrong with improving up on it. Echo is the result of those labors, and besides sporting a nifty cassette tape interface, boasts a multitude of features not found in the BlackBerry 10 one. All of which are designed to better categorize, arrange, share, secure, and manage your voice notes.
First and foremost, Echo is designed to allow you quick access to play, record, and share your audio recordings. It accomplishes this, in part, to the user-friendly and Guardians of the Galaxy like retro interface. When launched for the first time, a tutorial guides you through the process of customizing notes with color coded categories, setting up the app and audio settings including backup / restore options, and establishing the password status. These are also available in settings and can be modified at any time.
Unlike the native voice recorder where you have to go through the Remember app, Echo is a stand-alone application. All of your notes are recorded and sorted from the main screen. Simply tap record to initiate and then stop when finished. Users may also limit the recording time (i.e. 5 min, 10 min) in settings.
Once a recording is completed, it is shown on the main screen. I like this as I do not have to go through separate menus to access. From here users have a few options at their disposal. At the top they can sort by ascending or descending, while at the bottom the side menu allows for search, access to categories, backup/restore, record, and the option to import notes from elsewhere on the device. The last one I prefer as I can transfer notes recorded in Remember to manage as well.
To manage each individual note, simply press and hold on each one for additional options. These include sharing by mail, NFC, BBM, edit a note, as well as note details, export note, and locking the note. Locking enables users to password protect not only the note (to prevent it from being played by unwelcome people) but also to protect the application on startup if necessary. Note details provide the standard information attached to the file if present. Exporting the note lets you save outside the application to the device, SD card, or cloud accounts.
As a simple voice recorder it gets the job done and is free to download. The only difference between this version and the full version, available as an in-app purchase for $0.99, is that the premium removes the banner ads.
While there is a plethora of voice recording applications available, this one offers decent functionality and customization, is user-friendly, and offers a nice, intuitive interface.