We don’t need to remember phone numbers anymore. We don’t have rolodexes—we have digital contact lists and social media apps that catalog every vaguely significant person we’ve ever met. And yet, tucked in our wallets or forgotten on business trips, we still have business cards.
In an era where so many things are on our phones, the physical business card feels out of place. Not for want of trying: Numerous apps over the years have tried their hand at digitizing these pieces of cardstock. Cardflick and Cardcloud debuted their app-based business card replacements in 2011, when smartphone adoption started to pick up steam. About.me gave it a try in 2014, using its mobile app as a customizable business card alternative. But the Bump app may have been closest to achieving this lofty goal.
Bump was one of the earliest successes in the App Store, the eighth-most popular appdownloaded between 2009 and 2011. It was a seemingly magical app that let you exchange contact information with another user when you “bumped” your phones together. The app used your phone’s sensors to detect the motion from the bump and then matched it with any other devices that felt that bump at the same time. As social media apps proliferated and friend requests replaced the need to bump, the app began to fall by the wayside. Google acquired Bump after its peak, in 2013, and shut it down not long after.