SnapDat launches digital business cards app for iPhone

SnapDat Networks Inc. claims that mobile consumers who use their new iPhone application will never lose another business card.

SnapDat is a free mobile business card application for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch, available in the App Store. The patent-pending app lets mobile consumers exchange contact data in the form of customizable, graphically-rich mobile business cards known as "SnapCards."

"Initially we selected the iPhone platform for a few different reasons," said Chris James, founder/CEO of SnapDat, New York. "We wanted to start with a platform that allowed us to develop quickly and hit a large audience, and the App Store made it a no brainer.

"Our overall strategy is to inform the consumers that are out there about a better way to exchange contact information while they're on the go," he said. "This app has an intuitive, appealing interface that lets you represent yourself with different types of profiles and get your profile information into any email-enabled phone.

"The concept of business cards has been with us for hundreds of years, so people are attuned to it, but we want to get the word out that there's a better way -- we want to be become the standard."

SnapDat wants to change the way mobile consumers exchange data between mobile devices and eventually eliminate paper business cards.

Since not all interactions are equal, SnapDat allows users to establish multiple SnapCard profiles, each with their own unique set of data, design and a profile photo.

For example, a consumer can have a separate profile for business contacts, friends and family.

SnapDat features the ability to create personalized mobile business cards with 40 preloaded design templates.

New designs will continue to be added for further customization options.

The app does not require consumers to be in the same room.

Consumers can exchange contact information whether they are in the same location or thousands of miles away.

SnapDat integrates with the iPhone and iPod touch address book so that the details from a received SnapCard will be automatically written to the native address book as well as to the consumer's computer when they synchronize their device.

SnapDat's SnapDirectory also acts as a digital Rolodex, where users can click on a SnapCard to email, call or text a contact, map their address, visit their social networking site or view their favorite YouTube video.

SnapDat lets iPhone and iPod touch users to connect with anyone, even if their contacts don't share the same device.

SnapDat users can email their vCards to recipients, allowing them to send their contact information to Blackberry devices, Windows Mobile phones and other email-enabled mobile devices.

SnapDat enables contact sharing using only a mobile phone, eliminating the need for physical business cards.

"We're not trying to be a social network, we're all about giving users the power to establish new connections where they naturally occur, on the go," Mr. James said. "There's nothing more personal than how you present yourself to a new person, and this lets you present highly personalized contact info -- it's almost like a v-card on steroids.

"Upon receipt, the app automatically adds all the desired elements to a consumers' underlying address book, with the power to select the card that's appropriate for work contacts, social contacts, etcetera," he said.

SnapDat wants to continue to expand to other mobile platforms.

"BlackBerry is high on our list of priorities list, as are Android and Windows Mobile," Mr. James said. "We're in the planning stages for other platforms, but for now we're targeting iPhone users, who typically engage in social networking -- they're tech savvy and they skew younger.

"In the long-term this has consumer and enterprise applications," he said. "We give mobile users the power to establish social or business connections where they naturally occur -- while on the go."

For now, SnapDat is offering the app as a free download to encourage a widespread user base. There are subscription-based premium versions of the application as well.

Mobile advertising has been discussed, but not implemented.

"We've got a lot of good real estate for mobile advertising, but that's a conversation for much later," Mr. James said.

As with many iPhone apps, SnapDat is relying on the viral effects of the App Store. The company will also run various promotions, contests and events to encourage adoption.

"We're getting the word out on Apple blogs, tech blogs and tapping into viral nature of the product, since we don't have huge marketing budgets," Mr. James said. "The app itself has a viral element -- we give consumers the option to invite other people in their address book who are iPhone users.

"We want to become the standard for sharing contact info across mobile devices," he said.