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Summary:

Pocket Informant has finally come to the iPad in the form of Pocket Informant HD. Pocket Informant brings integrated calendaring and task management to the big touchscreen. More importantly, it brings background syncing with desktop clients (Windows and Mac) and the cloud. Exchange syncing is planned.

PI Week View

Pocket Informant may be one of the longest running apps for handheld devices. Austin-based WebIS has been distributing the integrated Personal Information Manager (PIM) program since long before the smartphone was around. The program has evolved over the years and has finally come to the iPad in the form of Pocket Informant HD. Pocket Informant (PI) brings integrated calendaring and task management to the big touchscreen. More importantly, it brings background syncing with desktop clients and the cloud.

WebIS has employed a tabbed planner interface for PI, and it works well. The interface is attractive while keeping common functions at the user’s fingertip. There are four tabs running down the right side of the “page” — Today, Calendar, Tasks and Settings. The app makes good use of both portrait and landscape orientations by changing the display accordingly.

Today Tab

The Today tab is where many users will spend a lot of time. It is a page that aggregates everything pertaining to today, both calendar events and tasks. It’s a simple list of what to expect to happen each day, and remind you what needs to get done. A nice touch is that PI adds a section for attendees when the schedule shows a meeting. It adds a list of attendees for all of the day’s meetings to show at a glance who you will interact with that day.

Calendar Tab

The calendar tab gives full access to all scheduling and planning needs. There are four calendar views accessible via buttons on the top of the display: List, Days, Week and Month. The List view is a rolling agenda view of both events and tasks by due date. Days view shows a week at a time with events blocked out over the scheduled times. Week view shows seven days in a graphical style, with the current day at the top of the screen. Month view shows the entire month with each day’s events in the proper day’s block.

Tasks Tab

Task management is an important part of keeping track of the day, and this tab is where that is controlled. It is a task list grouped by due dates or priority (configurable), and tapping an event opens the editor. As in the calendar views, the task list can be filtered to only display those tasks of interest. You can filter to display only overdue tasks, or those due either today or tomorrow. There are lots of filters available to give the user focus over task lists that are out of control.

Settings Tab

The Settings tab gives total control over all aspects of PI. There is a settings section for each tab so each can be tailored to fit user preferences, along with general program settings. Of particular interest is the Sync Settings section, as that is where the power of PI can be leveraged.

Syncing

The advantage of PI over the standard iPad calendar lies in two areas: the integration of the calendar with tasks, and the ability to have PI sync those functions with outside sources. The PI calendar can be synced to desktop clients (Outlook, iCal) and to Google Calendar online. Tasks can be synced to the online service Toodledo. Development is planned to add Exchange support and full OS X support in the future.

This ability to wirelessly sync both calendars and tasks online and to the desktop is something iPad owners have longed to have since the appearance of the device. Having this powerful capability included in an app that facilitates working with the calendar and tasks is icing on the cake.

Summary

Pocket Informant HD has only been out for a day, and I’ve been using it since I bought it. I have shared how I use the iPad as my electronic organizer, and PI has taken over that role already. I fire up the app and head to the Today tab to get a feel for what to expect from my day. I bounce between the calendar and tasks tabs as needed. It is so much better having both of these critical functions integrated in one program. It was getting tiring bouncing between two apps to do the same thing previously. PI is available in the App Store for $6.99, but will go up to the normal price of $12.99 soon.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

  1. I like the program, but it crashed on me about 3 times after I installed. Have you seen that in your usage?

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    1. Not crashed yet (fingers crossed). Anything consistent in your crashes?

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  2. Similar boat. Three crashes so far, all at various points of calendar syncing. Still, looks promising.

    -Rob D.

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  3. Nothing consistent. I sent a service request to Web-IS and received a prompt reply. I sent them a log which the program captures and they have sent me some instructions to try. I haven’t had time to play with it yet, but I appreciate their prompt email support.

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    1. I’ve always found their support to be very good. That’s one reason I’ve bought every version for every platform they’ve ever released. :)

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  4. Thanks for the info on the app. Went ahead and downloaded it and grabbed a toodledo account as well. Love the integration and the overall look and feel of the app so far. Also, I have been playing around with it for an hour and I am yet to experience a crash.

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  5. This is great to hear. I’ve also used PI on my Windows phones and have wanted a version for my iPad.

    Does it have any of the cross-pollination that is in the other versions (for example, linking a task to a calendar event or linking a contact to an event or task)?

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  6. It’s for apps like this that I really really want an iPad. Man, does the app ever look like my old favourite Lotus Agenda.

    Anyway, your review inspired me to look up Pocket Informant and see that they have an iPhone/iPod touch version. Which I promptly bought – very nice. I can make it do almost exactly what I want (I’m already a hardcore google calendar and toodledo user). Very nice; thanks for the review!

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  7. James. Will this thing sync with my iPhone version?

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    1. No, but it syncs to the same sources as tithe iPhone version.

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  8. Very nice review of PI James. This is what I have been waiting as well. I also have been using ToDo, and the iCal and having to back and forth is not as great as PI, a one stop shop. ;)

    I will download the app as we are out at Mammoth Lakes camping and relaxing in the fresh out doors. It’s great out here.

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  9. I purchased this app because I needed a more detailed calendar/scheduling tool for my ipad. I’m very disappointed that I can’t sync my outlook desk top calendar or my blackberry calendar with this app. now i have to retype everything :(

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    1. I believe it does sync with Outlook.

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  10. I like the look of this, but can you confirm if you can sync multiple Google calendars – I have a few that I would like to see in one place (which I’ve done on the native app) but want tasks too….

    Thanks

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    1. I have multiple calendars syncing fine.

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      1. Have installed, and it’s great. Have noticed a few bugs where the edit opens full screen, and the only way out is to shut the app down; otherwise, it does exactly what I need.

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