Groups: Drag & Drop Contacts Management from Guided Ways Technologies looks to improve upon the built-in Contacts app that comes with the iPhone. It mostly delivers, though there are a few shortcomings with the 1.0.1 version.
Upon opening up Groups, the first things you’ll notice are the polished colors and a slick interface. The app organizes groups in a column of tabs down the left side of the iPhone’s screen and, like the iPhone’s default contacts manager, features a quick alphabet scroll and search bar.
While Group’s design is nice, its functionality is what really stands out. Groups lets you drag-and-drop individual contacts into groups. That allows for a number of powerful capabilities such as sending out a mass e-mail to everyone within a group. Other features include built-in smart groups, though you can’t modify the settings that Groups uses to create these smart groupings. Also, when you drag contacts to the Trash group, they are still there instead of being obliterated. Guided Ways hails this as a way to preserve contacts, but I can’t say that I saw much of a benefit.
In what could be considered a double-edged sword, Groups loads the contact information from your iPhone’s address book. On the positive side, it’s great for viewing contact data in other apps and makes for easier syncing. But it does make for slow start-up times for Groups.
Group’s biggest flaw is its inability to edit contacts within the app. Guided Ways promises this in a future version. Indeed, the App Store page for Groups gives a laundry list of promised features for the forthcoming 1.1 update, including mass dragging of contacts, improved start-up speed, and BCC and CC support for mass e-mails, among other improvements.
At $2, Groups is a steal for anybody who is serious about contact organization. The app still lacks some essential features, but the horizon looks promising for what looks to be a really powerful app.
Groups: Drag & Drop Contacts Management is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.x software update.
[John Fuller is a freelance designer and writer from Texas.]