We have compiled a list of apps for Android that do a good job replacing stock address book and dialer, and this subject seems to be relevant for many users. Even though we thought we had this area covered, we missed an entire stratum of Android users. The apps we included were versatile and all-inclusive, synchronizing your social network accounts, email and address book, and doing all sorts of things we consider streamlined.
However, what if you just want a simple app to store your contacts on a tablet, or even a smartphone, that would not tap into anything on your device – neither email, nor address book? What if you do not want an app that would synchronize with your Twitter? What if you do not use social networks at all? What if all you want is in tune with this reader’s question, ‘I am trying to replace the functions of my paper day planner. I am looking for an address book app. I don’t want/need it to sync with any social media or to dial phones or take in messages/texts etc. I want something that stores names, house addresses, telephones numbers, email addresses, cell phone numbers filed in an alphabetical order. Like what grandma used to have on her telephone table.‘
Surprisingly, it gets increasingly difficult to find an app that does not request a ridiculous set of permissions, and if you mind your privacy, you probably choose carefully what you install. Below is a list of both simple and inconspicuous apps that do the job, and multifunctional octopuses that tap into ‘your everything’ and still let you keep your contacts the traditional way, but with less privacy.
By DroidVeda LLP
Last updated – September 2, 2014
Notebooks app opens up as a library of book shelves. It allows you to have as many notebooks as you need, and the ‘+’ symbol in the upper right corner lets you add notebooks. We have named our experiment notebook “contacts” and added a few contacts to see if it fits the criteria. Each notebook has an unlimited number of pages, and you can name each page as you like. There is no visible index of pages as such, but there is a convenient search option that lets you find any page with any contact without having to manually tap through pages.
You can add whatever information about the contact you feel relevant – names, addresses, emails, birthdays, relationships, notes, whatever you would write in a regular paper notebook. It also lets you attach files to notes and draw by hand.
Notebooks is a very flexible application, supporting seven themes, from black on white, black on yellow, or light blue, or black on pink. It also offers a decent amount of fonts to pick so that your digital notebook looks and feels genuine. To customize the look of your notebook, tap on the three dots at the bottom of the screen when the app is launched. The action will prompt a pop-up window with Settings option – this is where you can choose the theme and fonts.
It has a drawing tool, and you can attach hand-drawn notes to pages, as well as dictate because the app supports voice input. You can also attach images files, even though you will have to open them in a separate window.
Among other features worth mentioning are:
- the option to backup and restore to Dropbox or Google Drive
- customizable notebook covers
- customizable number of pages and page style
- the option to password protect notebooks
- each page can have a title
- handy search option
- option to attach images
- option to bookmark a page
- convert a notebook to PDF with attachments.
Since the application allows you to backup and restore to and from Dropbox and Google Drive, it does request permissions to access your identity, accounts, photos, USB storage, Wi-Fi connection and network. Overall, Notebooks app does a pretty good job of replacing Grandma’s paper notebook, and since the backup feature is optional, it won’t bother you as long as you don’t want to back up.
By MDJ Software
Last updated – January 18, 2011
Even though Slide Notes was last updated years ago, it still does a decent job. On one hand, it has the retro feel to it that reminds me of a traditional paper notebook on my grandparents phone table.
The app launches with the cover, and you need to slide to the left to open your notes. From there, tap on the three dots at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu – add note, search, sort, send feedback, and export to SD card.
The notes can be sorted by type, by the date they were created, or by the date they were modified. It appears very convenient to sort them in alphabetical order, if contact list is all you want to add in the app. However, if you want to add contacts and other type of notes, or you have too many contacts to look for them manually, you can use the search option.
Inside each note, you can include as much information about the contact as you need because the number of lines is virtually huge. The note displays the date and time it was created, and you can edit your notes anytime.
It is a rather basic app, without any customization of fonts and backgrounds options. You won’t be able to attach files or pictures to notes. Neither will you be able to create multiple notebooks – it’s a single notebook with multiple notes inside. Nevertheless, it lets you send the notes by email or export it to SD card, as well as share your notes in Twitter and Facebook, if you use them.
The app is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Polish, and requires minimum permissions (media files, USB storage).
- Simple, elegant, lets you add contacts and keep them in alphabetical order
- Minimum access requirements
- Option to search for notes
- No bugs and glitches despite the lack of updates
- Lightweight and not resource-hungry
- No customization options
- No options to add images to notes
- No option to create multiple notebooks
My Binder: Tabbed Notes [Android]
Last updated – June 30, 2013
This may not be the most up-to-date app, and it still preserves the Windows XP style, but it can be a perfect app to store contacts in the old-fashioned way that reminds me of Courtney Cox’ character Monica from Friends series because she compartmentalized everything in binders and color-coded catalogs .
By default you have four notebooks, but if you tap on the settings icon, you’ll be able to add more. You can also sort notebooks by name, color, last opened or creation date.
I created a notebook, named it Contacts, and chose a custom color for it. Now the choice of colors is not stellar, that it will do for basic needs.
Inside each notebook, there are five color-coded tabs. I named the first tab A-E, the second F-J, and so on, you got the idea. Since the tabs are color-coded, it is very easy to switch between them.
