August 24, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson
Shelves is an application that is quite new on the Market, and it’s designed to let you manage your various collections straight from your Android device, such as movies, video games, books, gadgets and albums. Depending on whether or not you are the type that likes to keep track of what you own, this may sound like a useful tool to have, but how well does such an application work on a phone? That’s what we’re going to try and find out.
The main screen of Shelves consists of icons that represent the nine available collection categories, and the number of items in each collection is displayed in parentheses. There are two tabs at the top that let you switch between the category view and a list of items that are out on loan (if any).
When you tap on a category, the app shows virtual shelves which you can put items on through web searches, by scanning barcodes or by entering details manually. You can also import items from other sources, such as Delicious Library – a media cataloguing application for Mac OS X. Shelves lets you search your collections for items, and you can also apply a filter provided that you have added tags. Longpressing an item will let you rate it, tag it, view/buy it online or delete it. You can also indicate that you have lent an item to somebody, and you then get to select a person from your contacts and enter when the item is supposed to be returned. Another neat feature is the live folders that you can add to your homescreen that lists the items in a specific category.
So far so good, but how well does all this actually work? Even though I applaud the concept and some aspects of Shelves are great, such as the interface, it also leaves much to be desired in its current state. For starters, the app often has trouble finding scanned items online along with a few other bugs here and there, and it would have saved a lot of time if Shelves had inserted tags automatically. Shelves shows a synopsis and some basic info for movies that you have added to your collection, but it would have been nice with more facts such as genre and cast members as well.
I’m personally a huge movie buff, and whenever I hear of a new film that intrigues me, I make sure I get to see it eventually. I also keep a list of movies that I want to watch again, and I can see myself using Shelves for that purpose. For managing larger collections, however, desktop software such as Movie Collector is far more superior and convenient to use. On the other hand, Shelves is likely a lot more useful for those who have a Mac with Delicious Library installed, since its items can be imported into the app. As one user said in a Market comment: “not yet perfect but best app of its kind”, and that sums it up pretty nicely.
- Lets you manage 9 different collections
- Live folder support
- Can import info from Delicious Library
- Scans barcodes (requires the app Barcode Scanner)
- Trouble getting results for scanned barcodes
- A few bugs here and there
- Doesn’t add tags automatically