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Phone-tree app makes calls so you don't have to

If you've ever had to make the same phone call to more than one person, you'll go ape over this app. It can send e-mails and text messages, too.

Mr. PhoneTree
Mr. PhoneTree Avikey

Are you coaching a soccer team? Hosting a party? Managing a mobile sales fleet? Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a way to quickly and automatically contact everyone involved, without having to make the same phone call over and over?

That's the idea behind Mr. PhoneTree, a new iPhone app that can call, e-mail, and/or text-message as many people as you want--and even request and track responses.

Think about it. You need to remind a dozen parents about soccer practice. You need to tell invited guests that the party has been moved to an indoor location. You want to let friends and family members know that the new baby was born at 8:53 p.m. and she and Mom are doing fine.

Mr. PhoneTree can handle those and other situations in which you don't want to call each and every person yourself. The app supports simple broadcasts, confirmed delivery (in which it keeps trying to connect with each person until it receives a confirmation), and even surveys (like asking people to RSVP for an event).

All you do is choose the people you want to contact (from your your iPhone address book or an imported Excel spreadsheet), then create a template for the reminder or message you want to send. (That's a nice perk, as it allows you to send the same message in the future if needed.)

The app itself is free, but you have to purchase credits (in bulk) for your outbound messages. (The developer provides 25 to get you started.) Credits start at $4.99 for 75, and get cheaper the more you buy (180 for $9.99, 450 for $19.99, and so on). Simple broadcasts cost one credit per call, e-mail, or SMS, whereas the other methods might run two or three.

I definitely recommend watching the tutorial video so you can see how Mr. PhoneTree works. While the interface is quite simple once you learn the process, it's not immediately clear how to get started.

This app is really, really cool. When I was coaching my daughter's soccer team, I would have killed for this sort of thing.