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Gwabbit Hops on BlackBerry, Hints at iPhone

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Gwabbit, an e-mail utility for Microsoft Outlook users that's designed helps simplify contact management, will soon be available to BlackBerry users. Gwabbit for Blackberry was announced today with release slated for May 25. The program will cost $9.95 a year on an annual subscription basis.

Technicopia, publishers of Gwabbit, positions it as the world's first automatic e-mail contact manager (ECM) for a hand-held device. Todd Miller, president and founder of Technicopia, told InternetNews.com that the BlackBerry version is already "a very advance beta" and might even ship a bit sooner than May 25.

Gwabbit (rhymes with "grab it") is designed to automatically search and identify signatures embedded in e-mails on a BlackBerry device and adds or updates that information to the Blackberry address book in a single click. For those users syncing their contacts to Outlook, Gwabbit's automated capture is designed to keep contacts updated globally.

Basically, Gwabbit simplifies what is usually a much longer manual, copy-and-paste process to update contact lists in Outlook or on a BlackBerry device.

Guidewire Group analyst Carla Thompson credits Technopedia with bringing back a more traditional marketing approach with Gwabbit for Outlook when it debuted at the DEMO conference in March. "It's a good old-fashioned product you hand someone some money for and you get something useful. That's kind of gone out of fashion in the tech world," Thompson told InternetNews.com.

Both the Outlook and BlackBerry versions are available as a free, limited-time trial. Gwabbit for Outlook costs $19.95. The BlackBerry version, which gets pushed out and updated as hosted service, will be $9.95 per year and will also be available from the new "BlackBerry App World store as well as directly.

"I think the BlackBerry version is going to prove even more useful [than the Outlook version] because those are users who really live in their e-mail," said Thompson. "Being able to easily pull contact information from e-mail is huge."

What's next? "The iPhone is a no brainer and we have other platforms in mind," said Miller. He added that he's personally looking forward to delivering a version for the iPhone because he's an Apple user. "I'm looking forward to getting Gwabbit on a system I actually use," he said.

Another, longer term project is to provide is a kind of universal system for pulling contacts into one place.

"This is something that's really bothered me. We really need a universal remote control for contact management," said Miller. "You have contacts in LinkedIn, Facebook and other places and you have to keep them current. Some companies, like Plaxo, are trying to address this, but you still have to do something to keep things current. I'm envisioning a system where we're feeding a cloud that speaks to these issues, keeps the information current and coordinated without you having to do anything."