Cobook Brings Its Unified Address Book To iPhone

Cobook, which has long offered a contact management app alternative to Mac OS X’s default address book, is today finally available on mobile with the debut of its iOS application. Like its desktop counterpart, the new app creates a unified address book by syncing your iPhone contacts with data from social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The mobile version also does away with some of the complexity of the previous app, which currently requires users to change various settings on their Mac before enabling select features. For example, you have to disable Google Contacts sync in your OS X Address Book (Contacts) before enabling it in Cobook’s desktop version. Failing to do so could result in unintended duplicates, which can be a something of a mess. (In other words, as always, RTFM).

cobook 1The iOS application is more straightforward, which is by design. As co-founder and CEO Kaspars Dancis explains, “we are making Cobook more approachable to mainstream audience – it has simpler config and UI,” he says. “You can’t mess up your contact data by accidentally configuring it wrong.”

There’s a very quick setup process which only involves you authorizing your social accounts and allowing Cobook access to your iPhone’s contacts. (Contacts are not stored on Cobook’s servers, we should note.) The app then begins syncing data between cloud and device, building a richer database of your contacts.

Each contact card is fleshed out with iPhone address book info, as well as profile pictures from social networks, status updates, latest tweets, links, and more.  It even pulls in Facebook profile information like family members and interests. At the bottom of an individual’s contact info are buttons that let you quickly switch between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or iPhone contact sections, as well as an option that lets you email the card to others.

cobook-contactMeanwhile, the left-side navigation lets you filter your address book by All Contacts, iPhone Contacts, Facebook friends, etc., as well as by any pre-defined groups already present in your address book.

Users can also set up personal and work contact cards for themselves, which allows them an easy way to email their info to others. While not as showy as something like CardFlick, for example, it has the benefit of being a bit faster (At least in my experience – CardFlick tended to lag for me in the past.)

The iOS app includes a dialer, too, so it can serve as an all-in-one replacement the default iOS application, if you so choose.

Cobook, a bootstrapped startup from Latvia, has seen 300,000 downloads of its Mac app to date. Dancis says a paid, premium service is arriving later next year, but he can’t provide any additional details at this time, only hinting that it will have “some very interesting features, especially for business.”

By launching on mobile, the company competes with other iOS address book replacement apps, including the newly arrived Addappt, as well as Plaxo, Brewster and Xobni’s Smartr, among others.

You can download Cobook for iPhone here.

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