BT brings The Phone Book to Android. Badly.

BT has released a Phone Book app (as in The Phone Book, a.k.

BT has released a Phone Book app (as in The Phone Book, a.k.a. the White Pages, rather than a standard contacts list) for the Android platform. As a concept, it's a step that really brings home the evolution of public communications. Unfortunately, it's terribly implemented.

I searched for several entities — people and companies — and had no luck finding what I was after. To be honest, I haven't looked at a paper Phone Book for years, so I don't know whether the app was especially unhelpful in that regard, but I was expecting at least some joy. Not to be. All it did was say: "Your search has produced no results. To find a number, why not call 118500? Calls to 118500 cost £1.16 per minute." Thanks.

That's just the results issue. Other, more developmentally oriented problems spring to mind. Go on, download it from the Android Market and have a play. Type something into the entry field and then tap somewhere within that text, as you would when you want to fix an errant character. Everything you typed gets deleted.

Then close the app and watch the GPS stay activated until you have to manually kill it or restart the phone to save your battery. I'm not sure what BT's playing at. I mean, hey, the app's free, but the company is pretty prominent and should have the resources and dev chops to come up with something a bit better than this.

One thing I have found that works: the map-based search (specifically, in my experiment, pub search). It's quick and effective, but it uses Google Maps, and funnily enough Google's quite good at doing this stuff itself, especially on Android.

I'm sure BT can come up with good smartphone applications, and I look forward to seeing them. I also look forward to seeing what value they can add that only BT can bring.

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