Orbit Social Phonebook is a great iPhone/iPod Touch application bringing together your phonebook with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, matching contacts between them, and making it possible to have a one-stop solution for all your social needs. Orbit organizes your communication needs (Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email etc) under one hub, and puts you in control of what you want to know about whom through its unique ‘Social Volume’ feature.When you launch the application, you are required to create an account and presented with the option to link in your Facebook/Twitter profiles.
Enter the credentials for your social networking profiles.
Once your profiles are linked, you will be asked to select your Inner Circle. This is a group of your close contacts, whether family members, colleagues, or friends, about whom you constantly want to remain updated. You can have up to 20 contacts in your inner circle.
Done with the Inner Circle and the application will scan your phonebook and social network friend lists, and match the names against each other. Confirmed matches will be automatically recognized, but for the rest you will have to do manual pairing. The application ingeniously suggests possible matches based on partial names.
Since this is the first launch of the application, you may want to correct the non-matched contacts. Contacts are presented in thumbnail view with the number of possible matches listed as small figures along with service icons.
Once done with the pairing process, the main interface presents itself. Note that for the first time you cannot skip the pairing process, but there is an option to come back for further pairing as many times as you like. The application will not suggest matches for all your phonebook contacts, especially if the contact’s phonebook name and social network name are altogether different. In that case you have the option to match any contact with any social network profile manually.
Five main tabs are presented at the bottom of the screen. The contacts tab offers Favorites, Recent, All, and Orbit, which lists all the ‘orbits’ that you have created, including your inner circle.
Orbit has the ability to create social groups which it calls ‘orbits’. These orbits help keep your conversations more organized based on the category of contact, which you can define as per you liking. Hence, it will make easier to keep track of your coworkers activities without going through the entire phonebook.
Favorites are populated on the basis of frequency of communication. Most contacted friends automatically get identified as favorites. The recent and all menus work the same as in iPhone’s native phone application.
The ‘Me’ tab gives you complete control over your own details, connections, and preferences. Explore through all the four upper tabs to define your own particulars.
The unique ‘Social Volume’ feature is presented in the Volume tab, where you can control the level of information that is delivered to you pertaining to a particular orbit or contact. Please note that contacts can be configured individually as well. The Global Volume feature governs every contact. Orbit delivers information as push notifications if the application is not running. Hence, having lower social volumes will mean lesser notifications, thereby increasing battery life.
Individual contacts may be controlled by selecting an individual contact from the Contacts tab. Doing so will also enable you to see social network updates for that contact. The application supports commenting on status updates, as well as displaying the comments already made.
Lastly, from the main interface you can also access ‘Tips’, which provide help on basic operations of the application.
Orbit is a wonderful application that enables you to easily keep in touch with your social networks and manage your communications on the go. The application offers all the basic phonebook functionality, and you can replace the native phone application on the iPhone by replacing the Phone app with Orbit in your iPhone dock. The application requires iPhone/iPod Touch OS 3.0 or higher. It is available in the iTunes AppStore as a free download, but you need an iTunes account to download the application.