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10 smartphone apps to revolutionize the way you manage your contacts

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Managing your contacts was easier in years past

Before, you may have only needed to keep contact information for your relatives and close friends, and maybe even a neighbor or two. You kept client contacts in a Rolodex on your desk and that was how contacts were managed. Today, however, your important contacts may include family and friends, social networking contacts, previous and current clients, and potential job leads. While keeping track and ensuring that each contact is updated and relevant can seem overwhelming, your smartphone can make it manageable. All you have to do is find the right iPhone, iPad, or Android app for your needs and you’ll be on your way to revolutionizing how you manage your contacts.

Five iPhone/iPad contact management apps:

GroupQ – For $0.99, the GroupQ app allows you to add, update, and manage up to a thousand contacts. You can create multiple groups and sort your contacts into those groups by simply adding a checkmark by each name and picking the right group. If you want to delete a contact, just uncheck the name and it’s moved to the uncategorized list. GroupQ also allows you to send mass emails or texts to an entire list, making it easier to communicate with family members or business contacts.

iContacts Manager – This iPad app gives you the option to add and delete multiple contacts from any list and send contact details through email. You can also set a group priority so the right group is easier to find when it’s time to send emails. However, sometimes groups can’t be created if the contacts are from Exchange email accounts without disabling synchronization. This app is $0.99.

STL Contacts Manager – the STL Contacts Manager app advertises that it is “3 apps in 1.” It contains a contact manager, location tracker, and a task manager—the last two require add-on purchases. While this app costs $4.99, there is a free ad-supported version that you can use in order to see if this is the right app for your needs. Features also include Skype calling, notated calling, emailing and texting history, and listings of most contacted and recently contacted.

Gist – While many content management apps are geared toward both personal and professional contacts, Gist was built solely for business contacts. Gist compiles contacts from your inboxes, social networks, and address books in one central location. Each business contact profile includes status updates, news, and specific work details, and it’s a free download.

ContactsTap – Costing $1.99 per download, ContactsTap doesn’t require additional phone synchronization, as it syncs automatically. It also allows you to manage a calendar of events, meetings, or birthdays or sort names according to phonetics, which a great resource for those who have contacts with difficult-to-pronounce names or names that use characters or a different alphabet.

Five Android contact management apps:

Groupy – This is a simple phonebook app that allows you to create groups for all of your contacts. This free app can hold over 150 contacts at one time. It even has a voice search feature, making it easier to find the right contact even faster. Groupy also logs your calls with each contact so they can be referenced easily later, a great feature for businesses that are required to keep logs of communications for certain periods of time.

Contact Analyzer 2 – The Contact Analyzer 2 app gives you the option to not only add and update contacts, but it helps identify duplicate information in the forms of email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, and instant messaging information. And it’s a free app to download.

Quick Contact – This is a simple, easy-to-use app that is free. Quick Contact’s main feature is just as it sounds—it allows you to add contacts to your Android quickly. It provides one shortcut icon that makes the easy task of adding a contact even easier.

Contacts Plus – Here’s another free app to add to your list. Contacts Plus’ features are basic, but it’s perfect if you don’t want something complicated. You can add contacts, sort them into groups, create a list of favorites, and make a company list of contacts. You can even personalize the size or color of the font or background.

Contact Remover – This free app isn’t difficult to understand its main feature—to delete contacts. This app may be useful to you if you have multiple contacts you need to delete and you don’t want to do it one by one. There are additional features available, but they require users to upgrade to Contact Remover Plus to unlock the full suite of available options.

The takeaway

Finding and using the right contact management app for your smartphone can make your life a little easier and free up some of your time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a startup founder, a working professional, a business owner, or a stay-at-home mom, your time is valuable and so are your contacts. With so many apps available (both free and paid) you can add, organize, delete, track, and send group emails or text messages. All it takes is one simple, affordable app to have all your contacts categorized to fit your current needs and lifestyle.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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Smartphones

LG G Flex will have a curved display: why it even matters

The LG G Flex is exciting as it is curved, but there are much deeper implications of this announcement that your company should take note of before your competitors do.

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LG G Flex to feature curved display

You may have heard that Samsung will launch a smartphone with a curved display (although they’ve so far fallen short on their plans to produce their smartphone prototype that is completely flexible), but did you know that LG is hot on their heels, with rumors of the LG G Flex launching this November?

As depicted above, what is believed to be called the LG G Flex is similar to a standard smartphone in shape, with just a slight curve, using plastic OLED screen technology

CNET reports that sources close to the project say the G Flex will have a six-inch display and November is the projected unveiling, but that could always be pushed back (although to be in time for the holiday shopping season, we suspect it will be a November launch).

Samsung will likely unveil their curved display phone this month, and there are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could feature a curved display as well.

Curved does not equal flexible

So why develop a curved display? Analysts point to the device actually fitting around your face naturally for making calls, and others note that it fits in a rear pocket more comfortably with a curve.

