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Adding *everyone* to a cellphone's contact list


Austrian Herold, which publishes the country’s white and yellow pages, claims to offer a worldwide first. Customers can purchase Austria’s entire phone directory and plug it into their cellphone. At first glance, this may seem somewhat outmoded. Why use an offline solution when almost every modern phone has internet access? Well, looking up phone numbers through a smartphone’s browser has two major drawbacks: it can be very slow and very expensive, since telecom providers in many countries still charge outlandish fees for data transfer. And Herold’s mobile phone book has a very useful feature: if a user receives a call from someone who isn’t in their personal contact list, Herold will automatically find and display the caller’s name. (So-called ‘calling name delivery’ is offered by telecom providers in some countries, but often doesn’t work if a call takes place between different providers.) Herold Mobile is currently only available for smartphones that run on Symbian or Windows Mobile. The digital phone book costs EUR 29.90, including monthly updates, and the directory currently lists over 4 million residential and business phone numbers. Admittedly, this particular concept is easiest to accomplish in countries with small populations—Austria has just 8.2 million inhabitants. Placed in a wider context: while satisfying consumers’ infolust is usually equated with being online, sometimes it makes sense to take the information offline. Spotted by: Martina Meng



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