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5 Excellent E-Card iPhone Apps

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Although we can’t deny the pleasure of getting a real-life, hard copy card through good old-fashioned snail mail, e-cards offer a great alternative, especially for anyone short on time.

E-cards have grown up from the tacky offerings of the 1990s and are an environmentally friendly way to send a greeting — especially nowadays, when you’re more likely to have your friend’s e-mail address than postal address.

Greeting card apps in the App StoreApp StoreApp Store are 10 a penny though, so to save you the hassle of shopping around for the best app, we’ve selected five fabulous options that will suit all tastes — from minimalists to shutterbugs to lovers of vintage style.

1. Cartolina

Classy card company Cartolina has gone, in its words, “pretty hi tech” with this iPhone app, which offers a limited range of e-cards that you can text or e-mail out as many times as you’d like.

The cards only offer space for three lines of text, so they’re perfect for when you want to send more than a text message, say, for a birthday greeting, announcement or even an event invite.

As well as the “Cartograms,” the app offers integration with the birthday field in your iPhone’s contacts, and provides a calendar you can flick through to see birthdays and other dates. The app even sends you a reminder so you can assure that your message gets sent off in time.

Developer: Cartolina Cards
Cost: $0.99

2. fCards

fCards is a great all-around greeting card app. It offers a minimalist approach to design — the cards are postcard-style and have an image on one “side” and an area to write a message on the other. You can use your own images and customize the look and placement of the text.

Categories are comprehensive and there’s some really nice imagery on offer, including some beautifully simple photos that work really well for a variety of occasions.

A bonus feature for social networkers is that the app is FacebookFacebookFacebook-friendly. Sign in to the social networking site in-app and you can send e-cards to your Facebook friends, as well as via traditional e-mail.

Developer: fStop
Cost: $0.99

3. Cerebral Itch E-Cards

Cerebral Itch’s e-card app is the virtual greeting card solution for people who don’t like greeting cards. In the developer’s words, “our e-card app is what an e-card app would be if it were home-schooled, slightly kinky and thought is was better than the other e-card apps.”

Funny, irreverent, non-traditional and in some cases downright rude, the card designs are modern, clever and knowing — and should only be sent to those with a sense of humor.

Categories include those you’d expect — birthday, anniversary, thank you, get well, etc. — and some you might not — intervention, politics and breakup support. Besides sending the e-cards as e-mails, you can also send out invitations. The app lets you customize the date, time and location of the event, which will appear as a Google MapsGoogle MapsGoogle Maps link in the e-mail.

At $2.99, this app isn’t cheap (although it’s certainly cheaper than buying the equivalent cards and paying postage), so if you can’t bring yourself to plunk down that kind of change, then try out the free version that offers a limited selection of designs.

Developer: Cerebral Itch
Cost: $2.99

4. Lifecards – Postcards

This very comprehensive app offers a huge variety of 350-plus themed templates that you can insert your own images and text into and send off as electronic postcards, letters, newsletters, cards and more.

Categories are wide ranging, including obvious ones like travel and Christmas, as well as more unusual options like fruit and food, sport and winter. Customization options are plentiful and include the ability to tweak layouts, edit photos, change the color and font of the text and, in some designs, even hand write your signature.

Your creations are e-mailed as image attachments, and they look good. If you’re looking for a way to show off your own photos, then Lifecards is your app — and well worth the $2 download cost.

Developer: Vivid Apps
Cost: $1.99

5. Vintage Greeting Cards

Small View Media offers an entire range of “vintage” greetings cards apps that work for all occasions (Valentines, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more), each with some period charm. In the words of the developers, the apps offer “greetings from the past delivered using today’s technology.”

The downside is that each occasion is a separate app, priced at $1.99 a pop, which means collecting the set isn’t cheap. If you do, however, you’ll have a library of lovely cards to use throughout the year.

In each app, you can browse the cards in a cover view-style flip layout and, when you see the one you want, you can save it to your photo roll and e-mail the image from there. This means less in-app personalization than other options we’ve featured here, but that simplicity might well suit some users. And with great galleries in each app, there will definitely be a design to suit everyone.

Developer: Small View Media
Cost: $1.99 each

BONUS: Mean Cards

If the Cerebral Itch e-cards are for people you know have a sense of humor, then Mean Cards are for the friends you have that are a little bit twisted. This rated 17+ app offers a laugh-out-loud selection of wildly inappropriate greetings that range from flippant to downright hostile.

If you want to tell a cousin his degree is uselessness, a work colleague that everyone thinks she is faking an illness, or a friend that if she has one more baby, she’s white trash, then this is the app to do it with. Just don’t be too mean.

Developer: Cerebral Itch
Cost: $1.99

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