Review: Phone Assistant by Pageonce for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 29 Apr 2010 11:53 am EDT
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I think everyone should have a personal assistant; even a personal assistant needs one sometimes. How many times do we watch a movie or TV show and see the typical boss/assistant conversation? You know, you’ve seen them conversing while hastily walking to a meeting or waiting cab- quick updates and instructions are traded and a caffeinated beverage is passed on. It’s awkward, it’s funny and it’s a tired stereotypical work relationship. If an individual is that busy, they will obviously be using a smartphone to send and receive updates and other messages. It makes for a much more accessible and obedient assistant. The question is; who is going to pass them their much needed java? All joking aside, if you find that your time and attention is becoming more and more in demand, you are going to need all the help that you can get.

Before posting an employment opportunity online, you should check out the aptly named Personal Assistant application. Instead of sucking up, Personal Assistant gets right down to business and keeps you in the know, when you need to know. Before I assign it a parking spot on my BlackBerry, I had to make sure Personal Assistant passed the probation period.

About Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant is available as a free application, as well as a premium one. We will look at what each offer later on. Both versions were developed by Pageonce, Inc. Launched in June of 2008, they specialize in personal information management applications. The current version for both free and premium is 2.5. The file size is approximately 476KB. BlackBerry App World states that all devices are currently supported. In order to use Personal Assistant, you need to sign up for a free account. You can do so directly from the application, or from the Pageonce website.

Think of Personal Assistant as the answer to “What can I keep track of”? Essentially, Pageonce sorts the vast number of potential accounts and such, that you can track into 6 categories; Travel, Finance, Social, Utilities, Email and Shopping.


list of accounts

These categories are filed under the Accounts section of the main menu. Personal Assistant makes use of icons to help you differentiate between these categories; for example, Utilities are marked with a light bulb and Email with an envelope- you can easily access various types of accounts and check on their status. This doesn’t work for all types of accounts; Twitter functionality and appearance are both quite limited. Where Personal Assistant really soars (in my opinion), is with accounts such as my Rogers Wireless. I had nearly instant access to my account balance and usage for every line on my account. I was able to see due dates, cycle end dates, as well as progress bars representing data, voice and SMS usage. Who wouldn’t want to see what kind of damage they have done to their monthly plan? It’s also nice to get reminders when the bill is due, so you can avoid late fees.


account details

Besides the Accounts section, from the main menu you can also check financial transactions, financial balances and credit cards.


main menu

In order to ensure secure, private access to your accounts, Pageonce offers a high level of security by including 128 bit SSL systems, firewalls and 256 bit data encryption. This offers peace of mind, especially when you are dealing with your finances. I was impressed with how easily I could check on the balance of my bank account, credit cards and investments. The application is smart enough to not display your full account or credit card numbers, deterring any prying eyes that may be looking over your shoulder. They may know how much you have, but they won’t know where to get it. Personal Assistant also includes transaction history, so you can see where your money is going, when transactions happen and the amount of each transaction. You’ll have a tighter grip on your checkbook when you can easily see if you have been charged correctly or not.


account balances

shopping spree?

If there are any changes to your accounts that Pageonce believes you need to know, you will be notified. For example; you may receive an email informing you that your credit card is within 10% of its credit limit. If you want to keep track of your itinerary, you are able to view weather information and travel details. Now with all this account accessibility what happens if your BlackBerry is lost or stolen? No problem. All you have to do is head over to the Pageonce site and enable their Self Data Destruct feature. All points of access to your accounts will then be severed, locking them out.

For more control, you can purchase the Premium version for $6.99. The Premium version is ad free, gives you flight information in real time, lets you manage unlimited accounts and provides you with an “exclusive” PIN number for added security. There are thousands, upon thousands of accounts you can access. If you don’t see your desired account on the list, PageOnce welcomes you to request it and the information you wish to obtain from it.


adding a new account

Conclusion

Personal Assistant is the key to accessing and managing accounts and details that are important to you. Set up and functionality are both a breeze, allowing you to focus on the information at your fingertips. While it isn’t the ideal solution to access all of your accounts (i.e. Twitter), it is a great way to manage more important items, like your finances. Whether you go for the free or premium version for $6.99, Personal Assistant will help you keep on track and in check. Both versions are available through BlackBerry App World. Now where’s that latte?!?

Pros

  • High level of security
  • Quick Access to your accounts
  • Manage finances and travel details

Cons

  • Not perfect for all types of accounts

More Info

32 comments

jsn204

ive had it for over a year and a half, purchased it when they were naming the app 'pageonce'

great/easy way to check your banking/credit cards/utilities/phone bills

i also like the push reminders, of payment due reminders

its definitely an essential app that i use, and install it all the time on every os restore/install

roninksb

I'm a big fan of the application as well but the push notifications are not working properly for me. In fact, I have unchecked push notifications in the app and I still get the notices in messages which link to nothing.

bad_boy321

I've had this since it was Pageonce as well and absolutely love the application. Reminders, real time account info...can't beat it especially when you're always on the go. I certainly recommend it.

