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Miyowa's InTouch5: Cell phone contact evolved

Miyowa's new platform InTouch 5 is a lot more than just an address book.

InTuch 5 allows you to access more than just address-related information of a contact. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

I remember my first cell phone being the Ericsson KF788. It had a three-line resolution on a black and white screen and an address book that had enough fields to store only a person's name and one phone number. If a friend had two phone numbers, I would have to create two separate entries. That was way back when, well, in 2001.

Cell phones have evolved so much since then, and, along the way, their internal address books have evolved right along with them. In the address book of today's smart phones, you can store almost any information about a person, down to even his or her daughter's birthday.

And yet, there's room for the address book to evolve even more.

Miyowa, an European Union-based global company that thrives on Mobile Web 2.0 technologies, announced today InTouch 5. This is the first mobile application designed to put people's complete digital life on their mobile device; by integrating the address book with other social content and applications, such as mobile IM, e-mail, user, social networks, file sharing and location services. For example, you can immediately connect to a buddy's status on Facebook, Flicker, or even instant message him/her just by accessing the contact's entry on your phone's address book.

From the service providers' perspective, InTouch 5 is to allow them to deliver an aggregated, robust Web 2.0 application over their existing infrastructure, while maintaining control of the services and user information. This also allows the provider to keep a backup of their customers' address book, as well as other content. This is helpful in case of loss or equipment upgrade: the user can get a new device with all of his/her digital life already set up on it. Together with InTouch 5, Miyowa hopes to get into the U.S. market, which has been trailing behind Europe in regard to mobile applications.

InTouch 5 is built around real user requirements and on a proprietary communications protocol that extends the IMPS standard to deliver Web 2.0 functionality. The solution works with most major mobile platforms, including Windows CE, Symbian, Java and BREW-based mobile devices via the world's thinnest client software. Miyowa claims that its proprietary communications protocol increases mobile-application responsiveness and reaction, resulting in a 50- to 80-percent bandwidth reduction on the carrier network, and significantly increased handset battery life.

Now the question is: is that really necessary to have this kind of highly integrated address book? Personally, I would say no, though it seems very cool, but I was pretty happy with the Ericsson KF788 so I kind of belong to a dated demographic here. What do you think?