Fantastical maker cleverly redefines contact apps with Cardhop

Flexibits, the company behind popular calendar app Fantastical, is releasing a new app for macOS today. Cardhop is another take on a default productivity app. This time, the company is trying to improve the Contacts app. It is available on the Mac App Store for $19.99, with a $14.99 introductory sale.

I’ve been using Cardhop for a few weeks, and it’s been a breath of fresh air when it comes to managing my contacts. If you manage hundreds of contacts and contact dozens of people every week, Cardhop makes it much easier to find everything you need, add new information and contact people. In many ways, it feels like Spotlight for your contact database.

Cardhop is a menubar app for macOS, which means that many people will interact with the app by clicking on the icon in the top bar. You can also open it with a keyboard shortcut and keep an icon in the dock.

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The first thing you’re going to notice is that the main way to interact with Cardhop is the search field. When you open the app, you’re ready to start typing. By default, Cardhop also presents today’s birthdays and your most recent contacts. You can also scroll through all your contacts, but there’s no need to do it if you can just search.

Of course, you can type a first name or last name and see the contact entry. But the search field has a few hidden tricks up its sleeve. You can also type an action followed by a name. For instance, if I write “call Jordan,” Cardhop knows I want to call TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook because she’s my favorite Jordan in my address book. After pressing enter, I can initiate a call on my iPhone via Bluetooth or on my Mac using the FaceTime app and Wi-Fi calls.

Cardhop also supports iMessage, Skype, Telegram, FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, email, etc. You can customize the shortcuts for each contact.

Similarly, adding new information is probably my favorite feature. You can just dump a bunch of information and Cardhop will figure out what to do with it. For instance, if you type “Sherlock Holmes work phone 555-123-4567 birthday 9/30,” it’ll create a new entry or add new information to an existing entry with everything in the correct field.

Cardhop doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and relies on the existing syncing services of the default Contacts app. So if you’ve already added an iCloud or Exchange account to the Contacts app, you’ll find the exact same contacts in Cardhop. When you edit information in Cardhop, the app uses the same database. So everything you edit in Cardhop is going to instantly sync with your iPhone and other devices.

Just like Fantastical, Cardhop is a well-designed app and I’m quite impressed with the attention to details given that it’s just a 1.0 version. It lets you browse your contacts, do something and move on with your work in no time. And maybe the best contact app is the one that gets out of the way.