Forums | Reviews | Search | Full Version

Review: Pronto Dial
by Mark Jensen on Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010

Pronto Dial Speed dial apps certainly aren’t for everyone. It is not uncommon for webOS users to make the “no need” case against speed dial apps, as webOS does in fact have many speed dialing features built-in to its native functionality. There is the oh-so-handy universal search, soon to be rebranded as “Just Type.” There are physical keys aplenty just waiting to be assigned one-touch speed dial functionality. Point being, these are just some of the “no need” arguments waged against speed dial apps made for webOS, and we have to admit, these arguments are not without merit.

However, if one-touch assigned physical keys or “just typing” to speed dial isn’t enough for you, there are currently some twenty-some speed dial apps available to you in App Catalog. That’s nothing new, as speed dial apps have been among some of the very first available for download in the early days of the App Catalog, and have been a mainstay among apps since the days of Palm OS and the old-school Treo line.

One such speed dial app, Pronto Dial, $3.00 from angryGoat (love that name), has more than just hit my radar of late. It has replaced my phone app and landed a permanent spot on my Pre’s launch bar. Pronto Dial is a relative latecomer to the speed dialer party. It was first available just a few short months ago, early July 2010 to be exact, long after other speed dial apps had enjoyed nearly a full year of exposure and development, and even tens of thousands of combined downloads. To date, Pronto Dial clocks in with a respectable but room-to-move download count just over 2,200 total downloads as of this writing.

Pronto Dial Like the name suggests, Pronto Dial is... well, a dialer, and a fast one at that. Some dialer apps are simply too basic, while others are so robust they seem to have invented features we may never find a real world use for. And there are reasonable cases for both, as the developer wouldn’t have made such an app if he didn’t see an audience for it. Pronto Dial falls into the functional in between - simple yet robust, in all the right ways.

The developer of Pronto Dial seems to have had just a few well-defined priorities in mind for this app, namely, the ability to speed dial/email/text your most-used contacts with the fewest taps, swipes and scrolls, and doing so in a manner that feels like an integrated and native part of webOS that is. Herein lies the genius of Pronto Dial: for all of its functionality, it’s fast, simple, and above all feels like an extension to the built-in webOS phone app.

The first thing you’ll notice upon launching Pronto Dial is that it starts up fast. The load time here is second only to Palm’s own native phone app. No matter how many linked contacts I’ve added, load times have never taken more than three seconds with all data loaded and accessible.

Pronto Dial looks, acts and feels a lot like the native phone app. This is applicable right down to way each contact line does one of two things: one-touch dial (one part of the contact line), or activating a drop-down “drawer” (another part of the contact line) that mimics Palm’s own drawer metaphor in the call log. The opened drawer shows all numbers for that contact and lets you dial, text, email or go to the contact page for that particular contact. Sound familiar? It should, as the functionality is basically identical to the native phone app.

Pronto Dial has a few basic gestures that for any webOS user should come as very intuitive, if not second nature. Scrolling up or down for additional contacts, swiping left or right for additional contact groups, and finally tapping for one-touch calls, are about all you need to know to navigate your way through Pronto Dial’s many features and menus.

Pronto Dial Last but not least, Pronto Dial is highly customizable. The preference menu lets you determine not just the color or look of the UI (green is my personal favorite as it’s a dead ringer for the native phone app), but it also allows you to determine the basic functionality of the each feature. These preferences include how Pronto Dial starts up and closes, how the “drawer” metaphor functions, what contact numbers are given preference, use of predefined text/email messages, and so on.

You can even add up to five app shortcuts to your Pronto Dial home screen, as a type of secondary launcher. Shortcuts for the phone app, calendar app, contact app, web browser, email, and messaging are all one-touch launch options customizable in the preferences. For some users, the additional app shortcuts may free up even more space on your Palm app launcher and wave bar. The list of customizable features goes on and on. I especially like the unlimited number of scrolling contacts per page, the unlimited number of contact groups (pages), and the ability to user sort and name both individual contacts and contact groups.

Pronto dial doesn’t do notifications, mini-apps, or advanced gestures. It just launches fast, looks and operates like your native Palm phone app, and does one-touch dialing as well or better (i.e. faster) than any other speed dialer. After all, the point to a speed dialer is to make your dialing happen faster, hence the “speed” part of the name.

Pronto Dial is available in the Palm App Catalog for $3.00. A free trial version is also available.

Filed Under: ; Tags: Apps