I get very excited when I see one of my favorite developers bringing a favorite app from my Palm days to the iPhone. So I was, of course, thrilled when I got the newsletter from shsh software back in June mentioning the iPhone version of TaKePhOnE. I spoke briefly to Shimon Shnitzer, the developer, who told me that he’d run into some issues with os 3.0 and was working on an update. Being the devoted fan I am, I made the purchase anyway and sat back to wait.

The update finally came on my birthday (and I’m sure it was intentional!). If you are a former Palm Treo type, then you probably don’t even need to read further. You probably used TaKePhOnE, and you probably loved it. It was one of the first really useful apps I bought for my Treo (the 270, I believe), and it just kept on gaining function and form. Shimon was active in user community forums, and on both mytreo.net and Treo Central, the TaKePhOnE threads grew to massive lengths with replies numbering in the thousands.

For those of you still wondering what the big deal is, allow me to elaborate.  Sometimes when you want to make a phone call, you get lazy. You want to look at your dial screen and just … well, dial. You don’t want to have to go to your contacts and search or sort. But you also don’t want to have to memorize the phone numbers of all your contacts. So TaKePhOnE does that for you. IMG_0251

Here you can see where I wanted to call David. But I never can remember David’s last name, so I can’t even just look him up in my contacts conveniently. Sure I could go to search and type it in, and then scroll to his contact information, choose the number I want, and then dial.

Or I could just start typing the name, old school style on the dial pad. It’s especially convenient for those people with like names. For instance, I go to call a relative, but they all have the same last name, so I still have to sort through them. Or one of the 6 Michaels in my contacts whose last names are largely unimportant to my way of categorizing things in my mind. So on the same screen, I can either punch in a phone number, or just start typing the contact’s name. If I’m feeling particularly lazy, or have many contacts with similar names, I can use the * (and) key to type just a portion of the first and last names to come up with the correct contact.

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Somewhere between version 3 and the current version 7 of the Palm version, Shimon added the i-Bar. The i-Bar gives you a photo contact strip that will scroll side to side through your choice of contacts with photos.If you look closely at the screenie showing my i-Bar, you’ll notice the small icon in the lower left-hand corner that also shows which number you’ve included (i.e., mobile or home).

The i-Bar does not replace speed dial, rather it’s an extra that must be used only with those contacts for whom you have photos associated. Speed dial contacts do not  have to have photos associated, and it’s your choice (in settings) as to whether or not to show the photos with your speed dial contacts.

IMG_0250Five pages of speed dial is enough to hold 50 contacts, and two ways to access your pages. You can swipe to the next page, or you can tap the page number at the top to go directly to a particular page. Tap and hold a contact will even open a popup menu with Call, SMS, Open Contact Info, Edit favorite name, Move to position, and Remove from Speed Dial options. Sometimes it’s more convenient sending an sms from there than finding the existing thread to add to in your sms app.

The redial tab doesn’t only allow you to redial recently called numbers, it offers you an easy to view call log that includes the duration of each call. The iPhone isn’t missing this, but the way it’s laid out, it may as well not be there. With TaKePhOnE, you don’t have to go into the call to find out how long you were on the phone.

The only thing less than natural about the iPhone version of TaKePhOnE is the way you move the speed dials around. When the option popup opens up and you choose “Move to position,” you are basically moving what you’re holding to the position you choose, which will then move it and everything following down one position. I’d like to see the little bars on the right that allow you to move things up and down.

Being able to edit the favorite name is quite nice. Notice I don’t show any last names on my speed dial page. On the next page I have people with nicknames. Opening the contact, on the other hand, is next to worthless. If you need to edit a contact, go to the Phone or Contacts app. Right now, even if you have a contact set with a custom ringtone, it doesn’t show from within TaKePhOnE, nor can you even view custom ringtones that have been added to your iPhone.

I’m hoping that we will see some of the nifty additions to the iPhone version that we’ve seen in the Palm version – notably skins. Right now there are two very basic skins included with the iPhone version, but there are tons available for Palm. As a heavy graphic device, skins are a natural for the iPhone.

Check out TaKePhOnE in the app store for only $1.99. You won’t be sorry.