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.mobile Contacts for Pocket PC review
Posted on 19-Sep-2004 22:47 by M Freitas | Tags Filed under: Reviews


Contact management is probably the first functionality used when a new owner starts exploring the functionality on a new Pocket PC. The PIM functions are integral part of the device, even having buttons that bring up contacts and appointments directly to the screen. Pocket PC devices are small enough to fit in your pocket, but in general they require the owner to use both hands to comfortably navigate through its menus and functions.

However, things start getting complicated if one hand is busy - holding a mobile phone, or writing notes. Quite a few times someone asked me a friend's phone number, and I had to ask to wait while I turned my Pocket PC on, pushed the Contacts button, and then used the stylus to navigate and find the required phone number. All with two hands.

.mobile Contact brings an user interface that allows single hand use of a Pocket PC, in this case the Contacts database. It also adds some functionality to the interface, making it more functional.

Running the program for the first time brings up a quick guide (two pages), explaining exactly how the interface works. As a very interesting coincidence, the tutorial brings up the character names from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, which I have just finished watching on DVD, again.


The tutorial


The tutorial showing how to swap Friends and Work icons

The program will show the contact list in the middle of the screen, with four group icons on the left side (All, VIP, Family, Friends or Work), and some functions on the right side (Open Details, Jump, Details, Delete). On the top left side there's a space to show an image associated with a contact.

To better use this program I have it associated with the Contacts button, replacing the original application. Using one hand, click the button, and the use the thumb to "drag" the contact list up and down. The movement is smooth, and precise. To jump to a specific surname, simply click the Jump icon on the right side and select the letter from a table that will be shown on the screen. If you happen to be using both hands, just start writing the contact's name and the list will be filtered. To see the contact's details tap the Open Detail icon on the right side.


The contact list in the center


Jumping directly to a letter

Each contact can be assigned to a pre-defined group, corresponding to the All, VIP, Family, Work and Friends icons on the left side.

Tap-and-holding on a contact's name will show context menu, with Edit Detail, Add Reminder, Move to Group, Send e-mail and Delete. The Add Reminder is a very interesting function for those times when you need to remember calling someone a little bit later. Simply tap the Add reminder option and select from 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour. This will set an alarm that will sound at the end of the period, with the contact's name as the description.


Contact functions


Adding a reminder


Coming soon: Phone Edition support, SMS

The program is a really nice addition to any Pocket PC used to manage contacts, but it's shame there's no option to associate the user's own images to contacts.

The one hand operation works well, and the graphics are beautifuly created, as can be seen from the moment the installation program starts. The program is not yet fully utilising with Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition, missing the Call function. I was told that Sygic is working to add this option to an upcoming version, including SMS support.






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