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The iPhone doesn’t make conference calls easy. Sure, it’s possible, but it’s far from user-friendly. Same goes for texting a group. So if you’ve been jonesing for a better way, Callvine’s your answer.
The app grabs your contact list and compiles it on a single page. Tap a name, and a checkmark appears next to it. Tap a few names, and you’ve got yourself a list. Frequently used lists can be saved, named, and given a group photo. Fill the first screen with groups, and Callvine creates a second page--exactly the way the iPhone creates new home screen pages when you add apps.
Simple controls make contacting people a snap.
Because its design is so iPhone-centric, Callvine’s incredibly easy to use. But getting it up and running is a bit more hinky. You have to register through the app, and then Callvine sends you an activation SMS. Our message never arrived, but customer service responded to our email within an hour. Once you’re making calls, Callvine’s robots ring up everyone you want to speak with, and your group must tap 1 to join the conference call. But unless you customize Callvine’s default message, your group’s greeted by what sounds like an automated phone survey or sales pitch, though at least it’s tagged with your Caller ID. All in all, that’s a decent amount of getting-started hassle. Texts are smoother, going right out through your messaging service (just remember you’ll be charged per your AT&T plan for each person you send to).
Speaking of monies, the app itself is free, but you’ll eventually need to starting paying for conference-call minutes. You can make 10-minute calls with a group of 20 for free--a pretty sweet bonus. After that, you’ll need to buy Callvine minutes through your iTunes account ($5.99 for 60 minutes with 5 people; increasing the number of people up to a max of 50 deducts more minutes based on the number of people). Just mind your minutes--if you run out of time, you’ll get disconnected.
Once you get past the minor hurdles that setup presents, Callvine will definitely become your default conference-calling and texting app.
COMPANY: Callvine, Inc.