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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New improved version of phone book, call recorder and threaded SMS program Youlu

Youlu Address Book: contacts manager, threaded SMS, call recorder for Symbian
Youlu Address Book is more than an address book. It's also an SMS program, call recorder, and "vibrate on answer" application. A name like "Youlu Contacts" would fit this versatile program much better.

If you trust Youlu's server with your private data it can backup your contacts, messages, and calender to its server. This not only gets your phone book back when your phone gets lost or broken, but it's also useful for synchronising your data between phones. But even without Youlu's online backup there are still plenty of reasons to use this very useful program.

Youlu Adress Book does the things you expect from an address book (make phone calls, edit your contacts, send SMSs). The latest version reads the contacts on your SIM card too, and it lets you edit the pictures associated with your contacts. Youlu lets you tie ringtones to contacts if they're stored in the standard sounds folders on your phone. It doesn't see sound files in other folders, which is great if you want to set a ringtone without having to scroll through the thousands of MP3s that you may have stored in your music folder.

The SMS tab shows your messages as threaded conversations. The latest version of Youlu sees all your messages, even if you move them into custom folders. Even better, Youlu lets you choose whether you want to group conversations by contact or by folder. And unlike some other SMS programs, messages that you send with Youlu appear in the built-in SMS application of your phone too.

Some minor things to fix:

The phone book manager doesn't have all the fields from Symbian's built-in address book. Anniversaries, SIP (VoIP) numbers, and notes are among the missing entries.

The FreeCallSprite-like "vibrate on answer" function didn't work when I tried it.

The call recorder works if you activate it with the central navigation button, but the "record with camera button" option made Youlu crash on my phone.

Hitting the red hangup button sends the program to the background instead of closing it, and when Youlu runs in the background it won't show up in the task manager when you long-press the menu key. Exiting the program still requires a trip to the menu in the settings tab. Maybe a future version of Youlu can let us configure the behaviour of the red button and make the program appear the task manager when sent to the background?

If Youlu fixes the few remaining issues it will be very tempting to ditch my phone's built-in phone book and SMS client and use Youlu instead. Especially if it gets an offline backup function to store contacts, messages, and calender entries in a file on my own memory card and computer instead of on Youlu's server.

Youlu UPDATE: This link is dead. And so is Symbian.

Last time I checked, the official site still offered version 1.0.1 of the program. But version 1.0.2 (which is much better) is available on Ziddu:

Youlu 1.0.2 (english version) on Ziddu UPDATE: This link is dead. And so is Symbian.

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