Say “hey” to one of our newest recruits, Stacey Tenen, who’ll be weighing in from time to time on different applications as one member of BlackBerry Cool’s building team of reviewers. – Steve
Shape Services, the people that brought us Blackberry folk such titles as IM+, RDM+ and Gmail+GTalk have been working on a new voice recording application for the Pearl called VoiceRecorder+. Iâ€™ve spent a good deal of time working with the beta version of the application which is now nearing release, and I have to say that itâ€™s a nice first step in offering voice recording capabilities to our beloved Pearls.
While RIM offers a Voice Note program of its own, the recordings that it makes arenâ€™t really portable to other platforms, and therein lay the niche that VoiceRecorder+ seeks to fill. Check out our review of Shape Service’s VoiceRecorder+ after the jump.
The application launches quickly on a Pearl, and asks the user, immediately on launch, if you would like to begin recording immediately (Y/N). This is handy so that you donâ€™t need to make too many clicks to get started recording:
There are a number of options that you can set â€“ the first being the transport that you wish to send your recordings, as attachments to an email, to. BIS, BES/MDS and TCP are all covered so thereâ€™s no one left out in the cold on this app:
Next, you have the option of creating an email template to use once you have decided to email your recording to someone else. This feature is very helpful and keeps the amount of work necessary to send along your recordings efficiently. One thing that is missing at this point in the development of the app, and, hopefully will be addressed in the release version, is the ability to do email address lookups as you would from your Blackberry address database or BES server.
Finally, you may set some basic recording options. Included are playback volume level (the default 100% seems to work just fine but and doesnâ€™t distort the audio when playing back through the speaker), the ability to set a limit for the amount of storage used for all recordings (so you donâ€™t eat up all of the available memory on your Pearl if you donâ€™t have removable storage installed), the ability to alter the applications startup behavior so that it doesnâ€™t ask you to record immediately, the default method of titling your recordings and, finally, the path you wish to store your recordings to (it does support recording directly to removable storage if you wish):
Recordings are made in standard MP3 format for easy listening on virtually any platform or MP3 player, which is a very nice feature, but Iâ€™d really like to see the ability to alter the bit rates (and therefore, quality) so that I can decide just how much memory I want to chew up with my recordings. It seems to be hard coded to use Mono, 16 kb/s. While this is great for voice recordings and keeps the memory use to a minimum, Iâ€™m sure some of you out there would want to be able to select a higher bit rate.
I think itâ€™s safe to assume that ShapeServices will listen to their customer feedback and add features that many of you feel may be missing in the first release â€“ their reputation for producing great Blackberry titles speaks for itself.
To conclude, I think this application is a very noteworthy first effort to bring a voice recording application that produces industry standard recording formats on the Blackberry. The recordings are clear and easily playable on just about any device or operating system you may have, and this should be a nice addition to ShapeServiceâ€™s ever-increasing portfolio of productivity apps.
While it lacks a somewhat essential ability to do email address lookups, itâ€™s still a solid first-effort and worthy of an investment if you like to use voice memos to memorialize events or reminders. Look for it at http://www.shapeservices.com soon.