Sneak peek: Xobni e-mail app for BlackBerry

Xobni demoed its upcoming e-mail app at BlackBerry Developer Conference.

Xobni on BlackBerry

A few months ago, e-mail search app Xobni told us they were creating a version for BlackBerry. At the BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday, we got a look at it.

Xobni on the Windows PC is an Outlook add-on that quickly finds e-mail messages and attachments. On BlackBerry, Xobni will integrate with your e-mail account, where it will extract addresses, phone numbers, and social networking details to automatically create a secondary address book for your phone. You'll be able to use Xobni for BlackBerry to quickly find contacts--including those you have not physically added to the native address book yourself. That expanded address book goes for everyone who has ever sent you an e-mail, been cc'd in an e-mail, or even mentioned in a message.

With the premium Xobni Plus Outlook add-on, you can access this secondary address book by typing into the Compose field. Integration isn't quite so tight in BlackBerry. On the Bold, Tour, and new Curve 8900s, you'll access contacts by flicking up on the track pad to get to to the stylized Xobni address book.

Then search by a contact's name, domain name, or by a keyword to speedily find the person you're looking for. As with Xobni on the desktop, you'll be able to send your calendar availability to a contact, get Facebook to supply contacts' Xobni profile picture, and view Twitter feeds and LinkedIn and Hoovers information from the BlackBerry.

In creating its own address book--instead of adding contacts to the native address book--Xobni makes a statement. Unlike Gwabbit, which adds the information from a signature block into a new record, Xobni finds e-mails and phone numbers anywhere in the message. Besides that, Xobni CEO Jeff Bonforte believes that inserting contacts into your native address book means "you've already lost the battle." Instead of adding contacts one-by-one, Xobni builds you a social roster behind-the-scenes, and adds social networking plug-ins in the process.

As far as time lines go, Xobni is looking at a closed alpha release sometime in December. Bonforte expects a beta early next year, and the final release a few months after that. The pricing model is still undecided.

Xobni for BlackBerry will first be available on the Bold, Tour, and Curve 8900. Storm users will have to wait a little longer.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.