Question: If you didn't have to use your Symbian Series 60 phone every time you sent a text message, shared a photo, or listened to your voice mail in the order you received it, would you?
Ford Davison, the entrepreneur behind Dashwire, hopes you answer "no." Starting late November, the online phone manager will embrace Symbian Series 60 phones in a private beta. That will put it about three months behind the timeline we were quoted, but it so far looks like the wait will be worth it.
Dashwire's free application, currently available on Windows Mobile handsets, acts as a conduit between the details on your phone and your online dashboard from which you'll be able to text your contacts, add new contacts and bookmarks, share photos and videos, and enter a status message that updates to Facebook and Twitter.
Dashwire will become even more like a social networking site when it debuts a few key additions in November for both Symbian and Windows Mobile phones. First it'll get the Mobile Application Storefront, a section of the online dashboard to filter popular applications based on your phone's make and model. Specialized app stores are now popping up everywhere, from Apple's iTunes App store to the Google Android and BlackBerry stores. This integration makes sense for Dashwire's revenue stream and status as a connected mobile service; for consumers, it provides another outlet for discovering apps that are all but guaranteed to work on their handset.
Next up is what Dashwire is calling the Network Address Book, a reworked contacts list that archives your text messages, calls, notes, and photos with your friends. There are so many players trying to do this with social address books that I'm initially a bit skeptical of its utility. This is one of those features whose role will become clear when it's implemented.
Finally, there will be true integration with social networks, a feature we've been anticipating for some time. If you set it up, you'll be able to authorize your photos to auto-upload to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and FriendFeed. Dashwire says multiple image uploading will also be wrapped into the package.
While a lot of these features represent large strides for Dashwire, we'd be happy if some of the more mundane managerial omissions received half as much attention. Dashwire still doesn't govern files or programs, for instance. It doesn't perform small, essential tasks like deleting calls or conversation history or mass delete voice mail. Despite the capability of higher-end models, it doesn't read or initiate e-mail. These don't detract from what Dashwire does well, but as the product offerings grow and multiply, the ability to at least clear your contents on the phone or on your online dashboard are low-hanging fruit that have been sadly overlooked.
As someone who tires of cramped menus, I've been impressed with Dashwire's service so far. For those of us who tend to let voice mail pile up, being able to prioritize messages via CallWave's visual voice mail is a windfall; for the compulsive sharers, the auto-uploading feature adds a lot of social value.
Symbian Series 60 owners can sign up to join the first-come, first-serve private beta via Dashwire.com.