A wish list for the App Store to keep track of recommendations
With the amount of apps available on the App Store tackling every possible problem in your daily routines, getting excited about something new is almost impossible. Let's face it, there are more solutions than problems that need to be fixed. If there's something that excites me is when a new app arrives and questions the way you were doing the things you never put much thought into it. Then you realise your way of fixing a problem can be more efficient, intuitive or just more pleasing to the eye. This app is one of those.
Recall by Overcommitted wants to help you remember all those recommendations from friends you would normally jot down on a to-do list, write on a sticky note or even email to yourself. This is an app to remind you of the content you might want to indulge yourself with. For me this makes sense and it's a good justification to keep this away from your work GTD app, full of boring things.
Let's say someone is talking about a song by a band you really want to check out but don't have the time right now. Or that movie trailer that impressed you at the cinema and are worried about forgetting its name. Perhaps it's a book that keeps mentioned in a radio show. Recall allows you to create a list of the movies, music, apps and books you want to keep track of.
By simply typing a recommendation, Recall will populate a list with matching options from the iTunes stores. Search is intelligent, so you can type a book author, a song name, an app developer and it will try to find what you're after. Recall isn't clever enough to suggests alternatives when you misspell a word: peaking at the list of matching items as you type can be useful to avoid confusions here.
Recovering horizontal scrolling on the App Store
Once you select an item, Recall displays a beautifully renders product page including App Store star ratings, description, screenshots and external website links among others. This is a novel way to curate lists and navigate though the App Store content in a more familiar list view. For your of us still not very happy with the loading speed of the new App Store format and it's horizontal scrolling, this can be a nice alternative.
If you've ever tried to open a link to an iPad-only app on your iPhone you'll know the App Store will just give you a straight no: "App name is only available on Apple iPad" saying this app is not compatible with your device, instructing you to consult the app product page on an iPad or iTunes on your computer. Recall is an excellent way to workaround this issue as it will provide information for iPad and Mac apps, otherwise invisible for your iPhone.
It's obvious that some attention to detail went into the visual aspect of the app. The menu bars use a similar shade of graphite black used in the new App Store, giving you the impression recall is made for accessing iTunes content. It's a buying companion after all.
The data entry aspect is rather quick and straight forward. The buttons on the bottom menu are familiar and remind you of the store you're searching. These disappear once your entered your keywords on the search field, giving extra real estate to display the results on a table view.
In a real testing scenario I would like to see more visual feedback. When adding a movie recommendation, I quickly found what my friend was referring to but could not show him a full screen version of the poster to confirm this was the right choice. I would have liked to have some additional links like IMDB for films (you get RottenTomatoes score) or even Wikipedia.
Shy app, doesn't want to talk to others
There's the option to set a reminder for each of the items, but I felt this was redundant. I don't care that much about push notifications. What I'm missing though, is some type of integration with the native Reminders app so these lists could sync and stay updated via iCloud. There's no way to export your lists either although the option to send an email with the movies to watch during the Christmas holiday could come in very handy.
Despite being optimised for iOS, Recall doesn't use the convenient App Store preview that slides up when you click on an iTunes link in Mail, for instance. This is one of my favourite features as I don't like my iPhone to suddenly switch apps without permission.
As far a content curation tools for iPhone go, Recall is a beautiful option that makes search and discovery enjoyable. Buyers of virtual good are used to wish lists that are surprisingly absent in iOS. I love selecting things I might want to buy later. Going though a wish list and buy something to treat yourself is very enjoyable. Recall joins your celebratory mood of indulgence in a big way.
There are other alternatives focused on app discovery that allow you to track changes and create your lists, such as AppShopper, which I find superior. This is the first app I've seen using every type of content sold on Apple's stores, including Mac software. The majority of my money spent in iTunes goes to apps, followed by movie rentals. I'll keep the app for reminding me about movies, although it misses some nice features such a video playback for trailers seen in Todo Movies.
Recall is a well-executed good idea. There are ways you can solve the problem of remembering recommendations and this app offers an stylish, quick and consistent experience.
Note: One of the caveats is the limitation to the US market. I suspect the app is using affiliate links to earn some commission on the recommendations it sends to iTunes, but this shouldn't be an excuse not to launch internationally. Also, the app has been struggling to display information on New Releases and Top Charts lately but I don't mention it on the review as I guess it's a temporary issue.
Recall - Reminders for Recommendations
As noted in my review in October, Recall - Reminders for Recommendations was launched exclusively in the US market. In a new update today the app has been made available in 60 different countries and 7 languages. At the moment of this writing it's being featured in the Productivity category in the UK, so hopefully this will make it more visible to the people that read about it a couple of weeks ago and could not get them in their home App Store.