I never cease to be amused by the fact that the phone dialer on modern smartphones is little more than an app running on a sophisticated pocket computer. While that means it might be easier to pick up an old fashioned dumbphone and start dialing right away without first unlocking your phone and firing up an app, it also means that you can tweak the dialer in a number of ways to make searching your contact list a lot easier.
NubDial is a third party, open source phone dialer for Google Android. It combines the dialer and contact search tabs into a single window. You can grab the dialer with your finger and flick down to hide it or up to bring it back into focus.
In addition to searching by contact name, NubDial lets you search your contacts by phone number. So for instance, if you remember that your friend’s number has “123” in it, you can start dialing and see if their contact info appears. Then just tap the contact name to bring up their info which you can use to finish dialing.
You can also add a number to your contacts from the NubDial interface by pulling up the settings dialog and clicking “Add to contacts.”
NubDial is available for Android 2.0 and up — and only the Google Nexus One is known to work at the moment, although it should support the Motorola Droid as well. Android 1.5 and 1.6 versions are in the works. One thing I noticed is that the search by number feature seemed a bit slow. I could easily type a full number by the time it found the correct contact — assuming I could remember the complete phone number. But I also happen to have well over a thousand contacts. It may be faster for users with smaller address books.
You can download NubDial for free from the Android Market. Or if you want to check out the source code, you can do that too.