Curved does not equal flexibility, though, as the devices are still stationary, but the reason the LG G Flex being curved matters to you is that mass production of this type of technology is the precursor to what’s coming next – flexible devices.

Looking into a crystal ball

LG already introduced a curved 55-inch OLED tv panel, and was first to the finish line with the ability to mass produce fully flexible plastic screens, announced last year with their electronic paper display (EPD) product, sold overseas.

The LG EPD is not just flexible, allowing the screen to bend up to 40 degrees from its center, it is a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 e-ink plastic screen. The technology used mimics the way traditional ink appears on paper, which many prefer over the backlit flat panel displays of tablets and computers. The EPD is only 0.7mm thick, weighs 14 grams (that’s 1/33 of a pound) and is said to be scratch resistant when dropped.

Flexibility is next, and it is relevant for your brand not just for the novelty of having a flexible device, but because the way people interact with your website or app could be changing sooner than you might suspect.

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iPhone 6 concepts beginning to emerge

With all the hub-bub about iOS 7 and iPhone 5, several iPhone 6 concepts have emerged. The most prominent feature is the wrap around screen.

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Looking into the future

Whether you are an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, people love to fantasize about what the newest phone release will bring, from hologram keyboards, an added projector, and so forth. As for the iPhone 6, the most common feature designers and fans think it will have is the wrap around screen. AGBeat has featured this concept several times, and while it has yet to become reality, there seems to be high hope for the iPhone 6 release.

Dribble users have designed and shared several concept models, all of which have the wrap around screen, also known as the infinity screen. This design allows a more engaged user experience, by removing the side casing. The sides have a flat, touch-responsive volume control and a much thinner design overall. And some additional revisions (based upon Cladio Guglieri’s original) have included wifi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, airplane mode, and rotation lock icons, right on the side.

These additions give you instant access to your most used controls, without the need to tap through to gain access to the settings screen. Also, with the extra features, the opposite side of the phone shows your message status, emails, and music controls. DeviantArt also has multiple postings of the infinity screen design. This is absolutely amazing to me because there is so much information in such a limited amount of space. The thickness of the phone in the concept states 0.30 inches; it is really hard to believe an email icon can fit and be legible, but it does.

Other futuristic possibilities

There are also several versions that include aluminum plus carbon fiber casing, in many different variations. Although most still remove the edges from the iPhone 5 design. Behance users have also created several examples of this design concept. With touch sensors wrapping the display edge, concept designers believe no borders means nothing between your hands and the display. And they hope accidental gestures can be prevented with the sensors, although this is just a concept. You certainly would not want to pick the phone up to answer a call from your boss and accidentally start your iTunes playlist.

The only problem I see with this beautiful design is protecting the edges, despite designers touting the durability of the new technologies. As someone who frequently drops their phone, and attempts to keep it safe by using a protective case, I wonder how you can utilize the edges, but still keep the phone safe. Also, I would be interested to see, how often holding the phone triggers the side sensors. Otherwise, I think the wrap around design is both beautifully functional and a long overdue, welcome feature.

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Smartphones

Contacts+ app adds productivity to any Android

Android users: Contacts+ is a great new way to manage your contacts, making a potentially frustrating process simple and streamlined, adding productivity to your phone.

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Contacts+ is more than a contact manager

Contacts+ is more than just a contact manager though, it is also a dialer app and combines photos with information from all your connected services: WhatsApp, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Contacts+ is a welcome alternative to the Andriod favorite Smartr. Since Smartr was recently acquired by Yahoo!, Contacts+ could not have come at a better time.

You can send free and regular messages without switching apps, sync pictures to your contacts, including cover photos, from Facebook and get birthday reminders.

How the app works

With optimization for both Android phone and tablets, you have the ability to sort your contacts in a variety of ways without worrying if you will be able to see all the data. You can sort by groups, favorites, smart contact (prioritization by frequency or A-Z), and search message history of your contact from one place. If you happen to have the same contact in your phone more than once, Contacts+ will sync them together to save you any confusion.

One tap opens a contact card, and then you can tap again to make calls or email them. Once the contact card is open, you can also catch up on their social media life. Leo from Contacts+ writes, “they have a sync process with Facebook and Google+, essentially users connect their accounts (authentication is performed securely through the respective service) and once an account is connected, Contacts+ links and syncs contacts based on unique identifiable information, enabling them to automatically connect your contacts and their identities.”.

New features have been added

The newest features include high res picture sync, a new black theme, T9 search in the call log, Dialer+ shortcut that can be opened over your call log/contacts screen, the ability to call back directly from the incoming message pop up and ignore accents improvements.

The only drawback is that some of the “sorting” features are a bit harder to find. You will need to tap through a couple of different options to find the ability to sort by last name, for example. But, once you get used to it, it really is a nice way to manage your contacts. Contacts+ is free in the Google Play store.

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