I found about the aangel service this week, while talking to my contact at Vodafone. I saw him using his mobile phone as a note recording device a couple of time and thought to myself "Yeah, right. Another note recording program on a mobile phone". How wrong. He asked if I knew the service, and when I said no, he explained it to me. It's interesting how it works, bringing mobile devices and PIM (Personal Information Manager software) together. I promptly visited the site and after a couple of e-mails I had a test account setup.
To use the service you sign up on the aangel web site. Charging for the service is based on a single monthly fee, plus any calls you place to actually use it. Currently this service is only available to Vodafone New Zealand customers, and all charges go directly to a Vodafone account.
To use it simply dial 808 from a registered mobile phone. The system will recognise your mobile phone number and play a beep. You can then simply say a couple of keywords, and the information you want recorded.
For example, in the test call for this article I said "New contact, Juliette Stewart, Acme Cars, Manager, 021555555, fax 021555555", including a slight pause on ",". In a matter of seconds I've got a SMS with a link to an URL where I could download a .vcs file.
The SMS with link to open on Pocket Internet Explorer
In my case I'm using a Windows Mobile Smartphone, and the link will open on Pocket Internet Explorer. When I click the link, the Smartphone opens the browser and downloads the file. Immediately after it asks if I want to open it and add to my Contact list:
Saving a new contact
The information on my PIM
You can see on the screenshots that the aangel service correctly identified the key elements of my new contact and put in there correctly. But that's not all. Users have the option of using "New Task" and "New Appointment" commands. Their web site lists the type of information recognised by the service.
As a confirmation, there's also an e-mail sent to the e-mail address registered on the account. The e-mail comes with the .vcs or .cal file, and a link to a .wav file where the user can hear the original recording, as a note taking recorder would do.
An e-mail with the information
This is actually a cool service. I imagine some users will have problems using a mobile phone keypad to enter this kind of information fast enough, and most of these users would like not to worry about jotting down this information on a PDA. What other way could be quicker than recording a note or new contact with your own voice, and receive a small file in a standard format ready to use with a variety of different PIM software?