Productivity nerds, rejoice! Flexibits, the company behind Fantastical, is releasing Cardhop on the iPhone and iPad today. Cardhop, originally released on macOS, lets you text or call your contacts as well as add information more quickly.
If you have an iPhone, chances are you’re using the default Contacts app. It’s a pretty straightforward app, but it hasn’t evolved in years.
For instance, one of my biggest pain points is that I use many different messaging apps depending on the person with whom I’m talking. You can long-press on the call or video button app to change the default app to Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram and more. But that “message” button only works with Messages.
Cardhop solves that problem by becoming the gateway for all contact-based actions. In addition to phone calls, Messages, FaceTime and FaceTime Audio, the app supports WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, Skype, Viber and Twitter.
When you tap on the “message” button in a contact card or when you swipe on a name, you can select the messaging app to use. The “Recents” tab doesn’t just show contact names, but also actions. This way, you can repeat past actions and contact your friends using their favorite app more easily.
Cardhop also features a birthday tab with an overview of the upcoming birthdays in your contacts. Now that people use Facebook less and less, adding birthday information to your contacts could be a way to rely even less on Facebook.
Your company may be using a contact directory in G Suite or Exchange. Cardhop now supports looking up people in those directories on both iOS and macOS.
And if you share your contact information with a lot of people, Cardhop lets you customize your vCard. For instance, you can exclude your birthday or your home address. This way, when you send your information in iMessage or over Airdrop, professional contacts get a limited set of information.
You also can create a virtual business card with a QR code. This feature reminds me of the QR codes to quickly add friends on WeChat, Snapchat or Instagram.
Command line for contacts
Cardhop features a search bar right above the tab buttons. And this is the app’s most powerful feature. Just like on the map, you can learn shortcuts to trigger actions in no time.
For instance, if you type “WhatsApp Natasha” or “wa Natasha,” it launches your conversation thread with Natasha. If you type “copy Zack,” you get Zack’s contact card with a copy button next to each field (phone number, email address, etc.).
Adding a new contact is also as easy as typing things in the search area. If you type “Amy Poehler 202-555-0172” and she’s not in your address book, Cardhop creates a new entry with a first name, a last name and a phone number.
If you’re into Siri Shortcuts, you also can create custom commands to call or text your most important people in your life with a voice command.
Replacing a default app
Many companies have tried to replace a default app. Replacing Calendar or Podcasts is easier than the Phone app. The Phone app is deeply integrated with iOS. When you call someone in Cardhop, iOS jumps to the Phone app to initiate the call. And you won’t see any missed calls in Cardhop.
But Flexibits doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel and leverage the same contact database. Every time you add a card in Cardhop, it appears in the Phone app, and vice versa.
I think most people don’t need a new contact app and it could be more confusing than anything else. But if you contact a ton of people and you know Cardhop could make this process a little bit easier, Cardhop works well. It is now available in the App Store for $4.99. You can get it for $3.99 for a limited time.