Developer: IAMBIC
Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 2.3
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Shall we all take a brief moment to remember the glory days of Palm Pilots and Palm OS? Those days may be gone, but there are still apps and developers looking to translate their Palm successes to the iPhone. One of the most recent translations is also one of the biggest from the good old days of Palm: Agendus.

Agendus attempts to pull together all of the disparate elements of the classic PIM into a tidy iPhone package. The app contains a multi-functional calendar with full Google Calendar sync, a task or to-do list creator/editor, and a contact manager. On top of that, Agendus’ home screen also provides a quote of the day, a “This Day in History” factoid and the current weather forecast for your location. The ability to edit and create events and have them sync with your Google Calendars is certainly helpful, but I was most immediately taken with the “extended view” for contacts, which allows you to view your list of contacts with their photos, email addresses and phone numbers present as well. This way, it’s easy to look up a contact and with one click connect to him/her via any of the email addresses or phone numbers you have stored for that person. Shouldn’t this already be possible in the iPhone’s existing contacts app? Agendus certainly has the right idea with this.

Google Calendar sync is quick and seamless – probably one of the fastest syncs I’ve seen yet – and I like how you can view a full year’s calendar on one screen. Small black dots are under any date that has an event scheduled, so it’s easy to see where you’ve already committed yourself and where you have open space on your calendar.

The task list is not particularly impressive, in that it isn’t very different from a hundred other task list apps I’ve seen over the years. However, I give Agendus credit for including a decent and functional one that works with the other parts of this suite.

At first glance, I was very impressed with Agendus. But upon extended use, I discovered several dismaying aspects of the app that simply need to be remedied as quickly as possible. For instance, when I tried to use the visual calendar editor to extend the time of an upcoming meeting, the app created another event concurrent with the one already present. Then, when I tried to delete this new event, it created ANOTHER event. I think I ended up with about four or five events happening at roughly the same time, and I still don’t know how to delete them. Then, I began worrying that those new events had been synced to my Google Calendars, so it really created quite a little dilemma.

Likewise, when I tried to edit an event’s details using the typing function, the keyboard came up but obscured some of the necessary commands and functions I needed. I could never figure out how to reach those commands, so I just gave up. While I understand that this is still a work in progress, and that there are bugs to work out in almost every app, there are two points to consider. One: Agendus is a productivity app. Any app that makes this claim, then hinders productivity by its very design flaws, is difficult to trust. And two: Agendus is expensive (by app store standards, at least). At $7.99, it ought to do what it claims to do with only minor reports of trouble. This, alas, is not the case.

My final concern is with the general look of the app. It certainly does many different things, but it doesn’t look or feel as sophisticated as I think it should. The colors are very muted (dull blues and greens) and the entire presentation feels extremely utilitarian. I understand that a productivity app is all about getting things done, but can’t those same things get done with a little more style. Apple inherently knows this. Agendus still has the look and feel of an earlier Palm app and it’s definitely in need of a look and feel overhaul.

I really wanted to like Agendus. I really did. I’m a teacher when I’m not blogging, and I keep all of my daily classroom events on separate Google Calendars. I want and need a way to have perfect access to this information whenever I am away from my computer. Agendus is not the solution I’ve been looking for. In its present state, I can’t see making it my default client for all of my productivity needs. It has great potential, no doubt, but this is one app that should still be in the developer’s workshop.


Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Productivity, Reviews

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