DreamConnect is a native Symbian OS .sis application that’s available upon registration at the website. The application is linked to the IMEI of the device.
There has been no improvements to the S60 contact manager over various feature packs and OS versions despite persistent demands demands from the online community for many improvements like adding support for Categories and so on. Lets see if DreamConnect is a compelling replacement for the native S60 contact manager.
DreamConnect installs itself as a native Symbian application. It provides extra and useful functionality and a different UI but uses the native contacts database of the Symbian OS.
DreamConnect lets you create new contacts and edit existing contacts seamlessly on the contacts database. Therefore the user does not have to worry about managing multiple versions of contact information. For the same reason that DreamConnect uses the underlying contacts database, sync to desktop applications like Outlook is not affected by installing DreamConnect.
At startup, DreamConnect reloads the contacts database for its own use. During all the operations of DreamConnect, you can still continue to use the S60 Contacts application without any interference. But any change to the contacts using the S60 Contacts will not reflect in DreamConnect until its restarted again so that the latest contacts database is reloaded.
Two applications are installed, DreamConnect and DSVCardApp. DreamConnect is the contacts management application. DSVCardApp is the vCard reader. Existing vCards can be imported onto the S60 mobile and can be viewed.
Two features that stand out are Find and grouping contacts into categories.
The Find function has two features – KeyMatch and Global Find. Just like the desktop search on the S60 E71, the KeyMatch feature you can just starting typing the name of a Contact and DreamConnect shows the contacts that match the search string. The numeric key pad with three alphabets on each key is displayed on the screen and you can just type away. This is very useful and you will get used to searching contacts this way very quickly. The KeyMatch feature beats the current contact search feature on the S60 5th edition, e.g. Nokia 5800, hands down.
The second find feature is the Global Find. Using this feature, you can search any text in the contacts database. I searched for partial phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc. This is a very powerful feature and the user will find it absolutely essential and valuable as the usage increases.
DreamConnect imports existing categories in Outlook and also lets you create new categories on the mobile. But the most important feature is the sub-categories option where you can file contacts under a parent category. This allows you to create a high-level hierarchy of categories like Business, Personal and within Business, you can create categories for various companies, etc. You can also filter the contacts by categories so that only the contacts belonging to a particular category or sub-category are displayed. And finally you can remove contacts from a category and add it to a different category. The options are enormous.
When you open a contact, it is displayed on a white background with all the information clearly shown, including long addresses, email ids, multiple telephone numbers, etc. Its very useful to look up when I am driving and am searching for an address.
I always found that looking up addresses on the native S60 Contacts was not user-friendly to put it mildly. Addresses are entered in different fields like P.O. Box, Street, City, etc and they are also displayed in the same format. if the street name is a long, only a part of it is displayed. You actually have go into the edit mode of a field to view it completely.
Contacts can also be zoomed in and out using the volume keys!! That’s a very thoughtful feature. But I would also like to flip through contacts with a finger swipe on the screen. That would have been a great feature.
URLs and Email links can be invoked from the Contacts Display mode. This is also a very useful feature and is not supported in native S60 Contacts.
Contacts can be sorted with more options than just first name and last name. You can sort contacts so that the Company or the Country appears in the list. I personally liked Company, First Name, Last Name option.
The DSVCardApp application will import vCard in the .vcf format and save them into the contacts database. If you have many contacts stored in this format, this application is very useful.
With great Find features and various filter-options to display contacts, handling and using DreamConnect was actually a dream.
While I didn’t find any weaknesses in the current features of DreamConnect, while using it, I observed that a few new features would have made it a dynamite. Here are the features I’d like to see in DreamConnect.
DreamConnect must support Kinetic scrolling. Its still very difficult to browse through the contacts using the scroll bar on the right.
Why doesn’t DreamConnect just simply replace the native S60 Contacts and Log applications? Users will be confused by two different Contacts even if you communicate clearly that they use the same database.
I absolutely must have the ability to flip through contacts with a finger swipe on the screen when in the Display mode, just like flipping through images. The extent of user friendliness of this feature can never be overstated.
After using DreamConnect for just a few days, I must say its a great replacement for the native S60 Contacts. It addresses all the limitations of the native contacts application – adding a good find, adding categories, better display of contact information and various filters. DreamConnect is a must have and I’ll give it 5 of 5. It can be downloaded here after registration.