The contact managing app Cardhop is launching on iOS today, about a year and a half after debuting on the Mac. Like the Mac app, the iOS version of Cardhop makes it fast and easy to add a new contact or look up an existing one. It works on both the iPhone and iPad, and it’s simple enough to use that it may actually make you want to manage your contacts.
There have basically been no good contacts apps for mobile. Lifehacker even wrote a story last year titled “The Best Address Book App for iOS Doesn’t Exist.” The problem is that managing your contacts is a chore, and most contacts apps are just a more intense version of that chore.
Cardhop, which comes from Fantastical creator Flexibits, is great because it lets you deal with your contacts quickly. At the bottom of the app, there’s a single search box that controls everything. Type a name / address / company / so on, and the matching contact will come up. You can also type commands; so typing “email Jane” will let you tap her name to immediately open up a new email (it’ll even kick you over to the email app of your choice).
That search box also lets you add new contacts. If you start typing the name of someone who isn’t in your contacts list, it’ll automatically begin creating a new entry. You don’t have to go field by field to fill in their details, either: if you type “John Doe 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org 1/1/01,” it’ll recognize those individual details as a name, phone number, email address, and birthdate, and plug them into the appropriate fields.
I’ve been using the Mac version of Cardhop with some regularity since it came out, and it’s usually pretty good about figuring out what you mean when you enter in contact information. Sometimes, the app can get a little confused when you also try to add in an associated company where someone works, but it largely functions as advertised. Entering in the information is so fast that I don’t mind having to tweak a single line on the occasions when it gets something wrong.
The iOS version of Cardhop opens to a list of your favorite contacts. You can tap on them to pull up their full contact details (there’s also a notes section on each card, which is weird if they’re your friends but great if they’re a business contact) or swipe on their name to get quick access to calling, email, texting, or contacting them in some other way. You can customize all of the buttons that pop up so that it’s specific to how you want to contact each person.
Cardhop for iOS has one feature that the Mac app doesn’t: a business card mode. Turn your phone into landscape, and it’ll automatically pull up a business card with some basic contact info about yourself with a QR code. If someone else scans the code, it’ll automatically import whatever contact info you’ve chosen to share about yourself.
The app doesn’t create its own contacts list. Instead, it syncs with major contact list providers like Google and Microsoft Exchange. That means everything you enter will be reflected in the other apps that tap into your contacts, like email clients, iMessage, your phone dialer, and so on. (It also means your starting point is whatever messy contact situation you’re in today, and Cardhop doesn’t yet have a feature for cleaning up duplicates.) Because Cardhop relies on other providers to store data, Flexibits says it never actually sees the information you’re entering.
I don’t know that Cardhop will necessarily make you want to tidy up all of the contact info for your friends, but I’ve found it to be a handy work tool, making it easy to look up all of the contacts whose names I forget but whose companies I need to get in touch with. (Sorry, every PR person.) Now that it’s on iOS, it’ll be easier to look up those names while on the go or to plug in new entries as they come up.
The app is launching for $4, but it will go up to $5 after a “limited time.” It’s a universal app, so it includes both the iPhone and iPad version. The Mac app is available for $20.