PhoneTell Smartphone App Searches the Cloud for Contact Info

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A start-up now named PhoneTell has launched a free smartphone application that gives users contact information about who is calling while letting them respond to the caller with a custom voice or SMS text message if they can’t pick up the phone.

Now downloadable from the Android Market for Droids and other Android phones, the app will also be available for Apple’s iPhones in about another month and for RIM BlackBerry phones six weeks from now, said PhoneTell CEO Steve Larsen, in an interview.” Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is not on our roadmap just yet,” he added.

Officially introduced this week at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City, the app was first shown at last year’s FallDemo show, back when PhoneTell was known as CallSpark.

More than Just the Number
The new PhoneTell app can give users much more info about callers than just their phone numbers. The app works in conjunction with a cloud-based search service, also available for free from PhoneTell, which can deliver a caller’s name, e-mail address, and snailmail address, for example, if PhoneTell is able to find this data.

To help users fill in their contact info, PhoneTell culls data from sources ranging from the yellow and white pages to LinkedIn,, Gmail, and Zagat, for example.

On Android phones, the cloud-based search works with both phone numbers listed on incoming calls and phone numbers already listed in the dialer. The same will be true for BlackBerries, although on iPhones, cloud-based search and other functionality won’t be available for inbound phone calls. “On iPhones, the PhoneTell application will essentially replace the dialer,” Larsen observed.

In another set of capabilities, users can pre-set individualized voice and text messages for specific inbound callers.

This function can come in especially handy if you can’t pick up the phone because you’re in a meeting at work, driving down the highway, or watching a movie in a theater, said the PhoneTell CEO.

PhoneTell users might want to leave a voicemail for a doctor’s office asking them to call you back in an hour, or text a friend that they’ll be free to talk on the phone after they’ve gotten home at night, for instance. The app can also be set to reminder the user to call people back.

PhoneTell’s features won’t work on any phone with inbound callers who block their caller IDs, “But that’s okay, because if people block their caller IDs, then they really do want to be anonymous,” Larsen noted.




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