Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Catch - Homescreen

What began as 3Banana Notes, with a very simple and easy-to-use interface, changed its name to Catch. With the name change, came a completely revamped UI, with several extended functionalities. But it maintains its simplicity, and attempts to provide users with a one-stop solution for keeping memos, lists, taking notes and just simply trying to remember, say, the lyrics to the song you’re listening to at Café Coffee Day, so that you could head home and download it later (Trust us, we’ve done similar things!)

With all its features and niceties, does Catch Notes bring more to the table than other competing note-taking Apps that may be available in the Android Market? What exactly are the features of Catch Notes? What all can I do with Catch Notes? If these (and other) questions are swirling inside your head, read on to find out our own views of Catch Notes, for Android.

Look and Feel

Catch - List of Notes

The App looks good. Straight off the bat, we can tell you that. When it used to be 3Banana, it had a very “fun” but not-very-appealing appearance. We don’t know what exactly motivated the name change, and the complete overhaul of the UI, but we just wish that the same happens to every single piece of not-so-nice-looking, useful software out there. It has an uncluttered, clean interface. The screenshot posted at the beginning of this article is the interface that is presented to you when you open Catch notes after installing it on your Android phone. As you keep adding notes in Catch, this “welcome” screen keeps getting pushed downwards. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the “Simplify your life with Catch Notes” line which is the first line in the Welcome screen has been pushed to the bottom, after we added four (test!) notes, in the screenshot above this paragraph. The three buttons at the top-right allow you to (from left to right) synchronise your notes with your Catch.com online account (we’ll get into the details in a while), add a photo note, add a text note. Tap on any existing note to view it; tap and hold to view options for existing notes, such as Edit, Copy, Set Reminder, Attach image, Pin to home screen, or Delete. And that’s it. We love this simplicity!


General Usage

Catch - New photo note

As we saw, tapping on the camera icon at the top-right of the homescreen allows us to create a “Photo” note. Which then brings us this screen above – with options to choose an image from the Gallery, or to take a new photo with the phone’s camera. Let’s look at adding text notes, and other features of Catch Notes, below.


Creating and editing Notes

Catch - New note  Catch - Note

Tapping the plus icon on the homescreen brings us to the screen above, where we can start typing in. It’s really the quickest way to start a new note; tap the Catch icon on your Android phone’s homescreen, tap the plus icon within the Catch Notes app – and you’re ready to start typing in your new note. The App uses the default keyboard from your Android phone (like most Apps), so if you’ve got a custom keyboard installed (Hello Slideit!) then that’s what you’ll get here. As you can see from the screenshots above, while creating the note, you’re given options to add an image either directly taken from the camera, or an existing image from the gallery. The third icon to the right of the “Save” button gives the nifty feature of scanning in barcodes. If you’re crazy about barcodes, and want to note down something for later – this little feature’s made just for you. It is possible that this feature requires the Barcode Scanner app to be installed from the Market; since we already had the app installed, we aren’t too sure if that’s a necessity or not.


Organising your notes

Catch - Tags

Tags are an awesome way to group your notes, if you frequently make all kinds of notes. If you’ve used Twitter a bit, you’d know about hashtags – basically, the concept is to place a hash symbol (#) in front of any word, to make that word a hashtag. Since Catch Notes doesn’t have a built-in search function, it gets around this by using hashtags. Tag anything you want, and you can later tap on it from any note (it will automatically become a link when you place the hash symbol in front of text) and view all notes which have that particular hashtag, as displayed in the screenshot above (We searched for the tag #Indian )

If you switch on location settings from within the settings for Catch Notes, each note would be recorded with the current location of the phone, using available locating methods (if GPS is not switched on, it uses cellular triangulation), which is pretty neat.

If you’re bored of the way Catch displays the list of notes in its homescreen, you can order them by date/time created, date/time modified or by alphabetical order – each in ascending or descending order. You can also edit a few viewing details, as to the size of the font displayed in the list, the number of lines of each note to be previewed, and so on.

Now, if you’re the kind of person who likes to store a list of phone numbers of all your secret lovers, then you wouldn’t want anyone to get at that list would you? (In all likelihood, you’re going to want to make a list of gadgets to buy, and keep that secret from everyone) This is definitely a need, cos in India (not you reader, of course – only a few people out there), the primary thing that folk do when they take a look at your phone is to see your Contacts, Messages and Photos. If they see you’ve got Notes as well, you’re a goner. Anyways, Catch gives you the option of setting a numerical passcode, which would then need to be entered when opening Catch Notes. Pretty cool, eh?! Yeah, we think so too.



Catch - Welcome to Catch website

Online synchronisation is the best thing to happen for Catch notes, in our opinion. When 3Banana began, it didn’t have online sync. When 3Banana was reborn as Catch Notes, online sync was added, and how. It is so seamless and brilliant, that we’ve never had to worry about our Notes going for a toss. When we updated the phone to Android 2.1, when the phone was re-flashed with the update, etc. Everytime, we just need to download and re-install Catch Notes from the Android Market, and then – Voila! – all our Notes are synchronised back from the Catch.com website to our phone. The Note in the screenshot above, is automatically created when you have created a Catch.com account, and synchronised it with the Catch Notes app.

Have a look at the two screenshots below, showing the main Catch.com website and the login page to access your Catch.com online account – it’s free, completely, and you can even use your Google account to sign in, if you’re unwilling (read: too lazy, like us!) to sign up for a new account.

Catch website - Home  The Catch.com website


Catch website - Login  The login page for Catch.com

We know some of you are instantly wondering about what all you can do at Catch.com with your notes. Allow us the pleasure of informing you that you can do everything that can be done in the App – editing, tagging, modifying, viewing – plus, it’s so much easier since you can use your computer to type.

Trust us, this is useful when you hastily type something in Catch while on the move, and then, when you get to a PC, you can edit the Note however you want, and format it at leisure, as required. Check out two screenshots – of the list of Notes that is presented as soon as you login, and the expanded list of Notes that can be viewed by clicking the ‘Settings’ button at the top-right, just above the list of Notes, and selecting the option to “expand all”. (We scrolled down the list, so that you could see the four custom Notes we made, instead of the ‘Welcome to Catch.com’ note!)

Catch website - List of notes  The homescreen after you login to your account at Catch.com


Catch website - List of notes, expanded   The Notes, in expanded view


Final Thoughts

In wrapping up, we’d like to say that Catch Notes has really been a very useful tool to quickly shelve away useful pieces of info. If you’re looking for a Notes solution for your Android phone, and would love to have online synchronisation, ease of use, and simplicity, then we’d say “Get Catch Notes”. If you’re not looking for such an App, and you’re still reading this article, we’d still say “Get Catch Notes”. Every update that the guys behind Catch.com have put out has improved the App considerably. With guys like this behind this App, we can say for certain that things will get better and better with time; as for now, the Catch Notes app is just plain flawless.


silva said...

Very good!

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