By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 03/29/2012
I wrote about VIP Orbit a while ago, but they've made some enhancements that leverage the real estate of the iPad, and address some of the cosmetic concerns I raised in my initial review. As Hannibal used to say on the A Team, I love it when a plan comes together. Well, Mike Muhney, the creator of both VIP Orbit and of the highly popular ACT database program must love how the world has migrated to both circles in the case of Google and the cloud in the case of Apple and others.
VIP Orbit has their own form of circles, or Orbits, and they have enhanced their cloud-like syncing solution, so you can maintain your contact notes across all of your iOS devices. Which brings me to another topic, non-iOS devices. As much as Apple might want to promote the Post PC era, people still use PCs as well as Macs to conduct their daily business, so a desktop solution is necessary, and fortunately, one is forthcoming. So what is the difference, if any, between groups, circles, and orbits? The makers of VIP Orbit put it this way: A Group is comprised of people assembled together or with a unifying relationship. A Circle is comprised of people who share a common interest or association. An Orbit is a person's sphere VIP Orbit is now available in an iPad version and it takes full advantage of the larger real estate. They have also enhanced the iPhone version to include better graphics and a more streamlined, friendly interface that minimize keystrokes, and is more intuitive.
VIP Orbit adds more orbit and group functionality including group text and email with logging, but each message appears unique to the recipient. There is a new Social button for Twitter and Facebook integration for contacts, with a contact's recent postings. The app imports (but doesn't sync) with Google Calendar, Linked In contacts, etc.
The new version also offers a completed activities report with filters for date range, orbit or other specific searches, making it quite useful for managers. In a way, VIP Orbit was ahead of their time, as they offered circles before Google the same way that ACT offered customer relationship management years before Salesforce.com. They also offer "Backup My Stuff," an optional, in-app purchase that creates saved “backups” of a user’s valuable relationship information and allows them to restore data in event of device loss, damage, or theft. A separate product/service called VIPsync is in development for those who use VIPorbit on both their iPhone and iPad that will provide real-time syncing.
One missing component is a Mac version, which the developers say is on the way. If you are looking for an ACT or SalesForce.com type solution for iOS, consider VIP Orbit. Don't delay as they are offering a chance to win a new iPad so now is a great time to check them out!