Personal Information Management (PIM) tools are the classic example of why PDAs or Smart Phones are useful. Having hundreds of contacts, meetings, and tasks all stored at your fingertips has been the justification for many of us getting into the handheld market. But over the years, Pocket Outlook has been a little behind the curve in both features and usability compared to some of the competitors on the market. When synchronization with an enterprise Exchange Server is billed as one of the selling points for the Windows Mobile platform, having the interface be somewhat stagnated can be a major issue.

In any conversation about replacement PIM tools for Windows Mobile, Pocket Informant is going to be toward the top of the list. Now in version 9, WebIS has improved overall usability and brought the application more in line with standards that are introduced in Windows Mobile 6.5. The question is, did WebIS do enough to make this update worth the $10 cost? Hit the jump to find out.

Usability

The majority of the differences between 8.x versions of Pocket Informant and version 9 are the support for many of the swiping and scrolling features found in Windows Mobile 6.5. In fact, unless you are using 6.5 many of the new features found in Pocket Informant 9 will not even be available to you. Some key updates are found in the editor screens which are now more finger friendly, and the different calendar views which let you swipe left or right to move to the next time period (day, week, month, etc.).

Features

Aside from the usability features there are a couple of new or improved features that are fairly underwhelming. PNG files are now fully supported throughout the application, including with icons. The Month view Free Time Finder can be pretty handy if your calendar tends to get out of hand. Starred tasks give you another way to highlight or add importance to a task.

The biggest thing that caught my eye as far as new or improved features is support for Getting Things Done (GTD) with Tasks. If you are unfamiliar with the concepts of GTD I would suggest you take a look at this Wikipedia article. GTD support in Pocket Informant 9 includes the Inbox to collect your tasks quickly, Context and Project Groups, and Next Actions.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t call the jump from 8.x to 9.0 a Major update to Pocket Informant. The truth of the matter is, Pocket Informant is still one of the premier PIM tools on the market.

If you’re looking for a PIM tool and haven’t tried Pocket Informant, I’d give it a look now. If you’re already using 8.x and are thinking about upgrading, I would give you a couple of thoughts. First of all, if you’re rocking Windows Mobile 6.5, you need this upgrade. If you’re still using an older version of Windows Mobile, at $10 the upgrade is hard to argue against.

Upgrades (or a Sidegrade between Standard and Pro versions of Windows Mobile) are $10. The full price is $19.99. If you purchased an older version of Pocket Informant on or after August 1, 2009, you are entitled to a free upgrade. If you're eligible for an upgrade, I would hit up WebIS directly.

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