Cornbo

Purchased the premium version after trying out the free version for a while. I have a lot of great things to say about this app. Nearly all of my accounts were available, only our local utilities were unavailable. I'd recommend everyone give the free version a try, if it meets your needs as it did mine, the Premium version will not disappoint!

grimball

Purchased premium a year ago and "macys credit card" is still the recently added...
Have submitted MY banks, and still no joy.

blueyestm

my beef is that it is only on appworld...i will have to wait until it hits mobihand if ever, otherwise too bad

nimocone#CB

Go here on your 'Berry: m.pageonce.com

k2kool18#CB

This app doesn't have great functionality. I've had the paid version for over a year and haven't been to impressed with it. It is very slow for me, not all accounts on on here, and the push notifications don't work. Its been awhile since an update so hopefully one will coem out soon and fix some problems

roninksb

Ryan, that is one whopping phone bill you have there. I though my bill was high, I guess I am wrong. If you don't mind me asking, how many people are on your account?

Ryan Blundell

If you're talking about the very first image, it's a screenshot provided by Pageonce. My Rogers bill is further down with a balance of zero.

roninksb

yep. I was referring to the first screenshot.

jsnewman0

surprisingly bills like that can add up pretty quickly, i think my parents had a bill in that price range, but that was with 6 people, 2 of which were primary lines and all were blackberries.

dont worry we are all paying for our own data now though (we as in the kids)

glaz

Most of the time I was praying it would be (just) $300! That was with two Blackberries. Now there's only ONE Blackberry and a different carrier! :)

Nick.net

Hopefully they fixed the push notifications. In the previous version, even with push disabled I would get 1-3 messages a day. So annoying. Contacted customer support and they said "it'll be fixed in the new revision" which to me means I'm uninstalling the annoying app. It was useful but not worth the headache. Hopefully its better now.

Nick.net

Also, it would be much more functional if you could login to a website to input all this information. The info you need to setup accounts is quite large, and really difficult to input on the blackberry. If I could setup/alter from the web and just view on the bb, it would be MUCH more intuitive.

dbroeman

I input all of my information at: www.pageonce.com

It automatically translates to the phone application once you log in.

D-

damojo

The app doesn't multitask. If you use the application switcher to check a message for example, you have to reopen the app and have it load everything again. Otherwise its very nice :). I've been using mobile minutes tracker but now that this has Canadian banks and utilities, I'll switch over to this

roninksb

This done on purpose, for security. The idea is that if it stayed open then anyone that picked up your phone would have access to your account information. I do agree it is a bit of a pain and a timeout would do the trick, would be less of an inconvenience and would allow jumping back and forth on those occasions when you need to do something else but not done with the app.

yellowxboy

you didnt go and mention about their push notifications that DON'T work..

meesh.au

I used the free version for a couple months. For the accounts that do come up, it worked well, but it doesn't have the credit cards from any banks in Canada.

brades

works fine for my BMO and CIBC credit cards

kimmarquis

Actually installed that app couple days ago and its a Godsend, loving,it I used the minute tracker from then at first but the personal assistant is just all in one. I know my debit balance, balance with Telus and email. Only thing is I can't fully click on hotmail msgs but that's very minor. I get all the headers I rate it 8.5..Maybe More. Definitely a worthwhile download and did I mention its freeeee

darse11

I have had this app for about a month and find it really useful. I agree with the previous comment about the lack of multitasking being annoying, but otherwise it works very well and has a surprising number of accounts available.

rockigirl

I've had this app since it was called pageonce and it has been wonderful. I have absolutely no issues with the push notifications, there is no lag, and all my accounts are available. This app has saved me quite a few times with a bill due date or going over my minutes.

BB Musketeers

I switched from a Palm Treo to the Blackberry 8520. There is much I miss about my Treo 755p as well as some of the software I had, but I never had anything as useful as this app. I bought the premium version of this app around February, when it was on sale and I would say it is one of my favorite apps and has paid for itself through saving me a couple times. I highly recommend it.

gmz73

This is one of first Apps I downloaded on my curve. The free version suits my needs. I would get the paid but they still haven't added my bank : (

Boogies_Blackberry

I have this app - love it! Keeps me on track.

stevejb

But doesn't have many banks and also displays currency in dollars

Shame

bgriff25

I downloaded this app about a month ago and so far it's a been great. I was able to access all the accounts I needed to i.e. electric, cable, bank. It took a little while to set up and you need to have online accounts allready established with whatever account you want to add. My favorite feature is the push notifcations, and the fact that I can instantly see when the cable and elec. bills are due.

devGOD

what's the difference between the Free and Paid version other that security? My BB auto password locks and I never leave it laying around. so the Free version is perfect for me but I'd still like to know if I should consider the Paid version.

JonB74

As long as you don't mind all of your personal financial info being accessed by a single point. You give Pageonce all of your account numbers, passwords, etc and it aggregates the data into a single place.

flipperwi

With the exception of Netflix and Sprint they don't work with any of my accounts. I found it pointless.