How often has something like this happened to you. It's Friday and you think about how you have to do X on Monday morning. The next thing you know, the weekend has passed, it's the end of the day on Monday, and you realize that you forgot about X. If only someone had poked you on Monday morning to say "psst, don't forget about X." NotifyMe from PoweryBase is a fantastic $3.99 app that solves this problem.
PoweryBase is an iPhone software development company that was recently started by two guys in Europe. Dominik Balogh has a design and marketing background and has worked with companies such as Heineken, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Mastercard. Pavel Serbajlo is a programmer who has worked mostly on financial/accounting software for the last eight years. The two guys started PoweryBase in June of 2009 to work on iPhone apps, and NotifyMe was one of their first ideas. Dominik tells me that the primary goal for NotifyMe was simplicity so that the app would be fast and easy to use.
Here is how the app works. Simply pick a date and time and tell the app what message to send. The process only takes a few seconds. If you want to, you can also choose a category for the reminder. Also, if you want to, you can choose to have the message repeat daily, weekly, every two weeks, monthly or yearly. Then click save and your request is uploaded to the NotifyMe server. When the time comes, no matter what you are doing on your iPhone, the message you previously typed will appear on your screen using the iPhone's push notification capabilities. (Indeed, NotifyMe was one of the very first iPhone apps to use push notifications, a feature added in iPhone Software 3.0.) Note that because the alerts are pushed to your iPhone by a server, you have to have an Internet connection to get your reminder. If you are in airplane mode, you won't get your reminders.
The main screen of the app allows you to set a new reminder or see upcoming or past reminders. If you choose to use categories, you can also see your upcoming and past reminders by category.
What makes the app even more useful are the various settings. For example, you can select what happens when you start the app. For me, every time I start the app I am doing so to set a new reminder, so I have the app automatically open to that screen upon launch. You can also choose from nine different sounds that will be played when a notification arrives. Or if you don't want any sound to play when a reminder pops up, go to the main Settings app on your iPhone and choose Notifications --> NotifyMe, where you can disable the alert sound completely.
In addition to viewing your upcoming and past reminders from within the iPhone app, you can access the PoweryBase website and view all of your reminders online. You can modify reminders on the website just like you can on the iPhone, so if you want, you can create all of the reminders on the website using your computer and just receive reminders on your iPhone. But for me, it is the ability to enter reminders on the iPhone that makes this app so great. I can be anywhere, away from my computer, and when I think about my need to remember something in a few days I can jot it down right away on the iPhone app.
Even though NotifyMe's calling card is its simplicity, additional features are planned for future upgrades. These include custom repeating modes, custom categories, sharing reminders with others, having an alert sound in advance of a time, and alert sound looping. I would love to see the ability to create a custom alert sound so that I could have one that is incredibly short, just a fraction of a second long. I want something that catches my attention but is in no way annoying to anyone who may be around me. Although the default sounds are not that obnoxious, I still opted to just turn off sounds completely rather than use one of the built-in sounds.
Of course, you don't need to buy the NotifyMe app to have your iPhone remind you to do things. You can instead create a calendar entry and set an alarm for that calendar entry. But when you do that, you fill up your calendar with personal items like "get drycleaning" and "pick up milk" that are really to do items and not calendar events, items that do not really need to have a start and end time on your calendar. Moreover, creating a reminder in NotifyMe is incredibly fast, much quicker than setting up a calendar entry and turning on an alarm.
It is always nice when developers create a free version of an app so that you can try before you buy, and the developers of NotifyMe have done just that. NotifyMe Free includes all of the features of the full app except that (1) there is a 20 second "nag" screen very time you start it up and (2) you can only have 3 reminders at one time. But that is enough for you to get a feel for how the app works and decide if you want to use it. If you later upgrade to the full version of NotifyMe, the reminders you create in the free version will carry over to the paid version.
NotifyMe is a wonderful app. It solves a specific problem and does so with a quick and easy to use interface, but also includes sophisticated features like categories and repeating items if you choose to use them. The developers gave me a free copy of the full app so that I could review it here, but I definitely think that it is worth $3.99 even if it only stops you from forgetting something important once or twice.