It's a long time ago now since I first dropped word of Earthcomber in the blogs (try October 2007) but this location-based search app was well received and then and by the sound of things is even better now thanks to their recently launched Personal Rader 3.0 updates (press release after the jump). Big changes in this latest version include:
If you're not familiar with Earthcomber, be sure to jump over to their website to learn more about it. It's a different experience when you drive around with Earthcomber running and set to 'My Radar' mode - it'll ding away at you... not just for the givens like restaurants and hotels, but with cool stuff like WiFi hotspots, historical stuff, hiking/biking trails, etc. Best part? It's free!
Keep in mind the Earthcomber application for BlackBerry smartphones is only available for trackball-equipped devices. Those on the Storm can visit mobile.earthcomber.com on their web browser for a pretty decent Earthcomber experience (Storm app on the way!).
"Personal Radar" Lets Blackberry Take Over Your Life
Robo app constantly searches the area for your targets
CHICAGO, Jan 16 - Rest those thumbs. Now there's a download that lets your Blackberry take over the work of looking up all things local.
Earthcomber appears at first as an innocent selector of restaurants, amusements, curiosities and travel needs for the busy person on the go. Underneath, however, is a patented system that scans your surroundings for whatever you order: people, places or things that suit your tastes and interests.
That's the hitch: it keeps going, pinging and alerting you anytime you're near an opportunity, something you like, anything that draws your attention.
"It made sense to have technology take care of the repetitive local search stuff," said Earthcomber inventor and company president, Jim Brady. "But now that people can have it on the hunt for entire lists of things, there may be some concerns for addictive or distracted personality types."
How does this happen? Users tag interests from extensive lists - for example, Greek cuisine, historic buildings, hot chai tea, or free WiFi access. They can also add their own items, and invite friends so they can spot them, too.
Then, all they have to do is walk, ride or drive.
Earthcomber constantly scans their area for any matches, using Blackberry's GPS. Any place that has anything of interest is announced by an optional chime.
Results are displayed according to what is closest. One tap surfaces in-depth information about each location. Then there are options for maps, directions, dialing, sending a place to a friend. Earthcomber dips into an extensive collection of restaurants, nightlife, movies, concerts, historic sites, business essentials and more. The people-networking has privacy and security features.
As a free download from Blackberry's catalog, popular Blackberry web sites and Earthcomber.com, usage is likely to spread.
Earthcomber is different from maps and navigation, according to Brady, "because it's all about discovery - knowing what's around you at all times. We think that can be a good thing, help the business traveler or tourist, maybe make a night on the town more interesting."
"You just have to set limits," he said. "You are in charge. You can turn it off anytime."
Earthcomber won Nokia's 2008 Mobile Rules! competition for "Best Infotainment" application. The company provides USA service today and plans international coverage in the near future.
About Earthcomber LLC
Headquartered in River Forest, Illinois, Earthcomber LLC is dedicated to helping people use mobile technology to better interact with the world around them. Earthcomber applications use patented technology to promote meaningful human experiences, quality commerce, and robust communities of interest.