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Share Anytime is a clever collaborative whiteboard app for iPad

There are a lot of whiteboard- and document-sharing solutions on both the Mac and iOS platforms. MetaMoji Corporation is debuting Share Anytime, a free app that allows teams to see documents, drawings and photos in real time and mark them up interactively. MetaMoji also offers Note Anytime, which has been a popular and highly rated PDF-markup tool.

A user can start, or in Share Anytime lingo, be chairman of a meeting, and invite others to watch or participate. There are annotation tools, and you can add symbols from a large library of icons or draw in freehand using several pen options. Photos can be imported from your iPad, then scaled and moved. All this activity is seen in real time by other participants.

I tried the app with a friend about 600 miles away. He was on a first-generation iPad; I was on an iPad 3. Everything worked fine, and neither of us had to consult the help files. When he imported an image, it popped up on my iPad. I could underline it, add a text comment or move it, and he would see the changes almost instantly. There is also a chat function so people can type comments in real time. I also tried a sample session that was running in Barcelona. Again, updates were very quick, so the technology in the app is up to the task of real-time collaboration.

The app also allows you to import documents from services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote. It should be noted that imported documents become PDFs, so they can't be edited. They can be marked up, and blank pages can be added with text or diagrams as if the PDF was a graphic -- which, in reality, it is.

There are some negatives. One, there are two signups required to get the app working. The first is with Share Anytime, while the second is with a service called Digital Cabinet that activates the real-time editing. While using the basic features is easy, there are some rather arcane icons that aren't really clear until you check the help file. Also, there is no voice-over-IP support. Everyone will need to be on the phone to speak, which is pretty much the best way to interact. I don't think the chat window would be truly effective. Only the iPad is supported now, but other platforms are on the way.

While the app is free and quite full-featured, there is a paid US$1.99 a month version that adds handwriting recognition in 13 languages and converts handwritten text to typed text. It also extends the number of meetings you can create. The free version allows you to attend an unlimited number of meetings and host up to ten meetings, or 1GB of data transfer, whichever comes first.

Share Anytime is clever, and works as advertised. The free version should be great for lightweight collaboration with smaller document sizes. The paid version is very reasonably priced compared to a lot of the better-known collaboration options. I think the app can be useful in project management, distance learning and even by photographers who want to share and comment on their work.

Share Anytime works on any iPad running iOS 5 or greater.