Today Shanghai based company,  CooTek has just officially launched the latest version of their app called TouchPal at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona.  You may think your smartphone was already very smart but TouchPal makes it even better using geeky algorithms. In a world where every second counts, TouchPal can definitely save you valuable time.

Quicker dialling and search

Currently when dialling on your smartphone, you have to first search a contact by their first name or last name, then you have enter the contact info page to dial. There’s actually fewer steps you can take to achieve the same result.

TouchPal allows you to search in a number of ways:

  • Type in any part of the first or last name. For example if I wanted to call Frederic  Housing, I can just type ‘Fred’ or ‘sing’ and it will pop up.
  • Type initials. For the same name I can type ‘FH’ and it will work.
  • Type the number. For some strange reason, if the phone number sticks in your mind more than their name, you can search any part of their number to find them.

Conceptually it may be hard to understand how much this makes a difference, but you should download it to test it out. Note that the people you are searching don’t need TouchPal for it to work.

More effective status updates

When you are busy in a meeting or just don’t want to be bothered, it’s hard to make that public to everyone. But with TouchPal, you can. Similar to any instant messaging application like Skype or QQ or MSN, you can set your status. I can select from ‘Available’ or ‘Busy’ so people will know when they can call me. I can even set the duration of how busy I am, for example, “Busy for 1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours.” However if someone wanted to call me urgently, they can tag me. When I become available again and look at my phone, I can see all the people that tagged me and decide to call them back or not.  The difference is that, instead of ignoring someone’s call or hanging up on someone in a somewhat rude way, people will know my status and I will know who really wants to talk to me rather than look through my missed calls. For someone to view my status, they also need TouchPal.

Quicker status updates across multiple SNS platforms

Many of us have multiple SNS accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Ren Ren or Weibo. It can be a pain to update all of them individually. With TouchPal, you can hook all your accounts together and then choose which one’s you want to publish your status to. This also saves time and effort for all you social junkies.

Simpler contact exchange

When meeting a lot of people, like at Mobile World Congress, swapping business cards is a pain to collect and add to your phone. TouchPal allows all users to be able to simply swipe their phone and the contacts information will jump from one phone to another. For example, if I found a good contact at MWC, I first select ‘Exchange Contact’ then I enter the other persons last 4 digits of their mobile number as a security confirmation, then everything from my contact info, status and picture will be transferred instantly.  No more manual entering of contacts and their info!

Greater control of your information

Another cool feature of TouchPal allows you to be in total control of your information. Meaning, currently if you changed your mobile number or Twitter name; unless you tell people, they won’t know it changed. With TouchPal, information is stored on the cloud and synced to your TouchPal contacts instantly.  No more blasting out of Facebook status updates or emails telling people to change your number or other details.

Additionally, when someone stores your picture on their phone they usually need to take your picture with their phone then make it your profile picture. But what happens if you don’t like the picture they took? With TouchPal, you choose your profile picture and it will automatically push it to your TouchPal contacts.

The first version was launched in late 2010 and has already amassed 2.5 million downloads with the majority in China.

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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