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DialByPhoto; Do not let the name fool ya

Tue Apr 10, 2007 - 8:09 AM EDT - By Jimmie Geddes


When I got the chance to review DialByPhoto I thought it was going to do what its name implies, but I’m happy to report it does so, and more.

DialByPhoto is different from other photo dialing applications because it does so much more than just letting you call someone from a picture on your Treo. DialByPhoto creates the popular "Today Screen" user interface found on Windows Mobile, and adds it to the Palm OS. With DialByPhoto you not only get a photo dialer, you get a "Today Screen" that is completely customizable, allowing you to choose what looks best to you. When I say completely customizable I’m not joking. There are tons of settings under the settings options so you’ll never get bored and can change your view whenever you feel the need.

As you can see from the picture, DialByPhoto gives you access to your Call Log, Photo Contacts, Calendar, Email, Contacts, Dial Pad, Web, and More. I love that DialbyPhoto shows the day, date, time, battery strength, and cellular signal in every screen. There are so many good programs out there that don't have this feature. I like to know what time it is no matter what I'm doing, so I really appreciate being able to see a clock on each screen.

All of the items on the launcher screen are integrated into the Palm PIM applications, so tapping on them will open up the corresponding application.

Dialing by photo

DialByPhoto adds the popular feature found on Palm’s Windows Mobile Treos that allow you to dial a contact by photo from your today screen. You can easily scroll through your photo contacts, press the center button on your five way navigation button and place your call, it couldn’t be easier.

Here are some shots of my screen, I know some pretty whacky people ;-). I also know some important people, sorta. It’s nice being able to call Britney since we all know she’s been having a rough time lately. Regis and Larry always want to know the latest gadgets, and are constantly asking if they should go with a Palm OS or Windows Mobile Treo. I keep telling them if I can afford to have two Palm OS Treos and one Windows Mobile Treo, they can afford both.

Here’s another shot of my home screen with my "important" people. When I hear rumors of upcoming Treos, I always place a call to the "Treo Trio" to try and get them to talk, but you know them, they like to keep things a secret. It’s nice knowing they’re only a tap away; maybe one day they’ll give me the scoop.

Contact Search

I don’t have a picture for every contact I have in my Treo, I’m sure most people don’t. DialByPhoto makes it so simple and familiar to find that contact you need right away. Here’s how it works: From the main screen of DialByPhoto you just start typing a contact’s name and it will narrow down the contact’s name the same way your Treo currently does. DialByPhoto keeps the simplicity and elegance in Palm’s contact search while also giving it a nice and much needed facelift.

Here’s an example of how DialByPhoto does contact search.

Call Log

Another great feature in DialByPhoto is their Call Log. If I miss a call, I'd like to know who had tried calling me. With the DialByPhoto Call Log, the "From Where" feature will let me know the city and state the call originated from. And if the call came from a business, I'll even be given the business address. This feature is really useful. Even cell phones get lots of wrong numbers and some are even starting to get advertising-like calls. I see numbers on my "missed call" list all the time that I don't recognize. Now I know whether or not to call some of these numbers back thanks to the Call Log's great features.


DialByPhoto even comes with its own DialPad. You don’t need to buy a separate dial pad application to spruce up the simple dial pad your Treo comes with. DialByPhoto's DialPad is transparent so I can set the background to any pictures I have stored on my Treo. If fact, the possibilites are endless since I can use just about any photo I want for the background! Here are a just a couple of the DialPad’s I’ve chosen to use on my Treo 680.

Reject by SMS

A popular feature found on Treos is the ignore with text function. DialByPhoto enhances this by setting some Predefined SMS Messages, snazzy looking emoticons, or just letting you create a new message to be sent to the caller.

When I see Larry’s face pop up on my Treo, it’s usually one of two things; some kind of technical support issue, or trying to get some dirt on Britney. Thankfully DialByPhoto has me covered and I usually text him back that “I’m in a meeting”, the old guy falls for it every time ;) What a great way to be able to ignore someone without "really" ignoring them. They'll appreciate the fact that you sent them that short message explaining why you didn't answer.

Rapid Web Searching

On the main screen of DialByPhoto you’ll notice a Web icon. This is one of my favorite features of DialByPhoto. You don’t have to open up blazer to get to a page; you can simply type where you want to go, hit GO, and blazer takes you to the page. Talk about a time saver. Sometimes you're in a hurry to look up something and just bypassing the process of clicking on Blazer can save you a little time.

DialByPhoto also lets you select how you want to use the web search tool. They’ve added options for Google, Local Businesses and Services, Movies, Wikipedia, and Dictionary. If you’re in a pinch to find out what time and where that movie you want to see is playing, just select “movies” as the way to search. I also love typing in an actor’s name using the built-in Wikipedia search.

A few extras

DialByPhoto has a few extras worth mentioning. First and foremost, their technical support is top of the line. From the menu you can check for updates to make sure you have the latest and greatest version of DialByPhoto. You can also download free icons from their site by tapping the "Get Cool New Icons" under the "More" menu. You can then assign these icons to people in your contacts if you don’t have a picture of them, or would prefer to use a cool cartoonish icon.

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