From the time I got my first BlackBerry, the hunt for the perfect application began. About six months after that day I stumbled upon Poynt. At the time, the application was still in its very early stages and really didn’t have nearly as many features as it does now. Poynt today is the epitome of what a BlackBerry application should be. The BlackBerry developers of other applications definitely need to take some notes on the perfect balance of pleasing visuals, speed, and integration.
The first thing you will notice upon opening Poynt is the simple, clean, and elegant look of the application itself. Rather than sticking with just a very "engineered" look (as BlackBerry OS and most other applications are), Poynt is fun, colorful, and intuitive. The different features of the app are displayed with six circular-motion, rotating icons that overlay a city-based scenery that updates to the current weather in your location. Although Poynt is one of the best looking applications available for BlackBerry, the true beauty of Poynt is within its perfect integration of just the right features in just the right way.
Upon opening the application, the first feature that will appear is a local search option for businesses. If you cannot get a lock on your GPS location or cell site location, you will need to manually enter your location information. Usually city and state will give you decent results, but you may want to enter the exact address. Within the business search you can either search for the specific name of a business or you can search for general keywords that will help you find what you’re in search of. For example, if you are looking for the nearest Wal-Mart just search for “Wal-Mart,” but if you’re looking for somewhere you can buy some clothes and aren’t quite sure where you should do you shopping, simply search “clothes.” The listings of the businesses will be in order from nearest to the furthest away. You will have the option to add each individual listing to your Address Book, save the location, search from that location, call the business, navigate to the destination, and share that business with a friend via email. The business search from Poynt is packed full of features, and it is no more packed than any other functions.
Next to the business search you will find People search. This function is one I really don’t find myself using much seeing that I don’t call house phones…ever. As a just-in-case scenario, though, I can see the necessity for this function. People is a white pages search that condenses a nationwide phonebook into your hand. There are three different ways to look up a number or person in the People section, by name, by phone number, or by address. I personally haven’t had a lot of hands-on time with People, but after toying around with it for a while, I found it works really well. If you are a person that does a lot of calling to land-lines, this may be a very appealing feature to you.
My favorite and more used feature of Poynt, by far, is the movie search. You can either search for movies near your locations, theaters near your locations, the top ten movies, movie genres, or movie titles. If that isn’t enough for you, you can mark your most frequented theaters as a “favorite” for faster access. Usually what I do (and what I figure most people that use this app do) is use the theater search. From there it will show all of the movies playing at that theater for the day and their respective playing times. When you highlight the movie you’re interested it, if you click the trackball/trackpad a menu will appear giving you the option to buy tickets to that movie, view the movie trailer, add to your calendar, send the movie times to your friend via email, and read the synopsis or reviews. This part of the application is the one I end up using nearly every night out. It couldn’t be more thorough with any more perfect integration.
Another very important feature to me is restaurant search. You can search by cuisine, name, or what’s closest to you. Generally, there is a dispute on where my friends and I should eat. Poynt has come to the rescue many times in the past few months. But when Poynt really shines is when you are on vacation or in a city that you’re unfamiliar with because rather than just acting like a GPS, Poynt in your automated concierge service. When you find a restaurant that interests you, simply click on its name and, viola, you have the number to the restaurant for reservations. You can also read reviews on the restaurant and read up on it. For Poynt’s food services, they use superpages.com, Citysearch, and OpenTable.com. Rather than just offering the service of one of these popular restaurant searches, it offers a collaboration of all three to provide very in-depth information about each restaurant. Again, Poynt is providing an awesome display of integration of different services to offer a near perfect service to Poynt users.
This is a feature of Poynt I rarely use. I’ve never understood the fuss people make about saving a few cents on gas. “Gas is a penny less a few miles down the road. I’m going there!!” If that is something you find yourself saying a lot, you are the part of the people Poynt is targeting with their Gas Prices feature. You can by nearest distance of from cheapest to highest prices. Poynt provides regular unleaded prices and diesel prices. It’s a very nice feature, and when in search for the nearest gas station it’s very helpful, but I do not find myself looking through the hundreds of gas stations to penny pinch.
With every feature within Poynt, you can always map your destination or map the route to that destination. If you are a heavy user of BlackBerry Maps you will know that the navigations services have come a long way in the past few years (they’re not anything to Google’s map services though) and Poynt has harped on that. You can also use Google Maps, but you will not be able to navigate with Google Maps using Poynt. You can plot your destination on Maps and you will have to use Maps to do the rest of the work. If you choose to route your destination it will default to BlackBerry Maps. It works pretty well, but nothing I want to use every day.
One thing I always seem to overlook with the new Poynt design is the weather support. Poynt pulls your location information and gathers the current weather and your background image will change to mimic the current weather status. I took a screen capture last night and the backdrop was clear weather and a moon was displayed. Today, being the dreary day that it is, there are clouds about and it just has that “rainy day” feel to it. If you click on the temperature at the bottom of the screen, an in-depth look at the current weather will display. You can also scroll right and view the whole day’s weather, and if you continue scrolling you will have forecast information for the next four days. The weather just as accurate and any of the other applications you may download seeing that their services pull from AccuWeather.com.
If you have a BlackBerry and do not have Poynt, do yourself a favor and download it now. I’ve been using it for quite some time now (three years?), and I don’t know what I would do without it. With Android, I feel lost without my Poynt. There aren’t any applications that really parallel the ease-of-use or perfect intuitiveness of Poynt on other platforms (Poynt is also available for the iPhone). Most importantly, the developers of Poynt are incredibly awesome for offering such an amazing application for free! So what are you waiting for ‘Berry heads? Get your Poynt on! It can be found in App World here, or you can download it directly from Poynt’s website, here.