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Evernote Hello Comes to Android, Helps You Remember People

This free app, now available for Android as well as iOS, captures more information about new contacts than even the best business card.

A couple months ago I told you about three smart ways to use Evernote in business.

Here's a fourth.

If you routinely collect business cards but then have trouble remembering who those people are or why they're important, check out Evernote Hello.

This intriguing app (released for iOS last year and just out for Android) works like this: Instead of asking a new contact for a business card, just hand over your phone and ask him/her to tap out their vitals: name, Twitter address, e-mail, phone number, and the like. (You can also enter their information yourself or pull it from your address book, if available.)

The app can also snap a photo, ostensibly part of the "fun" of the information-sharing experience -- though I suspect most people will balk at having their picture taken, especially if you've just met them.

When all is said and done, Evernote Hello can shoot your own information to your new associate, thus saving you from having to share your own business cards.

As you capture contacts, the app builds a slick-looking photo mosaic (reminiscent of Windows Phone 7) that provides an at-a-glance reference for the people you've met.

It also logs an "encounter," a detailed account of where and when you met the person, with room for any notes you care to add. (You can create additional encounters as needed, nice for recording things like lunch meetings.)

A newly added feature lets you connect Evernote Hello to your LinkedIn account, which can speed and simplify the addition of contacts.

Neat idea, right? And yet Evernote Hello hasn't really taken the business world by storm since its debut last December -- not the way Evernote itself has since its inception.

Part of the problem: business-card swapping, while impractical, is quicker, easier, and even a little more personal. The app approach seems almost standoffish in comparison, especially the perfunctory act of standing there tapping out contact information.

Plus, it's weird to hand your phone to a stranger, and weirder still for them to enter personal information on it. And then there's the photo thing; most people hate being photographed, and Hello snaps four headshots in quick succession (without any explanation as to why). I think the app will be a turn-off, at least for some of the people you meet.

What's more, although Hello syncs with your primary Evernote account (you do have one, right?), it doesn't sync with your address book -- meaning if you want to call, e-mail, or text a contact, you have to fire up the Hello app, not your usual phone list. That's an extra hassle.

These complaints aside, Evernote Hello is pretty cool, and I can definitely see the value for business users who routinely meet new people and want an innovative, comprehensive way to keep tabs on them. Best of all, the app is free, so you've got nothing to lose by saying, well, hello.

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