Caret may just be about to start a mini revolution on iPhone, as well as Facebook and, eventually, Android. It is, essentially an app that brings many of the functions of instant messaging clients, such as WhatsApp, to a socially integrated contacts and calling application.
Surprisingly, unlike some similar apps, it is not overwhelming in any way, and is as easy to use, at its basic level for calling, as the standard iOS phone app.
The app’s killer feature, as far as I am concerned, is the ability to set your availability status, not just in a general fashion, but to specified groups and even to individuals. So, you want to be available to everyone, aside from that one annoying person you really don’t want to talk to? Caret has got you covered.
The signup process requires a validation call, but the whole thing only takes a couple of minutes, and it is great that the app is truly international, although I do feel there is a bit of a problem here. You see, in order to select whether someone can see your status, they must have the correct international country code added, which means the tricky task of deleting the first ‘0’ and adding the correct code to the front of the number. Surely an option to automatically add codes to all your contacts would be better?
Here, straight from the developer, are the app’s best features:
• Real-time information about your contacts
∙ Location, direction, distance, map
∙ Time-zone and weather
• Per-contact privacy control
• Smart contact groups
• Call status for cellphones and landlines
• Free Internet calls
• VoIP profile calling
• Automatic features: In call, Silent mode, Low battery, Prone position
• Synchronization of call status with calendar events
• Location based community images
• Quick search on keypad by name and phone number
• Passwordless registration
• Email status (see when your friend is logged in to his/her email address using a Gmail account)
Now, the other great feature of the app is the ability to integrate other services, such as maps and Flickr, with your contacts. Now, this will only work for those contacts that have also signed up for Caret, but if you do have a few friends with the app, it really is impressive to tap on a contact and get all this beautiful extra visual information flowing in front of you.
It really is the core of the app, and it is a really, really good reason to try and persuade your friends to give the app a try. I can see the use of this app popping up in bubbles and expanding to larger communities, which is only a good thing.
Overall, this is an innovative and interesting app that provides and excellent replacement for the basic iOS dialler, with only a few issues with international codes stopping it from scoring higher.