Following our review of Pocket Informant 4, we were asked about how it compared to BugMe, an alarm/notepad combination for both Palm OS and PocketPC. If you see a lot of comparisons in this review to PI4’s AlarmNotes module, that’s why.
Both programs have a similar core function: to allow you to write or draw directly on the screen like Palm’s ‘Notepad’ or PocketPC’s ‘Notes’, then assign alarms to the notes for a variety of quick reminders, or to set longer term alarms for specific times. Add to this colors of ‘ink’, various kinds of ‘stationary’, and other enhancements, and you get a basic picture of BugMe’s abilities.
BugMe’s user interface is pretty self-explanitory. A few minutes of exploring and you’ll be jotting like a pro. You can check out thumbnails of your notes, define alarm parameters, create and erase notes, and tweak your input settings.
In addition to it’s basic note-taking features, BugMe also offers a series of upgrades to the basic program which include a Windows-based note viewer, a messenging component that allows you to send notes and their alarms to other BugMe users via Hotsync or wirelessly (Palm OS only), email notes to anyone (Palm OS only), or add a variety of stationaries and cartoons forbrightening up your notes. Most of these are fairly expensive, and the more advanced communication features are priced well above what ninety plus percent of personal and SOHO users are going to be willing to pay.
There are a number of options for notepad/alarm programs for both Palm and PocketPC. When it comes down to making a decision on what package to use, usage and platform comes into play. While BugMe has the benefit of being available for both Palm and PPC, it’s real strength lies on the Palm OS side, where most of it’s expandability is. On a PocketPC, while it remains a superb note-taker, it doesn’t have quite as much to recommend it over other programs which offer enhanced PIM functions, or other side benefits. The very fact
that it’s only a note-taking app works both for it and against it–users who only want that will find it more satisfactory, but those who are on the fence might be swayed by the additional features offered by something like PocketInformant.
If you need an advanced sketching/notes program, BugMe is a fine choice. Even better if you use Palm OS, since it has some impressive optional messaging capabilities. But only a few high-end users need the optional features that it offers, and low-end users will probably be happy with their default application or a cheaper substitute. In the end, BugMe seems best
suited to being an enterprise/business user program, since this is what plays to it’s strengths while minimizing it’s weaknesses.
Impressive array of addons
Elegantly simple interface
Additional capabilities are expensive
Most addons only work on Palm OS
BugMe isn’t for everyone, but it provides solid functionality without extraneous clutter and some high-power optional upgrades for Palm users.