x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

App of the Week: reQall offers text messages to remember

reQall is an app you will want to remember, because it will help you remember everything else.

reQall app screen shot.
reQall app screen shot.

Those of us plagued by chronic forgetfulness have been offered more than our fair share of "tough love" cures.

On special occasions, frustrated friends or family often hand us presents designed to get us organised, once and for all. We can hardly complain - it's not like we remembered to get them anything.

These gift-wrapped blows to our egos might come in the form of a watch, or a magnetised to-do list for the fridge, or an advice-filled book with a self-help guru on the cover whose bleached-white smile proves he must be on top of things, at least enough to have never missed a dental appointment.

But what our friends don't realise is being organised is a lifelong commitment, and almost all memory aids are way too little, and arrive way too late.

Yes, you can give me a leather-bound personal organiser in the hope that I'll never miss another appointment; you can also give me ballet slippers in the hope that I'll be ready for next year's auditions at the Bolshoi - but I wouldn't hold my breath.

The app

Fortunately, there's reQall (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android beta), a smartphone application that swings around our self-destructive natures to tell us what we're forgetting to do while there's still time to not forget to do it.

The main feature of both the free and paid service - US$2.99 (Dh10.98) a month or $24.99 a year - is a simple interface that lets you speak (or type) your date-specific plans whenever they pop into your head. Once it syncs to the cloud, the app sends your messages back to you with as much advance notice as you specify.

The free version sends reminders via e-mail or instant message, while the paid app can also text them to the centre of your universe - your smartphone.

The reQall app can distinguish key terms such as "10am Tuesday", "tomorrow", "next Sunday" and "every March 4". If it hears "buy", it will add the items that follow to a shopping list as well.

Think of it as a to-do list boomerang; you can no longer forget your wedding anniversary because the reminder you threw out about it will come back at the appropriate moment and slam into the back of your head if necessary.

The extras

Both the free and paid versions offer unlimited voice-to-text transcription and allow you to share reminders with anyone on your contact list. Both can sync with Google and Outlook calenders (via iCal only on the free version, directly in the paid version).

The paid app also offers a number of location-based services that react when you're near something you need to do, but I found it was a bit glitchy in the UAE. That could be for the best, however, because the last thing you want is for your smartphone to convince you that your dry cleaning is more important than oncoming traffic.

We all need to be safe - some of us have burgeoning ballet careers to think about.


Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae