iPhone Apps – Visual Dial and Callme Allow Users to add Photos as Speed Dial Icons to their iPhone’s Home Screen

iPhone Speed Dial Feature

Visual Dial which is available on the App Store and Callme which is available via Cydia for jailbroken iPhone are two iPhone apps that are aiming to bring the missing speed dial feature to the iPhone.

The iPhone apps allow users to add their friends photos as
speed dial icons to their iPhone’s home screen (as if it were an iPhone app) for easy one-touch-dial.

Due to iPhone’s virtual keyboard which is not directly accessible like a physical keyboard, this method is the fastest way to call a number.

iPhone app – Visual Dial developed by straight2market allows you to pick a photo from your iPhone’s camera roll. You can then scale, rotate and mark the area that you like to use as the Home Screen icon. Then pick a phone number from your iPhone address book and tap "Go Visual". The iPhone app submits the icon image to their servers (contact details are not transmitted) and opens a Safari webpage after further processing. You need to tap "+" then select "Add to Home screen" to add the speed dial icon (along with the photo you had selected).

You can checkout the demo video of Visual Dial to get an overview:



It is a lot simpler to add photos as speed dial icons using the Jailbreak iPhone app – Callme developed by Giovanni Chiappini. When you launch the iPhone app it loads the contacts from the address book which have photos associated to them (all the phone numbers of the contacts are displayed along with the photo of the contact). Tapping the "+" icon next to a contact throws up a screen where you can select the first name, last name, telephone type that you want to use as the title of the speed dial icon (you can also select none).

You also have an option to load contacts that don’t have a photo associated but I observed that the iPhone app crashes when you select such contacts.

When you exit the iPhone app, it reloads iPhone’s springboard and the speed dial icons that you had setup are available on your iPhone’s home screen for quick and easy access.

You can checkout the demo video of Callme to get an overview:



Visual Dial costs $2.99 and you can download it using this iTunes link. Callme, on the other hand is available for free and you can install it via Cydia on your jailbroken iPhone.

Verdict:

I prefer Callme over Visual Dial for the following reasons: Callme is free, its a lot simpler to setup the speed dial icons and it does not need to external servers over a data connection like Visual Dial which I think is unnecessary for such apps.

Ralf, one of the iPhone developers of Visual Dial has give the following reason for the external server access:

"The servers are only in the game to process the image. NO PERSONAL DATA and NO CONTACT DATA is actually transmitted to our servers at ANY TIME. The servers are also not involved at DIAL TIME. Only during the initial, one-time creation of the icon.

The primary reason for this is that Apple does not allow to generate custom Home Screen icons other than by using Web Clips. That involves a server task.

Even the icon data is send over the wire via SSL encryption!"

However, if you don’t want to hack your iPhone, then you can checkout Visual Dial.

You can also checkout this simple trick to add speed dial web clips to your iPhone’s home screen (without the photo).

As always, let us know what you think about these iPhone apps and which one you prefer. If there is a better speed dial application, tell us in the comments below.




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