One reason faxes endure is because of the mainstream failure of digital signatures; we still rely on squiggly lines to bind our commitments. It's long been possible to use something like a Wacom tablet to capture one's signature, or even to use a scanner to capture it, but overlaying the image onto a form can be cumbersome, as well as impractical when you are away from your PC. For those on-the-go scenarios, there are fax apps available for smartphones, but they often are little more than a gateway to subscription-based electronic fax services (although one for the iPhone, Fax Print Share, lets you buy credits for faxing documents of various lengths to various countries). Services such as eFax are a poor fit for the person who just need to send an occasional facsimile -- or more likely send back a fax, oftentimes one that requires a signature.
It's the kind of innovative app that uses modern handset capabilities to address a real mobile need, but there is room for improvement.
Today, you can add fields and signatures to a PDF -- but given that Microsoft Word is probably the only other format commonly used for forms, it would be great if Zosh could convert those during the e-mail process. Additionally, while it is great to be able to e-mail the completed form back, it would also be useful to have the option to fax it on-the-go as with Fax Print Share, for those occasions where you may not have the recipient's e-mail address. Zosh is the kind of innovative app that uses modern handset capabilities to address a real mobile need, but there's room for improvement. However, if you're the sort that's going to print the form anyway, you may as well just fill it out on paper.
Ross Rubin is executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group. Views expressed in Switched On are his own.