First Look: JotNot Scanner for iPhone updated to version 2.0

There's certainly no shortage when it comes to iPhone apps that turn your device into a pocket-sized scanner. At various times, TUAW bloggers have reviewed or discussed Readdle ScannerPro [US$6.99 (currently on sale for US$4.99), iTunes Link], DocScanner [US$8.99, iTunes Link], and JotNot [US$4.99, iTunes Link]. Of course, there is also a flock of business card scanners, but what I'm discussing in this post are the apps that say that they'll replace that flatbed scanner on your desk with a device you already have in your pocket or purse.

MobiTech 3000 just released version 2.0 of the JotNot scanner app, and the update appears to be quite useful. I've owned the app for a while and have successfully used it to capture documents for posterity. The update provides a few additional features that I had been hoping for:

  • Multipage support

  • Automatic edge detection

  • WebDAV/iDisk support

  • Camera stabilization (requires OS 3.1)

  • Automated backup of scans

  • Reordering pages

  • An extensive web-based help

  • In app support

Of the new features, I am most happy about two of them; multipage support and camera stabilization. Multipage support means exactly what it implies; you can scan multiple page documents and have them saved into one PDF document. Previously, JotNot would create one PDF file for each and every document you scanned. That meant that combining PDFs required that you export the files to a Mac or PC, then use something like Adobe Acrobat Pro to merge the files.

Camera stabilization is another big help. Sometimes when I'm scanning documents with JotNot, it's in a poorly-lit hotel or conference room and I have to take multiple pictures of the documents to get usable "scans." My initial tests with JotNot 2.0 seem to show that this feature, which requires iPhone OS 3.1, works very well in helping to capture scans on the first shot more frequently. When taking the 'scan,' you simply tap on the stabilize button to see a bar across the bottom that tells you whether or not you're moving too much and how much stabilization is being applied. If only a bit of stabilization is being applied, the bar remains in the green, but if you're in extremely low-light conditions and need to be holding steady, you'll see the bar go into the red. That's a sign that you need to find more light.

In part of my quest towards more organization in my personal and business lives, I've been trying to digitize as much paper as possible so that I can get rid of the tidal wave of paper that seems to be engulfing my desk. That means that all of these scans need to have somewhere to go, and I've pretty much decided on two cloud solutions; Dropbox and Evernote. I use Dropbox primarily for editable documents that I need to keep a handle on, while Evernote is great for items that I'd like to be able to perform word searches on.

JotNot 2.0 has offered full integration with Evernote since version 1.3, and now adds WebDAV support. If you have a WebDAV server set up or have an iDisk, you can now save your scanned docs to that volume. I did find an issue with this capability. Every time I tried to save a document to a folder with a space in the name ('JotNot Docs,' for example), I was unable to. When I changed the name of the folder to a single word -- like 'JotNot' -- the WebDAV save worked.

The JotNot blog lists some other known bugs as of November 26th. For example, if you're importing PDFs from version 1.3, the app may crash. There are two solutions listed -- if you need the PDFs, you can just hit cancel repeatedly so that the PDFs are not imported. If you don't need the PDFs, you can delete the app and then re-install it, which will delete your saved PDFs and keep the prompt from reappearing. One other bug involves image stabilization. If the app crashes when you click the camera icon to make a scan, then you need to either update your device to iPhone OS 3.1 or temporarily turn off image stabilization in the app preferences.

JotNot has already sent a bug fix update to Apple for approval to address these issues, and it should be available for download soon. I'd also like to see some minor misspellings in JotNot fixed -- "Enhacement Options" in the Settings was one glaring error, and I did see some others.

I'd much rather save my PDFs to Dropbox than to an iDisk, and I've entered that request into the JotNot iPhone Feature Request form, which is now accessible from the app. You can also request support from the app, and there's a link to online help.

The JotNot backup feature is actually pretty cool. It lets you take all of the documents that you've scanned and are storing on your iPhone, mash them into a zip file, and then either send the file to your WebDAV / iDisk server or move the zip to a Mac or PC over Wi-Fi.

All in all, I was happy with the improvements and additions to JotNot. If you're a current owner, definitely download the update. If you're curious about the ability to scan documents from an iPhone, JotNot is a fairly full-featured app and is also more reasonably priced that the competition. Check out the gallery below for some screenshots of JotNot 2.0 in action.