There have been a few good scanning applications available for Windows Phone almost since launch, but I was missing the ability to fax from my phone. Something I have been able to do since my early PocketPC days. A few days ago we were reorganizing our office and they decided to relocate the fax machine. I had no problem finding the connection on the terminal block and punching down a new, longer wire. But after setting the machine up in its new home, and checking for dial tone, I still wanted to make sure it could receive a fax. Then I remembered seeing Mobile Fax in Marketplace a couple days earlier and decided to give it a try.
For those too young to have ever seen or used a fax machine, a little help from Wikipedia:
Fax (short for facsimile), sometimes called telecopying, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material (both text and images), normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device. The original document is scanned with a fax machine (or a telecopier), which processes the contents (text or images) as a single fixed graphic image, converting it into a bitmap, the information is then transmitted as electrical signals through the telephone system. The receiving fax machine reconverts the coded image, printing a paper copy. Before digital technology became widespread, for many decades, the scanned data was transmitted as analog.
While not widely used in today’s business world, faxes are still required when dealing with; attorneys, banks, lending agencies, and most government agencies including the IRS. Guess it has something to do with encrypting data and electronic signatures. Ironically though, altering images via fax are much easier to do that trying to recreate something with Photo Shop. Been doing it longer than I can remember.
Anyway, did a quick search of Marketplace, download the app, took a photo of a document and a minute later the fax was slowly crawling out of our machine. Success, all in less than five minutes. Oh, and did I mention that I received a confirmation email to tell me that the fax I was holding in my hand was successfully sent. The app was simple to setup, asking for; an email address, first, last name, country, and adding an account password. You get two free faxes/pages to start and there is no monthly subscription, but you do have to purchase fax credits/pages to send additional pages.
After initial setup, sending a fax is simple. Launch the app which takes a few seconds to log you in. Tap Add page and select Cover Page, Local Gallery or Camera to launch your camera app. UPDATE: Looks like SkyDrive integration with the ability to fax PDF and Office Docs is coming soon. You have a choice to optimize your fax for text or picture/image. If you choose Local Gallery the app will take you to your photo hub where you can select an image. Once selected and processed, your get a view of the page with a thumbnail. From there, select Add Page to select another image, cover page, etc. When all your pages have been added, tap Send, enter a phone number and your fax is on its way. Seriously simple. The Settings button takes you to a Metro style Status tab with pages for recent faxes sent, your account balance and the entries you entered when setting up the app.
You purchase additional fax/page credits directly from the app. Payment is via PayPal. Plans range from $3 for 30 pages, which expire after 6 months (10 cents a page), up to $28 for 400 pages (7 cents a page). You also get an International fax number with your account, but not sure what it would cost for someone to send through that number. The prefix is +40, which is Romania. I did confirm that any incoming faxes are at zero cost and arrive as TIFF attachments in your registered email address. You can read more about the app at www.mobilefax.biz although you can’t purchase fax credits via your PC. The app is currently available for Android and Windows Phone. Coming soon to iPhone (that’s something different), Mac and PC. It’s free, and you can find it here in Marketplace.