With this first update, at the occasion of our recent V2.2 update Thursday evening last week, I’d like to start a regular practice of sending
occasional updates with the highlights of significant new features and/or new web site or video content.

A quick recap of our brief history so far:
–          We launched ScanBizCards V1.0 on October 28, after an initial waiting time for Apple’s approval of a little over 3 weeks
–          Since then, we have posted 7 updates (with the most recent V2.2 going live on the App Store last Thursday  afternoon)
–          All in all, our submissions have been rejected “only” twice, for 3 different reasons: using the system’s refresh icon as rotate button (deemed potentially confusing to users), not catching touches on the camera button on devices without a camera (even though at the time we had labeled the app as compatible only with the iPhone and not the iPod – since then changed to enable it for the iTouch) and for using an undocumented API (to programmatically orient the phone in landscape mode)
–          The rumors regarding Apple speeding up the approval process are correct: as of late December application update cycles are less than a week and we have had once case where approval took only 24h

What’s new in Version 2.2:
–          Incremental improvements to the “flow cover” 3D view of card images: when switching back and forth between 2D and 3D view, we now maintain the current position (e.g. showing cards 12 through 17)
–          Enabled the creation of custom folders to group cards by event or purpose such as: “Web Expo 2010”, “Friends” or “Take-Away Menus” (in V2.1 the only folder was “Recent Cards”)
–          Added application setting to enable choosing existing photos not just from Camera Roll (or Saved Images on iPod Touch) but from any photo album: this is at the request of iPod Touch users who need to import images taken with another device and stored into photo albums
–          Created a “Sample Cards” folders with 4 representative business cards users are invited to scan, add to the address book and interact with. Each of the sample cards includes one or more special messages to point out a special aspect of each card.

The sample cards feature may be more impactful than it appears: I hope it will help people using the application for the first time understand what it can do as well as demonstrate what a good quality business card photo looks like. OCR results quality is clearly where there is the most room for improvement – work on our to-do list, but also where an experienced user can help a lot by avoiding various pitfalls when taking pictures. It will also be interesting to see if those whose card I placed in that folder get crank calls from people in Kenya or China touching their phone numbers in the middle of the night after scanning their card. My card is there and so far I received only one crank call and one “Quick Intro” email.

We’ve got video!
We finally “produced” a number of short video sequences showing the product (and us lurking in the shadows in one of them), please take a look at:

We’ve got Twitter!
Follow-us at @scanbizcards – don’t ask me how Twitter works, I suspect Bill Gates, who sent his first two twits 10 days ago doesn’t really understand either. Ask richmanj@gmail.com who is the master twitterer behind it.

Thanks to joshua.persky@sloan.mit.edu for mentioning us live on MSNBC last Friday!

In this update, we will send a promo code for a free copy of the full version of the app to anyone who doesn’t know me, yet can detect the two foreign accents in my voice (no requirement to actually understand anything I am saying, just what the accents are).

We continue to deepen the integration of ScanBizCards with applications on the iPhone (so far with the phone, calendar, email, browser) as well as off-phone applications (so far the LinkedIn connect feature) – more of the same in a V2.3 update we just submitted today – but continue to work hard on improving accuracy. Don’t tell anyone, but the largest custom folder on my iPhone after Recent Cards is called “Problem Cards” and has 29 cards (even if some of these have only one or two mistaken letters).

Please do let us know what you like about the app at info@scanbizcards.com, what you like less, and what you think we should do next!