We have our family vacation coming up and we're pretty excited about it. I may even be able to bring my BlackBerry with me! Despite having my Bold practically velcroed to my hands, I'll have no problems setting it down and hitting the beach. My wife and I are the kind of people who make sure we plan for everything; food, supplies, games-you name it we plan it. The one thing we don't think of, is figuring out where potentially necessary hotels, banks and such are located in a town we've never been to. We don't want to end up skimming through the yellow pages or driving around dividing our attention between store-front signs and the street.
BTSidekick is one of the many applications out there that will help you, as they say, "find the things you need while on the move". It offers quick access to various businesses located near you, all categorized for convenience. It takes 411, and the map that is probably plastered across your dash, out of the equation and puts rapid, easy searches in your hands. Of course, you should make sure you concentrate on the road, not the screen - pull over to conduct your search. Read on for more information!
BTSidekick is powered by CPSA (Canadian Professional Sales Association), based out of Toronto. It's currently in beta (version1.0.1) and is available on the following BlackBerry smartphones, running OS 4.2 or higher; Bold, Curve, Curve 8900, 88xx, Pearl and Pearl Flip. There's no word yet as to when other models will see some support. CPSA also offers a TravelSave program, which helps save you money on hotel, car rentals, insurance and more. I'm not a member, so I don't know the exact savings. Pretty sneaky to have a travel app AND a travel program, no?
The application uses both GPS and cellular triangulation to detect where you are, making it available for non GPS-enabled BlackBerrys. Using BTSidekick is pretty straight forward. The top border of the menu will show the time, selected action and location. The left border of the application houses your main functions. From top to bottom they are;
Nearby: You location is automatically detected by "powerful location detection and scanning technology".
Select Location: You can set your location by Postal/Zip Code or by Address/City & Country. BTSidekick provides coverage in over 20 countries.
Settings: Not much here, except for switching the unit of measurement from metric to imperial and access to the CPSA Savings Program.
Share: Send an email about BTSidekick to a contact of your choice. For this, it also offers quick access to your address book as well.
About: Basic information about BTSidekick
find the closest place to eat
choose a location
Searches are automatically organized by category, allowing you to search for hotels, movie theatres, post offices and more. If you can find what you are looking for, they've included an "Absolutely Anything Else" section where you can manually enter what you need. Search results can be viewed by list (closest entry listed at the top) or via Google Maps. Each entry lists the entry's name, category, address and phone number. Some entries are adorned by the CPSA logo, which will indicate their membership rate at that location. After you decide where you want to go, you can use the "Driving Directions" feature to view the turn by turn directions.
turn by turn directions
While I was impressed by the quick nearby search options and ease of use, I preferred using Poynt, as it offers much more functionality. I enjoy watching trailers, having mapping choices and searching using White Pages. For those who want a simple, yet powerful application, without the advanced features, then BTSidekick is for you. The application is free and can be picked up by heading to BlackBerry App World. Now quiet down back there! Don't make me turn this car around!
- functions are easy to master
View nearest location, maps and turn by turn instructions
View savings for CPSA members
Missing advanced functions that some users may need