SmartPhones are everywhere these days and capable of doing very cool things - From live video chats to fancy 3D games. You'd expect that if SmartPhones have gotten so sophisticated, they'd have figured out the basic stuff by now - Like making sure you never lose your phone contacts. But every now and then, I see that embarrassing post by someone or another in my facebook feed that says - "I lost my phone and lost my contacts. Please SMS me your phone number again".In this interconnected world where information is key, your phonebook probably needs to be the first thing you protect. To help solve this problem, Optinno Mobitech have released a new Android App who's purpose is to backup and restore your phone's contacts. And so, since I don't want to risk making that embarrassing facebook post admitting that I lost my phone and contacts, I decided to give this app a try.
I downloaded the app from the Google Play store and installed it. When I launched it, there was a helpful set of screens that precisely explained what the app does and how to use it. The first step is to backup your contacts. The app backs up your contacts not just to an external SD card, but also sends it to your Gmail account as an email in a separate folder. This way, your contacts are permanently backed up in Gmail, so you don't really have to worry about losing them even if you lose your phone. I clicked "Backup now", and the app started exporting my contacts.My first surprise was when it said I have 2200 contacts. I didn't even know I knew so many people, let alone their phone numbers and email addresses. I had half-a-feeling that the app was going to give in with so many contacts, but it handled them with ease. After exporting my contacts (which turned out to be a 9 MB zip file), it neatly uploaded it to Gmail and backed it up on my external SD card. I then tried to restore it to a different phone that I own, and that worked perfectly as well.
The thing I really liked about this app is that it exports my contacts in the standard .VCF file format, so I can import it into Microsoft Outlook or any other program that understands VCF files. The program also did another nice thing: It backed up the contact's picture into the exported files as well, so when I restored it on another phone, all the pictures of my contacts were restored as well. Nice.
The only catch, though, is that you need to enable IMAP in your Gmail account for the "backup to Gmail". This is not particularly hard - It's a simple button in the Gmail settings, but doing this additional step distracts from the otherwise simple experience of the app. And I don't know that going to the Gmail settings page to turn on IMAP is a natural step for your "regular joe" users. What would be better is if the App sent an email from the phone to your own email address and added the backed-up contacts file as an attachment.
In any case, I think this App is very useful. If you have a SmartPhone, you must ensure that you have your contacts backed up somewhere, for when you eventually lose your phone or drop it from the second floor (both those things have happened to me). Otherwise, you're going to find yourself on the wrong end of that embarrassing facebook post.
You can download the Z1 Contacts Backup and Restore app from the Google Play marketplace.