Robert Scoble, a well-known tech pundit and current iPhone user, recently got a hands on demo with Aro, a new app in closed beta for Android. The app is a complete replacement for nearly all your communication apps: email, SMS, phone, etc. By tapping into all your messages, the app is able to intelligently link names, places, and other data together. It is a pretty complicated process, and Scoble sums it up pretty well:
What does Aro do? If, say, Bill Gates sends Steve Jobs an email, copies me, and is talking about Larry Ellison, Larry’s name will have a little square around it. Click on that square and a new UI fans out, letting me see other info. It’s like Rapportive or Xobni, but done much better and for the mobile interface. It makes your phone much more productive than it would be otherwise and that’s why I feel it’s so important.
In addition to previewing the app, Scoble talks a bit about how this kind of app is simply not possible on the more closed iPhone. Apple actively prevents developers from changing the core experience of using the iPhone, even if those changes make the phone easier to use or offer more features. A perfect example is the Swype keyboard many Android users (myself included) have fallen in love with or WiFi syncing with iTunes. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but it seems the tables are tipping in Google's favor as of late.
Scoble has posted videos of his interviews and demos of both Sywpe and Aro, which can be found past the link. If you want to sign up for the closed beta of Aro, click on the "Aro" link. [Scobleizer, Aro]