Using the iMate SP3 Smartphone (AKA Orange C500, Audiovox SMT5600) as an input device for MS Outlook by Pete Rooney (aka Road Runner)
I’ve had this phone now for around 6 months, and it seems like I’ve stumbled on an easily missed benefit.
A lot of people get excited by the software that’s available for Smartphones, and all of their amazing features, but the use I get most from my phone is as an input device to Outlook on my PC. You see, I have a terrible memory, but during the day, when I’m in the office, I use the Outlook calendar to remedy that – it tells me what I need to do, and when I need to do it. Problem solved.
It’s when I’m away from the office, either because I’m on the road, or simply in the evening when I’m watching TV, that the problems strike. I’ll suddenly think "oh, I must remember to do that tomorrow". In the past that would often mean that I’d forget what it was I needed to do by the time I’d found a pen and paper to make a note, or if I did manage to get it written down, I’d tend to forget to actually look at the note the next day!
Now that I have the Smartphone, all that’s behind me. For one, I always have it with me. I don’t know if you’re the same, but these days it doesn’t matter where I am, my phone is with me. This means that when I think "I must do this tomorrow", then I know I have a device with me that is capable of recording that fact. I could use a voice note, but then I’d have to remember to look at it. No, the way I’ve settled on is the humble calendar. It is just so easy, 3 clicks and I am writing a new entry. I don’t bother with the time of the entry (I can change that later) or anything like that, just as long as it is in tomorrows page, and I know that when I plug it in to sync tomorrow, the entry will appear, even if I’ve long forgotten that I’d even written it. If it is more important, then I have the option to add an alarm to it, though to be honest, seeing it on the calendar page of Outlook is often sufficient.
Now I know there are plenty of other phones with calendar functions, but it is the synchronization, and integration with Outlook, that makes this work so well. When I’m away from the office, I can check what I should be doing on the phone, but mainly I’m using this simply as a great way to get the information I need into the PC, where I can act on it as needed.
As a final aside to this, the notes field of the address book (or calendar if you prefer) is fantastic for getting details of meetings you’ve had, into the relevant part of Outlook on the PC. It’s great to sit in the car after the meeting, and quickly add the notes, before you forget, and once again, that info will appear in Outlook on the PC when you next sync. Of course if you’ve taken a PC or other into the meeting, this may not be needed, but there are many less formal meetings, where this can come in handy.
In short, there are some fantastic applications for this device, and it can be all too easy to overlook the basic, built in apps, but to do so would mean missing out on some excellent organizational tools. In my case, I think I’d be hard pushed to run my life without it!