Business card scanners are usually a huge disappointment. But thanks to cell phones with cameras, there’s some hope. I just tested LinkedIn’s CardMunch app for iPhone on my new iPhone 4s (will probably work on the iPad2, but I don’t have one of those…) and the results were good!
The first time you open the app, it will ask for your LinkedIn user information (if you’re not a LinkedIn member, you’ll be asked to create an account). Then you’re ready to go. Place the business card on a flat surface, line it up in the app’s card frame then snap the photo.
If all looks good, submit the card to LinkedIn where it will be transcribed (by a real person!) then the contact data will be sent back to you. (You can select Push notifications during set up which will let you know when it’s been transcribed.) In my test, it took about 10 minutes to get the card transcribed, but I’ve read that it can take up to an hour.
The biz card images remains in the app so you can always refer to it – and you can add notes for each business card. But you can also send the contact info to your iPhone Contacts or forward the contact info by email (the card image and a Vcard is sent). From within the app, you can send an email or make a call. And, if the contact has a LinkedIn profile, you’ll be able to connect or ask them to join LinkedIn. Once you’re connected, you’ll be able to see parts of their LinkedIn profile all within the CardMunch app.
As far as syncing goes – I’d read some people had a little trouble with this – my “test” business card contact ended up in Outlook just fine for the most part. My only gripe was that the phone numbers – there were multiple business phones – weren’t mapped correctly, but it was an easy fix.
No word on whether they’ll make an Android or Blackberry version but there are other “photo” scanners of this type out there – just not for free or integrated with LinkedIn.