How much time would you save if your smartphone were just a little bit smarter? What if the scheduled meetings in your calendar connected directly to the contact information of the participants who would be attending your meetings? What if their LinkedIn profiles appeared on your screen before the meeting, or if the reminder to attend the meeting also included a one-touch button to send a text message telling the affiliated parties that you’re running five minutes late? That’s what the Tempo Smart Calendar app for iPhone tries to do, with mixed success.
Tempo adds intelligence to your iPhone experience by tying together bits of related information that circle around a calendar event, but it doesn’t always get it right. Tempo is in its early days, though, with a long wait list to even download the app, and to those who are eagerly awaiting its unreserved debut, I say hold your horses. You can wait for this app to mature a bit more before swooning over it.
Meanwhile, you can get similar results—in the sense of tying together relevant bits of information and saving time through automation—out of the EasilyDo iPhone app (free, 4 stars). EasilyDo isn’t focused wholly on calendar appointments, which makes it wildly and widely useful, shaving time off all kinds of tasks, from keeping up with Facebook to entering contact details into your address book when someone new emails you. EasilyDo does more than Tempo because the latter only focuses on the calendar experience. Plus, EasilyDo is a finished product whereas Tempo Smart Calendar seems more like a work in progress. Some of the functionality promised in the app doesn’t work yet. It’s still neat and does work at about 85 or 90 percent capacity, but don’t get your panties in a bunch if you haven’t gotten access yet. You’re probably better off waiting at the moment.
What Does Tempo Do?
If you manage to get to the front of the wait list and can download Tempo Smart Calendar, you’ll start with a clear and well-designed walk-through of the app and how it works. Set up is equally simply. The app helps you connect to your various calendars and email accounts to help it find information. But one big caveat: You can only connect two email accounts right now. That may change as the app matures, but it could seriously limit how well Tempo works for you.
Other sources where Tempo can collect information include Facebook, LinkedIn, and your local iPhone’s address book. Tempo scours these places for relevant information regarding upcoming appointments in your calendar. For example, if you have an event titled “pick up Jamie and Emily from the airport,” Tempo will search for all your Jamies and Emilys to grab their email addresses, phone numbers, and other contact details so that you can quickly reach them from within Tempo, right at the same time you’re looking at the event details. With just a tap or two, you can send a text saying, “On the way” or “Stuck in traffic.”
The problem I found in testing the app is my data is spread out more than Tempo assumes it is. It turned up quite a few Jamies, but none of them were the right person. The same thing happened with an appointment with “Michelle.” I guess I know a lot more Michelles than I realize. Tempo found five, and none of them were the one I needed.
Some of the other features of the app are useful, like the ability to get directions. If Tempo can find a location listed in your calendar via Foursquare, it will pull up the complete address and even map out the route for you at the touch of a button. You’ll also get the business or event space’s phone number and website when available.
Tempo has a few other functions that seem like they ought to work but don’t yet. Some of them are rather basic, such as editing the time of an event to change it from being an all-day event to one with a start and stop time. Another unsupported function is editing or adding attendees. In both of these examples, you have to go to the app or program where you originally scheduled the event in order to make the change. Swapping back and forth from another app to Tempo pretty well defeats the purpose, though.
You Can Wait
If you’re on the waiting list for Tempo Smart Calendar, don’t sweat it. Giving the developers a few more weeks to finish building this productivity app can only benefit you. In the meantime, if you’re scoping out new productivity helpers, try EasilyDo. It doesn’t have quite the same focus as Tempo, but in fact its broader array of functionality makes it even more interesting and useful.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc