I’ve added Earthcomber, a new mobile web local search site to the WapReview direcctory and Yeswap.com mobile portal under Search/Local. For a search site Earthcomber is unusual in that it’s menu driven – there is no search box. After setting your location, which involves keying in an address or just a zip code, you use a hierarchical menu to drill down to the category you are interested in. So to find a sushi place, chose, Let’s Eat on the home screen and on the next screen Sushi. I was able to quickly find the nearest ATM and Starbucks. Movie listings tell you the nearest theaters with times and prices. There are hundreds of categories so some of the menus are rather long. The menu driven approach encourages browsing and may appeal to those who lack the mobile keying skills of a teenager. Still, I’d like to also see a search box for the times when I know just what I’m looking for.
Earthcomber (web site) has actually been around for a while with Windows Mobile and Palm OS 5 native apps which use maps synchronized to the device from a PC and support external GPS units. I haven’t tried those apps as I don’t have a compatible device. There are also some community features available only with the Palm and WM versions, users can add points of interest, comment on places and create sharable lists of favorites.
The mobile web site is new, as is a Java ME app. I’ve downloaded the Java version to my PC and if I can get it working on my Boost Mobile i855, which requires sideloading, I’ll post about it. Sadly, it doesn’t look like the Java app is GPS enabled.
Earthcomber’s (US only) database seems quite extensive and the site also offers driving directions and maps which are sized to fit your browsers width. Some listings contain descriptions and reviews from CitySearch. The site supports named locations and remembers you have used previously. It’s not necessary to register to use the service. Registration, which requires only an email address, offers the ability to access your saved location across multiple devices.
Earthcomber (xhtml-mp) mobile.earthcomber.com/phone/intro.do