Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

I have not organized my contacts in the Apple Contacts app in nearly a decade. For every meticulously maintained contact (usually people I mail gifts to for the holidays) there are hundreds of other contacts polluting the field. So many it would take me a few days and a lot of wine to finally sort through them all. This is a problem, and one that Flexibits, the makers of the very excellent calendar app Fantastical, has been promising to fix. Finally, after years of development Cardhop is here, and it’s a pretty damn good solution for anyone tired of messing with Contacts.

Cardhop spent a long time in development. When I asked Michael Simmons, one half of the two-man Flexibits team, when Cardhop was first announced he looked a little sheepish. “Maybe 2012?” The announcement for the company’s alternative to the Mac version of Contacts came shortly after the release of its most popular app, Fantastical.

Start typing and it should figure out you want to add a contact. (Image: Flexbits)

But Cardhop kept getting pushed to the backburner. Now it’s finally here and with a quick press of a universal hot key combo (I chose Command + Shift + D) a little app drops down from the menu bar and shows you your most recent contacts.

You can route calls to your computer or phone pretty easily. (Image: Flexbits)

Contacts delivered with the press of a hot key is nothing new on a Mac (The popular Alfred app always delivers your contacts that way), but the ability to mail, call, or just text someone is. Type mail and a part of a person’s name and Cardhop figures out who you want to email and opens a new window in your mail app instantly. Same with calling, texting, Skype, or even tweeting.

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It works quickly and the app is gorgeous, but it won’t automatically clean up your contacts. Instead it uses the Contacts app as a reference. So duplicates, or messy contact cards will still need to be tidied up by hand. While cleaning contacts up could eventually be on the agenda for a future iteration of Cardhop, Simmons told me that the intention was always to deal with the mess Contacts is now. So Cardhop acknowledges you have a bunch of junk contacts littering your address book and hopes that a super smart and quick search function will help you skip over them so fast you forget they’re there.

It’s worked pretty well for me so far. The junk contacts still pop up more regularly than I’d like, but Cardhop is such an attractive alternative to Contacts that I don’t mind. Sometimes a little convenience and a great looking user interface are more than enough. But expect to pay for it. Cardhop will be available in the App Store today, and will go for $20.

[Cardhop]