There seems to be a lot of talk about how to save contacts from the People app on the Verizon (HTC) Droid Eris. Backup of contacts seems especially important since the impending Android 2.1 update will require a complete wipe data from the phone.
Also, many people have saved their contacts to the Phone and not to Google, so synchroization will not occur for those contacts.
Here is what worked for me:
1. Open Market, search for vCardIO, and install it. It's free)
2. Run the vCardIO application.
3. Review the options. Since I had not categorized my contacts, I just checked the 'Export all groups' checkbox.
4. Press the 'Export' button. I used the default file location and name.
Contacts from 'People' will be saved to the SD card on the phone. This file can be saved by tethering your phone to your computer and copying the file from your phone to a convenient location on your computer.
This file will be in vCard format (.vcf) and may be imported back to the phone at a later time using the vCardIO application.
To convert Phone contacts to Google contacts (for auto synchronization):
1. On your computer, log on to Google and go to 'Contacts'.
2. Press 'Import' on the upper right.
3. Browse to the location where the .vcf file was saved and select it.
The contacts will be imported to Google. These will be synchronized between Google and your phone. You may also choose to move contacts to category folders at this point.
Note that on the phone, each contact will be duplicated: one labelled Phone and the other labelled Google. You can hide the duplicates:
1. Open 'People'.
2. Press the 'Menu' button on the phone.
3. Press the 'View' button.
4. Open the 'Duplicate contact' dropdown and select Google.
Now only the Google contacts will be displayed. Once all is working well. you may want to delete the contacts assigned to Phone to save some phone memory.
Hope this helps someone...