Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sending Greeting Cards From Your Phone

While Apple has pulled its Apple Cards app, there are others available for Apple and Android devices that actually are better: Here are three: Clever Cards, Ink Cards, and Just Wink Greeting Cards. Here is a description of each:

CleverCards: Designed to send both real and digital cards, CleverCards requires you to sign in via Facebook or create an account before you can even use it. If that's a turn-off, read on -- the other two apps don't force you through that hoop.
However, if you're willing to link CleverCards with your Facebook account, you'll find it clever indeed: The app shows your friends' upcoming birthdays, complete with profile photos of each person for easy perusal. Tap a person, choose a card, and you're off to the races.
Ink Cards.
Ink Cards.
(Credit: Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)
You can also create a new card for any of the usual occasions (graduation, inspiration, and so on) and send cards to people who aren't Facebook friends. CleverCards charges $2.99 and up for printed, mailed cards, but also allows you to send unlimited digital versions free of charge.
Ink Cards: This app offers a fairly mammoth selection of cards across a wide range of categories, but they're not greeting cards in the traditional sense. Rather, they're customized postcards, with a message and/or photo on the front side and optional secondary message (and mailing address, natch) on the back.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, and indeed Ink Cards is the cheapskate's choice at just $1.99 per printed, mailed card. (I suppose it's also the environmentalist's choice, as there's no envelope headed to a landfill.) Each one comes on heavy, glossy, 5x7-inch stock. And after you send your first card, your second one is free.
JustWink Greeting Cards: Here's an app for customizing actual greeting cards from the folks at American Greetings. Interestingly, the selection is somewhat seasonal: right now you can order Thanksgiving and Hanukkah cards, but there's nothing yet for Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.
JustWink Greeting Cards.
JustWink Greeting Cards.
(Credit: Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)
JustWink also has traditional categories like Birthday, Thanks, and Congrats, along with some nontraditional ones: LGBT; Thnx, Soldier!; and Sh*t Got Real.
Whatever category you choose, browsing is admirably simple: Just tap a card, then swipe it open to read the inside. Once you've made your selection, you can add a photo, a personalized message, and even a handwritten signature -- a great touch. Physical cards cost $2.99 to print and mail. You can also send digital cards via e-mail, Facebook, or even text message if you're really trying to get in under the wire.

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