Now that AddressBookOne has launched, giving users the ability to pool together contacts from multiple sources to make management of contacts easier, we decided to take it out for a test drive. We found it to be an interesting service with room for improvement. However, Toffa International Limited, developers of AddressBookOne, have built a nice foundation.
Follow the break for more on AddressBookOne.
AddressBookOne has the ability to pull contacts from outside connections including Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Exchange Servers, and Plaxo. At the time of launch, work was still progressing to add Yahoo, Twitter and Windows Live to the list.
There are two membership levels for AddressBookOne, Free and Premium. The Free membership level allows you to maintain up to three connections and allows for full management of contacts. The Premium membership level has an annual fee (currently 19.95 British Pounds or about $30 U.S.), allows for an unrestricted number of contact connections, full management features and the ability to sync directly to your mobile device. The price seems a little on the steep side but sometimes cost can be relative to needs.
What makes AddressBookOne appealing is that it puts all your contacts under one roof, making managing your contacts a lot easier. Management features include merging contacts with multiple instances, editing contact information, separating contacts into groups, bulk organization features, contact filters, and tagging contacts for easy access. The service's greatest weakness is likely that you can't push or sync contacts between AddressBookOne and the various connections.
Creating a membership account with AddressBookOne was easy and took just a few minutes. Once you create your account, you are taken to the main screen or dashboard where you can begin to import contacts. Each connection is handled a little different from the other. For example, GMail requires you to type in your user-name and you are sent to an authorization screen. Exchange connections require your server's URL, user-name and password.
Synchronization ran smoothly and quickly with contacts tagged from their source. While you can pull contacts from these connections, you can't push them back. AddressBookOne will check for changes to the connections contact list and update itself automatically but synchronization is a one way street. You can use your Windows Phone as a middle man to accomplish this but it will require the paid Premium membership.
You can merge multiple copies of the same contact but the process is a little cumbersome. You have to enter the Manage screen, highlight the contacts you wish to merge, then click the "merge contacts" command. While this method is probably more accurate, it would have been nice to have an automatic merge command.
If you choose the Premium Membership, you also have the ability to sync your AddressBookOne contact list with your Windows Phone. AddressBookOne is compatible with a wide range of Windows Phones as well as Android, Blackberry, Nokia and other popular phones. To set-up your phone, you have to download an application and install it on your phone. Synchronization runs through this application and not through ActiveSync. Which on the surface is nice but the application doesn't sync AddressBookOne contacts with ActiveSync contacts. In other words, you can easily end up with duplicate contacts sitting on your Windows Phone.
AddressBookOne's web interface ran smoothly. There were some lengthy load times with the online portal but that isn't necessarily a fault of AddressBookOne. Synchronization with the various connections went smoothly as well as the synchronization with the Windows Phone app.
AddresBookOne has promise. I like the ability to pull all your contacts under one roof. It's a handy backup and a fairly convenient way to manage your contacts. I think a handful of things hamper AddressBookOne's ability to excel.
- The inability to synchronize contacts to and from sources was a little disappointing. It is my understanding that some of the connection sources don't allow for the "two way street" so there may not be anyway around this hurdle but if possible synchronization between connections would be a plus.
- Contacts and calendars seem to go hand in hand and I would have liked to have seen appointments included into the mix.
- Lastly, AddressBookOne needs to be able to synchronize contacts with your Windows Phone better. There needs to be a means to avoid duplicating contacts when synchronizing with AddressBookOne.
Overall, AddressBookOne had a few glitches but that's not uncommon when a service first starts up. However, even if AddressBookOne can tackle these issues, I can't help but think the service will have a tough time competing with current and future alternatives.
Windows Live and GMail, for example, allow users to import contacts, email and appointments from various sources plus have the ability to sync with your Windows Phone. You also have Windows Phone 7 right around the corner. It is still our understanding that WP7 will support multiple Exchange Servers which could also give the WP7 phones the ability to pull contacts and appointments from multiple sources.
Nonetheless, AddressBookOne is worth a look and you can find out all the details of the service and membership at their website. With the Free Membership option, you can always take it out for a test drive without cost.