Cobook Does Contacts Right, And For Free [Review]

Cobook Does Contacts Right, And For Free [Review]

A new look for contacts

We liked Cobook first time round, when it appeared on OS X as a clever little contacts database hidden inside a tiny Menu Bar icon. Now it’s on iPhone, and just as clever as before.

Cobook is designed to replace Apple’s own Contacts app on your iPhone. You’re told as much right from the start.

But fear not, you’re not in any danger of losing anything if you do decide to try Cobook out. It will ask for access to your contacts database, so that it can import all your people. So far, so good, and pretty nice looking all round. Having people’s thumbnail photos next to their names as you scroll through the list is a visual treat, and really does help when you’re seeking out a specific individual.

But Cobook has much more to offer. Give it access to your social media accounts (namely Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin), and it will start going through your contacts there and pulling them in too. Where possible, it will automatically merge people from different places with the same name. This has the effect of pulling in loads of extra data from the social web, and connecting your people to their Twitter accounts. It’s very cool, and very helpful.

Cobook Does Contacts Right, And For Free [Review]

Sort people by tags, too: really useful

That only works if the contacts concerned have the same name, so there’s a manual merge in place as well. From your contacts list, hit Edit, then just tap on the names of contacts you want to merge and hit the button. Even more usefully, there’s an Unlink command too, if you want to separate out a person and their Twitter ID.

Each person’s social activity is all there, in little tabs below their contact card. Everything your buddy or business contact has been posting in each place is easy to read in a tap or two.

Cobook’s visuals are unique. It doesn’t look like standard iOS, but it doesn’t look like anything else, either. It doesn’t borrow from Windows Phone, or from Android. It has its own look, and a particularly nice look it is too.

Perhaps most bizarre of all is that Cobook is free, and isn’t clogged up with iAds or in-app purchase “upgrades” or anything of that sort. It’s just a beautifully made, genuinely useful piece of software. Quite how these guys plan to make any money out of this business is a mystery to me, but I wish them the best with it.

  • ElVox

    I tried it, and it was good…except…I want a “only import from social networks the people that I have in my phone’s address book” button…there’s lots of people in twitter and facebook that I don’t want in my address book…once it gets that, it becomes the perfect default app for contact management and contacting.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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