Orbit Social Phonebook iPhone app tries to integrate social networking with phonebooks

Feb 4, 2010
Tech

Aimed at replacing the iPhone’s dedicated app, the Orbit Social Phonebook iPhone app (free) combines your contact list with your Facebook and Twitter friends in an attempt to create a seamless interaction among all three areas. Orbit’s price is right, but be warned that trying this iPhone app could wreak havoc on your existing contacts. Some users […]

Aimed at replacing the iPhone’s dedicated app, the Orbit Social Phonebook iPhone app (free) combines your contact list with your Facebook and Twitter friends in an attempt to create a seamless interaction among all three areas. Orbit’s price is right, but be warned that trying this iPhone app could wreak havoc on your existing contacts.

Some users have reported that Orbit deletes information. That wasn’t an issue for me (yet) but the iPhone app did replace some things when I synced my contacts with Facebook and Twitter. I only had a few contacts with photos on my phone, so I wasn’t terribly upset that Orbit Social Phonebook hijacked that portion of my address book. However, being that it’s doppelganger week on Facebook, my iPhone is now home to quite a few celebrity images. The iPhone app also created a new group in my iPhone contacts list for each orbit—which I can’t figure out how to delete (solutions from you, dear reader, are more than welcome).

I get what Orbit Social Phonebook is trying to do—create a one-stop shop for all things social networking, and that’s a smart idea. Users create “orbits” of contacts, such as friends, family or work, and then select a volume level. This controls how often you see real-time updates or get push notifications from a particular group of people. Users will also be able to see all their contacts status updates in one tab (I couldn’t get anything to appear in the Updates tab during my test, however), as well as update their own Facebook and Twitter statuses. There is a built-in keypad for dialing as well as access to voicemail, which means that, yes, the developers really do want you to replace the iPhone’s phone app.

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I’m interested to see how Orbit Social Phonebook catches on after a few updates. I don’t think I’m ready to become an Orbit convert just yet, but its brilliant enhancement to A-Z scrolling might be able to sway me in the near future.

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