In the old days of the web, Plaxo tried to solve the problem we all have when friends change their contact details, but by avoiding the tedious manual entry. But Plaxo was heavyweight, complex and had a spammy experience. Fast forward to 2012 and Brewster has an ambitious iOS app startup tackling the same problem, and backed by Union Square Ventures. They have the ambition to make the contact book on phones smarter and ‘context’ aware.
But in doing so they realised they might be able to tackle the age-old contacts problem, but crucially via the native address book on your smartphone.
Now their brand new Android client (you can grab it here) is a full-blown re-working of their app. Let’s call it a major pivot.
It introduces “Connected Contacts”. Now, this completely revised Android app transfers key features from the Phonedeck web application to the phone and creates a peer-to-peer contact book that could – at least they claim it could – make contact management obsolete. An iOS version is on the way.
Most users’ phone contact books contain outdated contacts, don’t sync with social networks, and leave you to do all the hard work.
Phonedeck’s new version now effectively transfers the ownership and the responsibility to keep the contact details up-to-date with the owner of the data. That means they can edit their contact details in all their friends’ phones by directly writing into their NATIVE phone books (on Android, iOS and even Nokia Series40). Each new bit of information gets pushed out to all connected phones within a few seconds. Thus instead of managing 500+ phone contacts the user will only be required to manage 1 contact – their own.
Crucially, Phonedeck does not build a separate contact cloud but directly writes updates into the phone’s native phone book – so there is no syncing hassle.
A pretty good use case here is changing countries and switching to a local SIM card – you just change your number and that change goes to everyone on Phonedeck.
There are other cute features like being able to change your profile photo as you go (perhaps a picture of where you are).
A dashboard assembles all relevant contacts based on time, past communication history and phone events such as missed calls. A classic contact list view adds the information of the last phone interaction (Call, SMS) to each contact. You get statistics on your most important contacts.
An iPhone client should be launched later this year with more or less the same feature set.
Phone deck is based in Berlin, Founded in 2010, and has raised over €1m seed financing led by leading Angel investor, Christophe Maire.