In the past, we’ve written about Xobni, an Outlook plug-in that groups e-mails into threaded conversations, ranks contacts based on how often you communicate with them, and creates profiles for people including all of their contact information and their title. Now, Xobni is trying to clean up mobile inboxes as well, starting with the BlackBerry platform.
Here, too, users can get access to profiles, including social networking information, such as Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. This last part, the social networking integration, reminds me of what some phones, such as the Motorola Cliq (or any Android handset, really), offer natively. It would be nice, of course, if the BlackBerry OS culled information about our contacts into a single profile or listing in our contacts list, but it’s nice that Xobni is bringing at least some of that convenience to the platform.
As with the desktop app, Xobni Mobile displays contacts in order of popularity, not alphabetically. That’s certainly smart and convenient, but I’d prefer to see both listed as viewing options. Sometimes we do want to e-mail someone obscure, and how are we supposed to know where they fall in a list that potentially contains hundreds of contacts?
One more thing I like about the app: because the profiles contain information about people’s titles and jobs, it’s easy to filter your contact list, whittling it down to include only people from a certain organization. So, say I wanted to e-mail various people within Bedford Communications, LAPTOP’s parent company. I could try and remember every relevant person and enter their names. Or, I could type in Bedford and watch the list shorten. Then, I could just go down the list and check all the people I wanted to include on my message.
Unfortunately, the app doesn’t allow users to view e-mails as grouped conversations, as the desktop app does. Xobni says that has to do with the limitations in phones’ processing power today.
No word yet on when the app will be available or how much it will cost, but Xobni tells us it will come in two flavors: one for people with Outlook and one for people who just have a BlackBerry. If, say, you have a BlackBerry but use a desktop e-mail client such as Lotus, the app will only cull e-mails and contacts from your phone, and not take into account what’s stored in your PC’s e-mail client.