Before and after
When I first heard of Contacts Cleaner over a year ago, the app was decent but it really wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I found that even after initializing the app and letting it clean my contacts, I still had many duplicates. Yesterday, I decided to give the app another try, grabbing it for $0.99 in App World and it was one of the best app purchases I have ever made. Considering what the app did for me, I’m still shocked at the incredibly low price point. In my address book, Contacts Cleaner found over 35,000 entries and 15,000 duplicates. These duplicates were ruining my Address Book and stem from the fact that I have around 15 Google Apps accounts connected to my device and downloading contacts. Having this many duplicates makes the Universal Search useless for contacts, because you have to still search through your Address Book and figure out which contact is the right one. I also have Xobni installed and while Xobni works great when you’re in your email, making telephone calls from inside the Phone App doesn’t access Xobni. You still need to have your contacts cleaned so that you can make quick calls from inside the Phone App.
Starting Contacts Cleaner is one of the simplest experiences you’ll ever have with a BlackBerry app. All you do is install the app and it prompts you to press menu and select “Clean Contacts”. The app could probably make this even easier by putting a button on the app homescreen rather than in the menu, but it’s still very simple. One you’ve done that, the app does everything else. The app will search your device and come up with a number of contacts and the amount of duplicates. It will then begin to merge the duplicates into single contacts. Again, my device had 35,000 entries and 15,000 duplicates. One caveat while using this app is that your device will get bogged down while the app is cleaning contacts, so you should initiate at night before you go to sleep. Also, make sure your device is plugged in so that it doesn’t die during the cleaning process. To merge 15,000 duplicate contacts, it took the app about 3 hours to complete, which was a little longer than anticipated. But once the app had finished, it was astonishing at how well Contacts Cleaner had cleaned my contacts. All 15,000 duplicates were now gone and names were easily searched. The app was also thorough enough that a second run of the application found zero duplicates. This was expected but also just great to confirm.
Contacts Cleaner is simply a must-have application for anyone with a lot of contacts. Could the app be better? Of course. There are still some duplicates in my Address Book but there are a few pieces of information that differ between the contacts so I can see how the app would have thought them to be different contacts. When building an app like this, you probably have to take into account the fact that 2 people might have the same name. There are a lot of people in the Middle East for example that are named Mohammad Mohammad. I found that contacts with the same name but a different company listing (left company and I didn’t update), will not register as a duplicate, but whatever. Contacts Cleaner was so close to perfect I’m not complaining.
It boggles the mind how something so valuable could only be $0.99. Honestly, I would have paid $10 for this app. Easily. In fact, it would be really cool to see the company implement a “pay per contact cleaned” system where users with few contacts pay $0.99, and users such as myself pay $10. That would be very reasonable and probably easy to implement with the BlackBerry Payment Service. The app would be free and based on the number of duplicates found, the user could pay to have ‘x’ number of contacts cleaned for ‘y’ dollars. In any case, anyone with a dollar to spare should be buying this app.