Thursday, April 12, 2012

Phonedeck app review

Manage your mobile phone via your PC thanks to Phonedeck - Matt Warman says it's a vision of the near-future

Android and Nokia Series 40; Google Chrome extension 
(Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone 'coming soon')
How many phone calls do you make? How long is each conversation? And how many calls have you missed simply because your phone was in a bag or pocket?
Thanks to an app called Phonedeck, I can tell you that the most common length of my conversations is three minutes, and that I’ve made nearly 300 calls since I started using it. My text messages are an average of 83 characters in length, and they apparently generated 19g of carbon dioxide. And thanks to the fact that Phonedeck is more a web app than a mobile phone one, I can also tell you I miss far fewer calls, because the computer now tells me when my phone is ringing, whether the handset’s on my desk or not.
In essence, Phonedeck allows you to control your phone with your computer, and provides a lot of data about your phone use on the way. It’s a brilliant idea, from Berlin-based Frank Fitzek, because it finally puts together the mobile phone, our most connected device, with the PC and with social networks. That means everything from allowing you to continue text conversations via your web browser and keyboard, thanks to an extension for Google Chrome, or even identifying and backing up all your contact information. When somebody calls, the screen shows all your recent contact with them, from text messages to phone conversations.
In practice, Phonedeck is still very much a work in progress, even if the direction of travel is brilliant. It can’t currently, for instance, synchronise contacts across multiple address books or couple up with social networks other than LinkedIn. It doesn’t offer the option to link up with billing information, nor does it willingly display all the insights it flashes up about your phone usage. But it offers a vision of unified communications that should surely be a part of every mobile phone tariff.
There’s no obvious revenue model for this free app, but deals with social networks or location-based deals seem sensible. For now, however, it’s a must for early adopters. Security concerns should be largely assuaged by the app's use of secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. And the fact that its benefits are currently far greater than the risks - it lets you see, for instance, when you had that text conversation with a contact whose name you've now forgotten, and easily then lets you combine duplicate contact entries. None of that is revolutionary; but putting it together is a revelation.

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