Pageonce for iPhone

Some people may want a multi-purpose tool that makes everything they do online easy and fast, with one place to store usernames and passwords and one user experience. You know, a Swiss Army for all those accounts so they can get stuff done and get back to Facebooking or finding a job. Pageonce offers that promise – sort of – but comes up short.

I’ve been playing with the iPhone version lately to see if this mobile account aggregator satisfies the need. Pageonce allows you to connect to various account types such as financial services, travel, email and social sites like LinkedIn. Ironically, it doesn’t connect to Facebook, which has to be changed in a future version if it’s going to get any traction. Pageonce, which also has BlackBerry and web-based versions, can also connect to a few ecommerce sites like Amazon, Costco and eBay.

While Pageonce provides a single app to access all these accounts it has a major limitation – it’s read only. You can see the stream of credit card transactions and Twitter updates, but you can’t jump in. There’s not much use in that. To interact with your accounts, you have to punch out to each individual site from Pageonce. Huh? So what Pageonce locks down for security reasons – real functionality – ends up diluting the app completely. It is an interesting (and free) experiment, but not much more. It still has an impossibly long way to go before it replaces all the individual apps you can download for your iPhone and BlackBerry. Their positioning that you only have to setup usernames and passwords in one app also doesn’t mean much when you can install a full-featured app thoughtfully designed for each site and still only have to setup the password once. And I don’t know too many smartphone users who are reluctant to install more apps.