10. April 2012–
Berlin startup Phonedeck went live last week and almost immediately picked up enough new users to require an upgrade to more powerful servers.
In brief, Phonedeck is a cloud-based desktop dashboard for mobile phones. You can sync contacts across devices and social networks, check missed calls and send SMS messages remotely, and explore a wealth of information about who called whom and when - all supremely practical tools in an age of multiple devices and widespread contacts.
"Our goal is just to make the overall communication between your PC and your mobile phone even more fun, more social, more convenient," CEO Frank Fitzek says. "Once the service is up and running, just by understanding the phone graph, we can give so much good value back to the user."
A trend to watch
Phonedeck fits into what Fitzek agrees is an emerging trend - apps that don't just "do something" but combine other services and devices in new ways.
"The trend is now really to understand how to combine features and services," Fitzek says. Phonedeck is just the start. "What we're doing here is connecting your own devices, right? In the future what you will see is devices that connect to each other that are not owned by the same person."
Walk into Berlin's Sankt Oberholtz, for example, and you're likely to find multiple laptops, smartphones and tablets working side by side. "All of them have a 3G connection, you can combine those," Fitzek says. "That is the next thing but it will take time."
It's a bold suggestion with interesting possibilities for workshopping co-founders - assuming there's an appetite to share access to such personal devices.
What's next for Phonedeck?
Phonedeck's next major stop, following Tuesday's initial public release for Android, is likely to be the release of an iOS version. The catch is that at this stage, since Apple doesn't provide the necessary API, the iOS version won't be able to graph incoming calls.
"It's a pity because that's what makes most of the fun," Fitzek says. "On the Android, if you get an incoming call, what you see is information about the caller - how often did you call him, what was the last SMS, last call, what is the social activity of that person on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter..."
It might seem like a big step to entrust your mobile phone data to a cloud server, even if the communication between web browser, cloud and mobile is encrypted (data encryption will follow), but, as Fitzek points out, it's a value exchange like any other.
"When the user is downloading our application we make it crystal clear what we are taking from them and what they are getting for it," he says. "For us, it's important that the user understands there is a deal. They give us something but we create a better service for them."
Judging by the response to Tuesday's release, it seems like a deal plenty of users are happy to make.
Read more London-based social media marketing expert Luke Geoghegan represents Phonedeck, SoundCloud, EyeEm and others - he wrote a guest post for us last month on what it's like to work branding Berlin from London.
Image credit: flickr user luxuryluke