Posts Tagged ‘Blackberry’

Go out, go discover, go share – Gowalla.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

We love games. We love all types of ‘em. Video games, table top games, dice games, games of chance, trading card games, RPG’s, drinking games… and one day we’ll get that game of Gamette strip poker to happen. (Hey guys gotta have goals right?)

One thing that had been catching our eyes lately is the newer market of “Geo” tag gaming. It’s been relatively new the past year of so with mobile phone applications getting more sophisticated and such. The two forerunners being Foursquare and Gowalla.

To tell the truth, I never really wanted to try it to begin with. While it did seem vaguely interesting, I was hesitant of the social networking aspect of it. While we here at BG are big on social networking… I’m also hesitant to be the D-bag who sends you flowers for your facebook garden or wants you to answer questions about me. With that aspect, the foursquare users just seemed to kinda fit that bill. (I know I can imagine all the hate mail now)

So SXSW came to town this past few weeks in Austin Texas (Home of the proud Busygamer crew) and we also learned via web buzz that Gowalla is actually developed in Austin Texas made it’s debut around SXSW LAST year and had tons of local SXSW inspired trips and locations to visit. I actually happened to be rolling into the festival for my own devious personal reasons not business related, so in the tradition of trying out new apps on roadtrips (which I have somehow become accustomed to doing) I decided to try it out.

First off, the premise of geo gaming is pretty simple. You use your mobile device to “Tag” where you are. This is done by the simple action of “checking in”. The purpose is really a neat way to share the places you are going with friends. Of course, where the social aspect comes in, is that at certain places you can find “hidden” virtual items from place to place. Maybe a pint in a random bar, or a fish in a pond. These items get added to your profile, you can collect them, or swap them for other items people leave behind, or you can drop them in a spot others have not yet done so and become a “founder” of the spot. You also have the option of creating a spot for the first time if you are at a location no one on Gowalla has ever been before.

The purpose of all this? Collecting Pins man. You can get pins for all sorts of things, from visiting a certain number of spots, to creating or founding a certain number of spots, or even visiting a lot of bars or coffee shops (the bar pin should be no problem for us).

In addition to the pins, the people of Gowalla have put together series of trips you can take. (Being founded in Austin, there are some neat ones.) SXSW visitors were in luck as there were a number of SXSW “trips” you can take by visiting all the locations on the list. Gowalla had SWSW music, interactive, film and even keynote trips you could take. In addition to the specific SXSW trips they also had there BBQ Bonanza (oh the arteries are hardening now) and the Austin Bar Hop (which we will be gathering a group of Austinites in the near future to come along with us to complete!)

Besides the trips that are featured, it looks like the website also lets you make your own trips as well.

The most interesting thing about this app game is the slick interface. For a Busygamer who is always on the road and out of the office living life, it has become a neat way to “check in” to somewhere new, grab a hidden item (some which can be traded for actual goods IRL), and move on filling my casual gaming needs while I work on being a traveling man. It’s also handy because it lets you decide which check ins or pictures you want to post on twitter or facebook to avoid the “annoying guy who is always asking for help on mafia wars in FB” syndrome.

Because Gowalla is a world wide application, I cant wait to visit other cities to see the spots others have created and also making my own blazing a path where others have not been (already got a “founded” and “commissioned” pin thank ya very much). The app really makes you want to check a city out, as we were sitting around auditorium shores waiting for a concert to begin, looking for the time capsule and fountain we knew were nearby.

So far… Gowalla looks like a winner to us, and we’re pretty serious about that Austin barhop trip. If you are in the Austin area… keep a look out for us to advertise it in the coming weeks and you can come along. It’s kinda like getting a boyscout badge except that not all of us will make it back alive.

Gowalla is available FREE to download on the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm phones. Sign up and read more info at

Palm’s future may be uncertain

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

The Palm Pre hasn't helped Palm's sagging sales

Palm Devices have always held a special place in my heart… Somewhere between love and hate. The love portion came from my own personal use of their devices. They were (for me) easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to maintain. However, having had to provide support for a variety of their devices to customers who had no business using a PDA much less a smartphone, and thus, I had my hate portion.

Regardless of those personal experiences and feelings, I have been a quiet Palm fan as the company made its most recent venture in the smartphone market with its webOS operating system on its latest models, the Pre and the Pixi. In a market increasingly dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Research In Motion’s Blackberry devices, Palm was attempting to carve out a new niche against the giants as its own Palm smartphone sales sagged.

The move, however, comes at a time when new phones operating on the Android OS have began to hit the market. Palm’s new OS is geared less towards corporate users and more towards the consumer market which is a far cry from the days of yore when devices ran either the Palm OS or a flavor of Windows Mobile. Die hard Palm smartphone fanatics were upset about the change but many critics agreed that the move was a necessity.

Last week, however, Palm released its quarterly earnings report. The reports showed that Palm is having a hard time making headway with its new devices and posted a $22 million loss for the past quarter. While it shipped 960,000 devices during the quarter, only 408,000 of the devices were sold at retailers. In comparison, Apple’s iPhone, which has consistently seen its sales grow since its launch, sold 8.7 million units in its most recent quarter.

Analysts are now saying Palm has lost too much ground in the battle for smartphone supremacy, ground that it might never be able to retake, and may be primed for a buyout by one of the other manufacturers. A sad state of affairs for Palm, who was a pioneer in the industry and has consistently been on the cutting edge of the technology.

Personally, I will continue to root for Palm. They now have underdog status, which always means marks in my book, and their new OS is a solid product. They’ve been making some changes to their marketing strategy with new ads on television and sending representatives to stores where their products are sold  in order to educate customers about the features and pros of their phones.

It remains to be seen if the moves will make any difference against RIM’s continued, yet now tenuous, dominance in the market, Apple’s continued growth and potential to take the crown, and Google’s Android phones quickly becoming a contender. Whether they do or not, I’ll be rooting for them…

Gritskrieg – End of Line