Kickball! : Location, location, location

22 06 2010

The Basics

Category: Social Networking

Release Date: April 1st 2010

Seller: Gorloch Interactive, LLC

Price: Free

Size: 2.6 mb

Version: 1.0.1

Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later) and an account with foursquare, available free from here

The Review

Kickball! is a third party client for, foursquare, a new type of social platform which is founded upon the idea of ‘checking in’ at locations as you go about your daily business. Not only does this allow friends, family and coworkers to track your location, as you check in at the cheap motel for third Friday in a row, but it allows fellow users to leave tips, such as ‘ the bed in room 4 is quite squeaky.’ Foursquare also throws in a competitive element, in which, the person who has checked in at a location the most, becomes the ‘Mayor’. While this does give you bragging rights, it can also have additional benefits, because in some cases, businesses have started to offer rewards to ‘Mayors’, such as at certain Starbucks stores in America. So, despite the fact you’re cheating on your partner, you are at least the Mayor and getting 10 percent off at the motel.

Kickball adds a small set of minor features, in an attempt to differentiate itself from the stock foursquare app. One such example of this, is the improved friend search, which allows users to add friends via searching the iPhone address book, twitter, phone number and first and last name. Furthermore, a ‘I’m here to’ feature allows you to quickly check in when you bump into friends. Users can also upload photos of locations and be notified through push notification when friends upload their photos. The app also boasts searching for people and places through use of a Google maps view. While this is a nice touch, it does require that you have a decent data connection, since anything less than 3G, can make searching via this method more of a time consuming hindrance than a help.

The most noticeable difference between the foursquare app and Kickball, is the vastly superior user interface. You can tell from the moment that you open the app that the developers have focused most of their collective energy into the look and feel of the application. If the developer’s goal was merely to provide a superior interface from which to interact with the foursquare service, then they have succeed. They have utilised black and red to striking effect, with white overlays that appear when additional information is being displayed. The result of this is an app that looks polished and professional. By comparison, the foursquare app looks bland and outdated and users will have a hard time reverting back to this, once they become accustomed to the sleek interface of Kickball.

Despite this, there are a number of problems with Kickball which undermines the app as a replacement for the foursquare app. To begin with I found that searching for places was not as comprehensive when using Kickball and manually adding new places was made harder, since Kickball requires you to enter an address in as well. However, the biggest problem with the app is the instability, since the app will often quit- booting the user back to the home screen, or, fail to make contact with the foursquare service. Both problems truly hold back the application from replacing foursquare’s app as the gateway for iDevice users to the service. As a result, the entire time I was using Kickball, I also had to have the foursquare app, because I couldn’t rely on Kickball for checking in, which complete defeats the purpose of it.

Conclusion : In the end, the outstanding U.I merely acts as a thin veneer, hiding the cracks in the polished surface. The minor features that Kickball brings to the table and the entire app is undermined since the app is unreliable and feels more as a beta product, than that of a finished product. Until these issues are sorted (and they can be in an update) foursquare users should stick to the foursquare app.

Rating :

+ Slick interface

+ Minor features

– Crashes and instability

– Search not as comprehensive as foursquare app

– Oh, did I mention the crashing?

Like Kickball? – You may like…

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One response

1 07 2010
News Update: iPhone 4 launch, Apple OSX apps heading for the iPhone, and more… « Appjudge

[…] Kickball! : Location, location, location […]

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