Background: I currently have several hundred contacts, synchronized between a Microsoft Exchange server and several mobile devices. I also save exported copies of the contacts in
(The mobile devices I'm currently using are a Symbian phone, a WP7 phone, a Nokia N900, and an iPad.)
Is there a good way (application, file format, whatever) to maintain contacts with shared information?
A very common scenario is that I have contacts for two or more people who live in the same house, for example:
John Doe 123 Main Street, Anytown USA Home: 555-555-1111 Work: 555-555-2222 Mobile: 555-555-3333 E-mail: John.Doe@example.com Jane Doe 123 Main Street, Anytown USA Home: 555-555-1111 Work: 555-555-4444 Mobile: 555-555-5555 E-mail: Jane.Doe@example.org
As you can see, both contacts have the same home address and phone number, but distinct names and work and mobile phone numbers. (Other information might also be either shared or distinct.)
The applications and file formats I'm familiar with don't seem to have a good way to deal with this. If I use a single "John & Jane Doe" contact for both, it's difficult to distinguish the distinct information (if I want to call Jane's mobile phone rather than John's). If I use a separate contact for each, I have to remember to update both of them (or all of them for N > 2) when they move or change their home phone number.
An ideal solution would let me create a record containing information for their household, and have each of their contact records contain a reference to the household record, so that when I view John's contact record I see both shared and distinct information.
Is there anything out there that has good support this kind of thing? (I would think there would be, since it's a very common scenario.)
(I suppose I could roll my own system that generates merged
.vcf files from some extended format, but that wouldn't play well with synchronizing across multiple devices.)
At the time I asked this, I was keeping my contacts in a Microsoft Exchange server and syncing to various mobile devices. I'm now keeping them in my gmail account, but still using Exchange ActiveSync (more details), so in effect the situation hasn't changed much.