What defines good Contacts application? Some will say that it depends on device which runs it, but I think that it is not true.

I am using Nokia E66 phone. It is running Symbian S60 3rd Edition FP1 (what ever it means). As a phone it has phone book called “Contacts”. Simple application which allows to have unlimited amount of entries with quite big set of possible fields. But phone also has GPS unit and is able to connect to Internet via WiFi, Bluetooth and GSM. Why I mention it? Because default address book ignore those elements…

So what should good Contacts application do? Except standard fields like phone numbers, SIP “numbers”, email addresses, web addresses, home/work addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, pictures, notes… I think that things like GPS coordinates for each address would be nice — add “Drive/Walk to” functionality and you get phone which can really be named “Navigator” (IIRC there was PalmOS powered PDA with that function).

Next thing which would be nice (especially with flat rate for GPRS) would be integration of IM communicator. Why I have to launch separate application to check who from my friends is available on Jabber, Skype, ICQ, GaduGadu, AIM, MSN etc. Why not have device auto login into those networks to check who from entries in address book is available to chat/talk with. And then let me choose do I want to make GSM call or Skype, SIP or other VoIP call. This will also remove situation which is present in most multi-protocol communicators: few entries for one person just because it use 7 accounts on 5 protocols. And let integrate all chats in one application with SMS/MMS stuff — this is done on Palm Pre according to their promotion videos.

And all those things should sync with external servers of course. So if I have Facebook account then let it fetch my connections from there and merge into address book — this is done on Palm Pre already. But let it be also second way (if user choose to) — so phone will check who from my contacts have a Facebook account and send join request.

Next thing: groups… Symbian has groups support and this is working, user can even define conferences numbers for groups and few other things. Next step should be linking contacts — you know: wife, kids, secretary, co-worker who do your job when you are on vacations… PalmOS Agendus had something like that, Symbian has only imitation (it is possible to enter person name but thats all).

Will there be such application? Maybe one day…

Defining good Contacts application

11 thoughts on “Defining good Contacts application

  • 18th July 2009 at 00:09

    I think the new HTC Hero with Sense UI Contacts application (called “People”) does all of that.

      • 18th July 2009 at 01:48

        Well the HTC Hero is coming out soon. I’ve tried the new ROM on my magic and I can tell it does what you ask for.

  • 18th July 2009 at 00:23

    I agree with most of what you say, except that groups are a deprecated concept, I’d rather have tags 🙂

    • 18th July 2009 at 00:40

      Both have a use. If I have conference call to all guys from software team I would rather create a group which would contain them and call all of them at once (using VoIP conference). Tags are rather for marking people.

  • 18th July 2009 at 22:03

    import / export utility is key same for any calendar app.

    • 18th July 2009 at 22:42

      People invented SyncML for this. There are many providers for it on internet — some are free, some are paid, some works better or not.

  • 20th July 2009 at 19:36

    Once you’ve got all this functionality working, also remember to give users the chance to turn it off selectively. The set of people you call with a mobile and the set of people you friend on a social site and the set of people you IM are going to overlap, but unfortunate things can happen if they’re supposed to be identical.

  • 23rd July 2009 at 23:38

    I agree with Bruce N – I have 600 contacts in Evolution, perfectly synced with my SonyEricsson M600i. I don’t mind if it’s a manual process, but import/export of vcards is essential to me.

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