16. November 2012–
Instead of manually editing mobile phone contacts, or downloading contacts from Facebook or LinkedIn, Phonedeck's apps (iOS and Android) allow users to "connect" to their contacts. Once a request is accepted, any user's change to his or her personal contact details will update automatically and instantly in all connected friends' phones.
Know when your friends' phones are on silent
There are a few points here that set Phonedeck apart – one, all of the changes happen within phones' native address books.
Two, Phonedeck's idea of "contact details" goes beyond the basics of name, photo, phone number, email. The availability feature, already available for Android and coming soon for iOS, lets users see when contacts have their phones set to silent – in other words, a handy heads up it's not a good time to call.
Since starting up in 2010, Phonedeck has grown to employ 13. The company, based in Berlin, has raised about €1m in seed financing from a consortium of angel investors including Christophe Maire's Atlantic Ventures.
There are currently about 40,000 regular users of Phonedeck's Android app. Since the company claimed 50,000 users during its soft-launch back in April, followed by over-capacity servers during the full launch, this is a significant drop-off in user numbers.
The explanation: a major update to the Android app in September, taking Phonedeck from a web interface for mobile phones (allowing phone functionality to be accessed remotely and across devices) to today's focus on mobile phone content management.
While not all users converted, the new apps do seem like a more solid base for long-term growth – more people need to easily manage their mobile phone contacts than make/take a call from a second connected device.
"If you want to win this war, it's the quality you can provide"
There are emerging competitors for the new Phonedeck, in terms of content management at least. One promising new player, Contacts+, offers some similar functionality and recently raised $1m in seed funding. It's claiming a million downloads so far, but is only available on Android.
"If you want to win this war, it's the quality you can provide," Phonedeck co-founder Jens-Philipp Klein told VentureVillage. That includes accuracy, keeping user profiles absolutely secure in the cloud and the contact availability feature, with a local time awareness function also coming soon. "Contact is not static, like a business card," as Klein put it. "It's the stuff to enable quality interactions."
That, at least, is true to Phonedeck's original vision for the product, one that should receive a decent boost from today's release.
Image credit: Flickr user nh.ngan
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