Saturday, September 10, 2011

Testing Mindmeister for Android Beta

Mindmeister recently released a beta version of Mindmeister for Android, which I am testing out. The beta is available for a limited time. If you are a fan of mind mapping and have an Android phone, you should give it a whirl. This download version will only be available until September 12.

First Impression

Thus far, I like the experience. The experience so far has been very similar to Thinking Space, another Android mind mapping app, which will be the basis for comparison. Thus far, the beta has worked reliably. I've had one crash while I was syncing all my mind maps. Other than that, no problems.

The Mindmeister app keeps your maps synced with your online maps. Even if you do not have an Internet connection, you can still work on your mind maps, which will be uploaded to the web automatically once your connection is restored. Your maps are organized in folders and provide the same visual experience as the full web version.

Mindmeister for Android also gives you access to practically all the features of the web version. You can create, update, move, delete, and share your maps. Within the map, you can change the style, move nodes around, change themes, make node connections, add notes to nodes, add hyperlinks, and add tasks.

The Tasks option is what really gives the app greater utility as a productivity tool. Mind mapping is good for organizing thoughts; but, in the end, you need to take action. Through the Mindmeister website, you can connect your mind map tasks to your Google Calendar. This is an excellent way to track tasks on multiple projects.

Overall, the Mindmeister for Android app provides a sufficient set of features to make mind mapping on a mobile device useful for organizing thoughts and putting those thoughts into action.

Features I Would Like in Mindmeister for Android

As mentioned earlier, Thinking Space forms the basis of my comparison of Mindmeister. Thus there a some things I was hoping Mindmeister would have. Before starting with that, I will say that both apps are very similar in functionality and features. For example, Thinking Space uses the Mindmeister API to synchronize your mind maps too. Thus, many of the features offered by Mindmeister are available on Thinking Space.

Export Options

Mindmeister does give you a sharing option; but, it is limited to sharing your online mind map. At most, you enter the email address of the recipient. They will receive an email with a link to your mind map. Great for the desktop, not so great for the mobile.

One of the features of Thinking Space I like is the ability to export your mind map in different ways; their app allows you to export your map as a file, an image, as text, or to the cloud. This is a very handy feature, particularly the image export. Images are the lowest common denominator in terms of sharing. You can email the image to anybody. Better yet, I can use the export option for blog post images.

What it comes down to is that I may create a mind map that I want to send to somebody and delete. I don't necessarily want to keep a copy online all the time.

On-screen Toolbar

Another feature that I'd hoped Mindmeister would offer is an on-screen toolbar. The app offers a very Spartan set of features. You can add, delete, re-center, and zoom with the on-screen controls. Everything else needs to be accessed via menu.

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