Asurion Mobile introduced their new open mobile address book called simply "Asurion Mobile AddressBook." Although the name may not be all that flashy, the app itself is. With this mobile address book, you can add social elements to your contact list including Flickr photos, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. This may remind you of the upcoming Palm Pre's address book which will deliver similar functionality with its Facebook integration, however Asurion's solution does even more. And thanks to the app's open framework, it's not limited to the social add-ons it ships with - developers can extend it any way they like.At this week's DEMO 09 conference
Android-Only (For Now)
At the moment, Asurion's address book is available only on Android phones, and it takes advantage of the phone's open nature to access the address book details stored on the device. An iPhone version may or may not be in the works as the company seems more focused on selling their solution as something that could be integrated into handsets before time of purchase. Asurion already has relationships with several major carriers in the U.S. and Canada thanks to past software deals, so it's reasonable to assume they'll leverage those connections once again to sell their new application.
For the end user, the Asurion address book is more than just a fun way to see a contact's social information - it also lets you return a phone call via email, IM, or even a status update. Other updates like messages or photo sharing can be sent out to groups you create in the application. This makes it easy to share with multiple people at once - like sending a photo to all your friends or family.
The end user experience is entirely customizable since consumers can pick and choose which social elements, known as "mix-ins," are integrated. These mix-ins can include things like email, messaging, social networks, media sharing, mapping, interactive games, and anything else a developer can envision.
Another interesting element to the Asurion address book is the idea of a "Smart Contact." This is a contact that isn't representative of a person, but rather functions as a service. For example, a preferred airline Smart Contact delivers up-to-date travel information, provides access to reservations, frequent flyer miles, and more. That's only one example, but it's easy to imagine how brands could take advantage of this feature to further integrate themselves into customers' lives.
Perhaps the best thing about the Asurion application is that it provides a way to access the information which is most important to you without having to jump from application to application. You can now do more with the personal contacts you're the closest to - the ones who you care enough about to enter into your phone.
If you want to get in on the Asurion Mobile AddressBook beta, you can sign up here: asurionmobile.com/beta.