Personal Radar for your BlackBerry - Earthcomber Updated

Earthcomber
By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Jan 2009 01:47 am
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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:

  • auto GPS detect
  • BIS networking instead of carrier gateway traffic jam; auto switching to fastest connection
  • and a Mercifully better UI!

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!).


Press Release

"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.

Topics: BlackBerry Apps

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3288 (forum posts)
16 comments

The_New_Dude

Can't find any "maps" for Toronto, Canada

Jim Brady

We too are dyin' here. But we're also trying. We don't like being one of those USA-only apps, and we're hot on the trail of Canadian content. We can do the maps, but that's no fun if you can't discover things.
So, we want to issue a new CAN-AMcomber and will let all the BB folk know first and foremost. Meantime, *sorry*, we put "Earthcomber USA" on it so you know what to expect. Europeans feel the same frustration, same for everywhere else. We want this to be EARTHcomber, so please turn us on to any data sets or collections you'd like to see. Especially unique stuff.

Thanks - All of us at Earthcomber

psiclne

Taking forever to get a lock on my location....I will run it a lil more tomorrow, but so far the GPS part of it isnt impressing me

Jim Brady

The first time you use it, GPS takes time to find you. Also, if you have it off and start it up in a distant place, that will take the satellites some time, too. Of course, depends on age of GPS chip set. More recent BBs faster than first 8800's.

psiclne

I have a BB BOLD - GPS is always on and today I've been using it and still takes forever to get GPS location and updates.

Anonymous

Earthcomber??? Should be UScomber

What's up with that!
I'm in Canada and no choice for my country everything is always just US US US!!!!!

French

It really tweaks my nose hairs that there is yet ANOTHER cool app that can't use the built in GPS on the Curve. VZW does NOT have it fully unlocked. I'm getting so frustrated here.

Jim Brady

Hit "Set Location" and you'll see some easy manual alternates. Not the same fun as GPS, but...
Also, if you have a blue-tooth GPS puck, even VZ can't stop you. Finally, I've heard but not seen that you can go deep into advanced settings and turn on GPS on some VZ models if they already have VZ navigator running. In Applications set all permissions on "Allow" for Earthcomber, cross fingers.

Lancerman

Yup have to agree with the others! The darn things are even made in Canada, yet we still don't exist when it comes to most of these cool apps.

Would love to give this a try.......

OptiPrime

im going to try this out. looks really cool.

Busta-B

The app looks great but the GPS isn't connecting correctly... I've checked my settings on my BB and my GPS is on, I have my location but this app isn't geting GPS location. I'll give it another try in an hour or so to see... Would love to utilize this app... so we'll see.

cbs2669

Looks cool, but it SUCKS...have yet to get a GPS lock...sort of useless without it.

jens.bberry

Is this an actual app that can be installed onto your device? If so, I went to the site as directed and all it gave me was an address, even when I had it sent via SMS.

I figured this would be a good way to get to know my area since I just moved here.

If there is an actual app that can be installed, anyone care to point the way for me? Thanks!

rockroadie

well i tried it online, at earthcomer.com for my city, and brought up the closest mall. the information is only about 3 years out of date LOL

Air Force One

This app's GPS is dysfunctional. I have a Bold with 9 GPS enabled apps and this is the only one that takes more than 10 seconds to lock onto my position. This app took fifteen minutes!

BUT, that's not why I deleted it.

I deleted it because when I did a search for local bars and clubs, it gave me results that included bars and clubs that have been closed for a DECADE!!!!!!! I am not kidding either. I was quite shocked and this unfortunately leaves this app useless. Sure, it has bars and clubs listed that are currently operating. BUT, who wants to scroll thru DECADE old search results to find them???!!!

That has to be resolved or this app is 100% worthless. God help the poor soul in a strange city using this app. My advice would be: before heading out for dinner, to call ahead and make sure the restaurant still exists! Actually my advice would be to stick with one of the MANY apps that work well in this regard.

What a waste of a nice UI too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bradley1972

Just downloaded this and WOW! Fill in a few fields and you're in business! The GPS is right on the money and blazing fast! The UI is well laid out and easy to use, Hard to believe it's free because it would be worth a monthly fee in my opinion. Well done!