Ingenuity is a must when it comes to creating an application. With dozens of developers trying to cater to the same needs, coming up with an idea that stands out as unique is nearly impossible in a world that truly does seem to have an app for everything. But when it comes time to put your creative idea in motion, one should make sure that the effort is worth the demand.
While Alpha Dialer by AgaveTEQ, LLC certainly presents a thoughtful, clever concept, it does not serve a pressing need we are all looking to fill. With Alpha Dialer, users can dial vanity phone numbers (like 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-800-DENTIST) just by typing the word using their iPhone’s regular keyboard. Alpha Dialer will convert the letters into their numeric counterparts and dial the actual number directly within the application. Simply tap the application’s icon and type. Special buttons underneath the entry box make it easy to choose your vanity number’s given prefix. (Prefixes include 1-800, 1-866, 1-877 and 1-888.)
The entire concept of Alpha Dialer centers on the fact that vanity phone numbers may be easy to remember but difficult to convert to numeric form, especially on a Smartphone. They claim that trying to recall which numbers signify each letter is a difficult task and that this product makes dialing much easier. However, unlike Alpha Dialer implies, the iPhone’s keypad not only displays the numbers, but the letters they represent as well. And while it may take a few moments more to spell out the vanity number with the numeric keypad instead of just typing the letters freely, it seems much more practical to waste a few extra seconds every now and again than to waste money on an application you will rarely use.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure why I (or anyone else) would pay $2.99 for an application that can perform such a rarely necessary task. Perhaps, if Alpha Dialer were no more than $.99, it might be more enticing. However, the likelihood of needing such an application frequently is slim to none. The only way Alpha Dialer would ever come to pay for itself is if the given user called vanity numbers at least a few times a week, if not every day. And while this may be perfect for some users, the average customer will find Alpha Dialer to be pointless. Though I do give them much credit for coming up with a simple yet convenient concept, perhaps they should offer a few more features to go along with that $2.99 price tag. **Update 11/08 – Alpha Dialer has been reduced to $0.99**
Alpha Dialer requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone 3GS or earlier. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.