Places - Review
Eonmatrix is offering Places for Windows Phone 7 that is a location based search engine that will help you find restaurants, coffee houses, hotels and other landmarks that are in your area.
The layout of the app is simple and straight forward. The main page has nine main search categories as well as a keyword search field. Above the search field you'll find your current location that the searches will be based off of. Simply tap on a category and a listing of those business types will be generated that are in your area.
The results can be displayed in list form or by a map with pushpins representing the results. Once you've found your target, tapping on the individual listing will pull up a secondary hub that details that particular business.
The secondary hub gives you an overview of the business (address, phone number, etc.), a map view and a gallery view of any images collected of the location. You have two icon buttons at the bottom of the screen that allows you to call the business or launch its website (if applicable).
In taking Places out for a test drive, I liked the layout of the application and it provided the basic information on attractions in my area. It doesn't provide as much information as Yelp! does but enough to get you going.
The biggest problem I encountered with Places dealt with stability. When the app worked, it worked fine but more times than not, when I initiated a search the app crashed. The application was recently updated which helped the effectiveness of the searches tremendously. I also had problems accessing the "Wikipedia" option. I kept getting a "server unavailable" message. Hopefully the next update will address the stability and access to Wikipedia.
Overall, I liked Places but the instability was hard to overlook. There is a free version available to let you try before you buy. The full version will run you $2.99. The only difference between the two is that the free version has ad banners.