BeamMe, Fliq, or give Handshakes to Friends

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One of the shortcomings of the iPhone's contacts management is the inability to quickly send someone contact information. It is a feature found in some other smartphone operating systems and a real need if you are a business user.

Fortunately, there are three apps that seek to give you more control over your contacts: Handshake, Fliq, and BeamMe. Each has their own strengths and shortcomings. Your individual needs will probably determine which app will be your best fit.

beamme iphoneBeamMe - A very simple, but effective app for sending anyone your contact information. BeamMe lets you enter your information to create a vCard, a standard contact file. Then BeamMe lets you e-mail or send a text message to anyone that includes a link to download your vCard. It takes a couple of steps for both the sender and receiver, as the person getting the message has to click the link then agree to download it from the BeamMe web site. But BeamMe is pretty intuitive and does the job of giving out your information. The downside is that you are only able to send your contact information you enter through the app. So it's great for sending out your details, but BeamMe won't help you to share others' information from your contacts list.

fliq iphoneFliq - This app is for more than just sharing contacts. Fliq gives you the ability to share your vCard, from your contact list, or a photo. But there's a catch: with Fliq you must be on WiFi, and the person you are sharing with must also have Fliq open on their iPhone. So don't expect to use Fliq as a way to share your information with everyone. But if a friend, significant other, or colleague spends a lot of time connected to the same wireless network as you, Fliq offers a very easy way to share data.

handshake iphoneHandshake - This app has some of the strengths of both Fliq and beamMe. You have the ability to send either a vCard or photo directly to someone else's iPhone. But just Fliq, you both must be running the app for it to work. And because the information goes through Handshake's servers, it must be up and running (unlike when I downloaded and tried it out). But everyone's server tanks once in a while, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

In the end I wish I could take bits of each app and combine it into one. BeamME offers the best way to transfer information by not requiring the receiver to have the same app or be on your same network. Handshake lets you send other contacts besides your own. But no app quite does it all — allow you to send any contact or photo to another user at any time over any network. Once this niche has been filled the iPhone will be a stronger app for business and professional users.

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  • Derek Moore

    Looks like there's a lot of competition for this kind of service. Best of luck to them

  • Derek Moore

    BeamMe has proven to be very useful in my experience

  • DominoFect

    Fliq is my fav of these three