3Deep: Web 2.0 for Your Phone’s Contact List

3Deep: Web 2.0 for Your Phone

Microsoft’s enormous Windows Mobile demo has consumed the lion’s share of media attention here at the company’s CTIA booth, but a handful of third-party companies demonstrating their upcoming apps for the phone also have some interesting concepts to share. One of the most promising we’ve spotted comes from 3Deep, a company that just launched their upcoming contact manager here at CTIA.

Here’s the premise. Your phone can already handle a ton of static details about your friends – their phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, etc. But with always-on connectivity of smartphones, you can build a lot of really neat live functionality into that contact list, too. Think of what would happen if Microsoft Exchange and Twitter had a baby.

3Deep’s contact manager basically allows you to not only see your friends, but what they’re doing at any given moment: playing golf, at the movies, slaving away at a trade show, etc. Any of your friends with 3Deep (which will be a cross-platform app that completely replaces the default contact manager on any given phone) will be able to update their status and keep you informed. You can even see when someone’s already on the phone, before you call them.

The useful part of all this, besides not having to call people fruitlessly and bother them when they can’t talk, is that you can actually send a request called a “Tell me when…” which will automatically update you when your friend becomes available. If you try to call Jill but she’s on the phone, you can tap a button and your phone will let you know when she’s off the phone. Or when your friend is out of the movie. Or done golfing. You see the point.

It’s a compelling concept, but at this early stage the biggest hurdle for 3Deep to clear will almost certainly be adoption. When it launches, it will be available on a handful of popular BlackBerry models, the iPhone, and Windows Mobile phones, but those who don’t have these will all be in the dark. The more of your friends who have intelligent smartphones, the better the experience gets. But if everybody’s behind the time, there’s not much to gain.

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