Inside, you can add contacts that correspond to the letters of alphabet and any information you need to input. There aren’t many settings you can customize, except for highlighting certain words, for example last names.
The settings let you export or import backup files and email all notebooks. That’s it. As you can see, the features are basic, but it also does a very good job of letting you add and store unlimited number of contacts, because each tab can have as many pages as you need. Depending on how many contacts you have to input, this can be either convenient, or not.
The good part about this app is you can use it to keep notes about pretty much everything, from contacts to to-do list, shopping lists, school notes, recipes, keep a journal or diary – just create a separate notebook and organize everything in color-coded tabs with unlimited number of pages each.
- Basic, simplistic, yet functional if you’re looking for a digital replacement for paper notebook
- You can color-code you notebooks
- You can color-code your tabs
- You can name notebooks and tabs
- Can be convenient if you don’t have too many contacts
- Option to select individual tabs to email or send via a text message
- Basic choice of font styles and sizes
- No option to add an image or attach a file to notes
- A limited number of colors
- No option to customize notebook style, background color
The app requests permission to access your media files and USB storage, and since you can email your notebooks, it also requires network access.
Address Book & Contacts Sync [Android]
Last updated – August 29, 2014
Price: free, offers in-app purchases
Kylook would have been my number one choice for contacts app if it managed to perform on a consistent basis. Hopefully, the developers address the crashing issues when users try to add an image of the contact, or edit a contact, because these were the problems that rendered the app unusable for me. However, I do see other users don’t have the same problems, or at least, the bugs are fluctuating, and if you are lucky not to experience any bugs and crashing in Kylook, by all means give it a try.
This is not a notebook app, but a specifically contacts – focused application, perfect to store and organize contacts. Each contact can have a picture, address, email, several phone numbers, notes and even relationships fields. You can keep contacts stored in alphabetical order, and it is visually ok. By ok I mean it’s not state of the art, and it could use some customization options because not everybody would enjoy the dark color scheme or the font size, but it’s okay as long as it does the job.
The app lets you import contacts from your PC, Android address book on multiple devices and keep it all synchronized, organized and up-to-date. As a result, all synchronized devices will automatically pull information you add on one of them from the cloud. The app also offers a handy way to convert your contact details into QR codes you can share easily with your contacts and friends. Keep your Kylook login and password safe, and even if you lose your device, you will be able to restore all your contacts from your online account. If you have a tablet, and do not wish to synchronize contacts from your Gmail address book, just skip this step.
- Perfect to store, organize, and synchronize contacts across multiple devices
- Perfect for managing contacts – every contact can have the picture, multiple phone numbers, addresses, references, relationships and notes
- Crashes a lot (I hope it was my individual experience, though)
- Keeps contacts in the cloud, which is not overly safe despite the company’s privacy and data protection measures
- Does not synchronize with the SIM card
Since the application has extensive functionality, it also requires extensive access privileges, such as device and app history, sensitive log data, identity, accounts, the possibility to add and remove accounts, access and modify contacts and calendar, phone, read and write call logs, access photos and media files, USB storage, device ID and call information, camera and microphone, full network access, toggle synchronization on and off, and more.
Finally, there are two obvious choices that will put a firm grip on all your personal information and all input and output connectors of your device – Evernote and Google Keep.
By Evernote Corporation
Price: free, offers premium memberships
Evernote is a go-to notes app for everything from research, to-do lists, shopping lists, recipes, wish lists, handwritten notes, web clips, compilation of content of different formats within one study project, and what not. Of course, you can think of a convenient format to store and organize your contacts, and you can keep your Wi-Fi off, or choose not to synchronize the app with other devices, but there is nothing you can do about app’s permissions to access your identity, camera, microphone, device and app history, Wi-Fi and network, location, and the list goes on and on.
- Versatile, customizable
- Supports various types of content formats
- You can create any type of notebooks to store contacts, keep track of expenses, copy and save web articles, songs, etc.
- The option to password-protect the app
- Extensive permissions, and even though they are justified, the users seeking privacy may want to opt for a simpler app
Google Keep – notes and lists [Android]
By Google Inc.
As is the case with everything Google, the app is feature-packed, streamlined, ahead of competition, and free. It synchronizes with your Google account, and you will have your notes in the cloud, accessible from any Internet-connected device. It is bliss for productivity nerds who are always on the run and whose workflow is in the cloud. You can create color-coded cards for your contacts, add images, plenty of personal information, and top it with Google sync to your account to have them accessible from any device. However, if you understand the repercussions of keeping sensitive information in the cloud, or if you don’t want to surrender the last of your privacy to Google, you should consider a simpler, less-functional, no-nonsense app.
- Keeps notes, lists, photos; transcribes voice memos
- Powerful, versatile, multifunctional and feature-rich, it can be used for everything from jotting down ideas to doing complex research, organizing data (and contacts) in a beautiful, color-coded way. If you only want to have a good-looking note stuffed with contacts organized the way you want, you can use this app, too.
- Accessible from anywhere on the web and in Chrome browser
- Pervasive privacy policies
- Has access to everything on your device, including location, microphone, camera, identity.
If you would like to add more apps to the list that correspond to the initial goal of storing contacts in an app that looks like a traditional notebook, or does a great job of organizing contacts on an Android tablet, leave your comment below.