iphone-app First the big news – Yes, we have an iPhone app!

The Fonolo iPhone application lets you search our database of companies, navigate their phone menus and deep dial, all from your iPhone. (Deep dialing means you skip the phone menu and connect directly to the point you want.)

To make the call, you just tap the spot on the menu that you want. Fonolo then makes the call to the company, navigates to their menu, and calls you back.  When you answer, Fonolo connects your call to the company.

Good things about Fonolo-on-iPhone:

1) It feels natural: The navigation is “iPhone style”. That is, you navigate a phone menu the same way you navigate your music library artist-to-album-to-song. I believe you’ll find yourself thinking “Of course this is how phone menus should work on my iPhone”.

2) One less step: Unlike Fonolo-on-the-web, we don’t need to prompt you for a phone number since we know you are on your iPhone.

3) Smooth integration with the calling process: When the call you’ve requested comes in, the iPhone switches to “phone mode” letting you talk and use the keypad normally. When you end the call, iPhone takes you back to the Fonolo app where you left off.

Bad things about Fonolo-on-iPhone:

1) It’s not on App Store yet.

Sadly, we are in the same boat as many other iPhone developers in being at the mercy of Apple’s review process. There’s already been lots of complaining about that process, but I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon because I think there’s merit in their approach. The trade-off for a slow review process is that approved applications will be “well behaved”. That in turn leads to confidence among users that it is safe to experiment with different applications and that, in my opinion, is worth the price we’re paying as developers. I have my fingers crossed that we will be on the App Store quickly.

Winning at Mobilize
We were very lucky to unveil our application at the Mobilize conference, put on for the first time by the talented folks at GigaOm. I hope Mobilize becomes a regular event because I found it to be an excellent show: Top notch speakers and panels; A very savvy crowd which was a good mix of start-ups, big industry and VC; plus a beautiful venue (UCSF’s Mission Bay Center).

My favorite part of the show was the Launchpad event in which we participated and ultimately won. Here’s the video which includes a demonstration of Fonolo on the iPhone:

The judges for the event:

  • Ryan Block, Editor, GDGT.com
  • Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners
  • Nagraj Kashyap, Sr. Director, Qualcomm Ventures
  • James Kendrick, jkOnTheRun


After the presentation, judges get a minute to make comments à la American Idle. I can’t really remember that part, because it was all a blur, but according to GigaOm’s coverage:

Kashyap said: “I love the app, this is the first thing I’m going to do when I get home.”  and Block said: “I want to give that guy a hug.”

Wow! Thanks.

Some additional coverage

TechCrunch: Fonolo Joins The Growing Arsenal Against Phone Tree Hell
Top iPhone News: Fonolo for iPhone makes navigating phone menus a snap
iPhone Buzz: Fonolo for iPhone makes navigating phone menus a snap
Mobile Syrup: Fonolo wins Judges’ Prize at Mobilize 2008
Jon Arnold: Fonolo – Top Pick by Judges at Mobilize


5 Responses to Fonolo unveils iPhone App, wins "Judges’ Choice" at GigaOm’s Mobilize

  1. Ryan Block says:

    What’s a judge gotta do to get a beta invite? :)

  2. Shai says:

    Ryan: It’s on the way!

    Any other bloggers or journalists (or Mobilize judges) that would like an invite, please email me. (shai AT fonolo).

    - Shai

  3. Brian Kirk says:

    i’m looking forward to the fonolo iPhone app like many others. i first read about fonolo at ‘smith on voip’ & when i saw the live demo at mobilize i was sold. i’m surprised that these BIG businesses with IVR trees aren’t working with companies like fonolo who are exposing the IVR tree to make caller more simple for consumers. while this technology may help the consumer, i have to assume that these BIG businesses are worried that they’ll loose product & service advertising opportunities as the consumer navigates his/her way through the IVR.

  4. Nice one! This will give Direct Line a run for its money, and I think mobile aps will be Fonolo’s growth engine.

  5. [...] you say, why not access this service directly from a mobile smartphone? Fonolo’s iPhone application, which won the Judges’ Award at GigaOm’s recent Mobilize 08 conference, will become [...]

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