Flexibits, the company behind productivity apps Fantastical and Cardhop, is releasing a new version of Cardhop for both macOS and iOS. This is the second major version of the app and it adds new features, such as business card scanning, widgets, organizational charts and a deeper integration with Fantastical.
Cardhop is a clever take on contact management. It uses the same address book as the default Contacts app on your Mac, iPhone and iPad. But it lets you search, add and edit contacts much more efficiently.
On the Mac, Cardhop sits in the menu bar. When you click on the icon or hit a keyboard shortcut, you can see your contacts but you can also start typing. This is when it gets interesting.
As expected, you can find a contact card by typing a few letters. But you can also add information to an existing contact this way.
For instance, if you type a name followed by a phone number, Cardhop automatically figures out that the phone number doesn’t exist in the existing contact entry — hit enter and the number is saved. If the person isn’t even in your address book, you can create a new contact just by dumping information in the search field.
The app truly shines if you think about Cardhop as a sort of command-line interface to interact with your contacts. You can type ‘call Jane’, ‘email Tom’ or ‘whatsapp Natasha’ — Cardhop parses the action for you. It can be particularly handy to initiate calls on your iPhone from your Mac.
With Cardhop 2, the design has been updated and there are a handful of new features. You can now create widgets with your favorite actions. On iOS, you can add it to your home screen. On macOS, you can access it from the Notification Center. Widgets have been a popular feature of iOS 14 and many users will like that new feature.
If you’re also using Fantastical, you can send a calendar invite to someone else from Cardhop. And if you tend to invite the same group of people to your events, you can create a group in Cardhop. The next time you want to send an invitation, you can create an event with everyone in the group from Cardhop. This is going to be a good alternative to email aliases.
Cardhop can now also generate organizational charts and family trees based on relationships in your contacts. And if you work for a big company with a contact directory, you could easily find the right person to talk with using this new feature.
On iOS, Flexibits has also added a business card scanning feature. You can add contacts just by pointing your phone at a business card. There are many apps that offer that feature already, but now it’s integrated.
Flexibits has been around for 10 years. Originally, the company released new major updates and users had to pay to download the new version. That’s how independent development companies used to charge for apps.
Last year, the company launched a new version of Fantastical with a freemium model. New users could download the app for free and would have to pay a subscription of $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year to unlock all features. Existing users could keep using the app for free as all existing features had been unlocked for them.
After switching to this new model, Flexibits released quite a few updates to Fantastical already. For instance, you can now join conference calls quickly with shortcuts in the menu bar and in the app. Fantastical now also supports Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
Flexibits wants to go one step further and create an ecosystem of productivity apps. Cardhop 2 is a free app with a few free features. If you want to unlock everything, you have to subscribe to the same Flexibits Premium subscription.
In other words, the company is bundling premium versions of Fantastical and Cardhop in a single subscription — and the price isn’t changing. Existing Cardhop users who don’t want to subscribe will also keep everything that was available in Cardhop 1 for free.
And if you’re already using Cardhop, it’s nice to see an update. It means that the app is going to be supported going forward. When you rely on an app for your work, it’s better when it’s regularly updated and keeps working as expected years after years. And I suspect many Fantastical users will try out Cardhop thanks to the new Flexibits Premium subscription.