App Preview: Voices
Hot on the heals of our preview of Voice Memos, prolific webOS Developer Inglorious Apps has also taken a shot at providing an app that allows you to create voice recordings with Voices. It's great to see multiple developers getting in on the new APIs available in webOS 2.0 and Inglorious Apps provides their own spin with this app.
Voices is built around one single main scene where you can record or act on existing memos, with additional pop-up menus allowing you to interact with those recordings. When you first load up the app, you see a blank playlist on the top of the screen and a nice graphic of a reel-by-reel recorder on the bottom of the screen to initiate a recording. Depending on how your preferences are set, once you click the record button you will either be presented with an option to specify the title and filename of the recording, or immediately start the recording with the default title and filename. Speaking of preferences, Inglorious Apps has also created a unique way of using the webOS dashboard notifications to alert the user that they can access the Application drop-down menu on the top-left of the screen to set those preferences or to get help.
When you load up the preferences, the first thing you see here is Dropbox integration! By adding your Dropbox account, you can have Voices automatically back up your recordings right to the cloud. I hope we see more apps use this type of cloud integration (although including additional services like ZumoDrive would be nice, as well). The rest of the preferences are pretty self-explanatory and provide some nice features, including the ability to set audio quality (supporting both multiple WAV and 3GP formats) and the folder where these recordings are saved on your USB drive.
Once you have a recording in your playlist, tapping it will play the recording right in the app, with a scrubber bar available to search through the recording. Tap-and-holding the recording will give you a pop-up allowing you to edit the title, share via MMS or Email, launch in the external media player, add to Inglorious Apps' Notes app, or upload to Dropbox (if not set to automatically do so). It was also nice to see the in-app "just type to search" feature included here, so you can quickly find that one recording you want from with a potentially long list.
The final unique feature of this app is the ability to set a Scheduled Recording, where you can set the app to start and stop recording at a specified time. Available from the Application drop-down menu, this provides you with some interesting opportunities, including allowing the ability to secretly record a conversation without someone's knowledge since there is no visible indication of the recording if you phone's screen is turned off.
This app is still waiting in the wings for Palm to allow webOS 2.0 specific apps, so don't be surprised if some additional features make its way in to the final product. Overall, this is yet another great example of an app that has a specific function and performs it well. The use of instructional dashboard notifications, integrated cloud integration and scheduled recording does differentiate this app, although Voice Memos wins out slightly on usability (the tap-and-hold feature isn't very intuitive or user-friendly) and customization (such as setting recording-specific quality level or allow memo descriptions in addition to a recording title). Both are high quality apps, and we can't wait to see the final versions of each!