BlackBerry's new smartphone, the Z10, has pretty good reviews so far.
We've only had a Z10 for a day now, so we're still chugging through all the new stuff. But we wanted to take some time to talk about our experience with one of the most important apps on any smartphone, the mapping app.
And the BlackBerry maps app is pretty terrible, e ven worse than Apple Maps on the iPhone.
Here are just a few of the problems we found in BlackBerry Maps:
- No street view or satellite view.
- No public transit directions.
- No way to look up news and reviews of venues based on Yelp, Zagat, or a similar service.
- It has problems finding lesser-known venues like mom and pop stores and restaurants. (Although if you search for popular stuff like "McDonald's" or "The Empire State Building" you won't have a problem.)
- You can only look up directions between your current location and the place you'd like to go. You can't look up two different addresses and find directions between them.
- The interface is difficult to figure out.
There's more to it, but you get the idea. The app simply isn't as robust and useful as Google Maps and has fewer features than Apple Maps. And a quick search in the App World store on BlackBerry for alternative apps pulls up a bunch of junk, including one app that has the exact same icon as Apple Maps on the iPhone.
As we learned with the Apple Maps debacle last fall, mapping apps are incredibly important to smartphone users, almost as much as texting and calling. Apple's decision to ditch Google Maps for its own inferior app caused a major PR headache for the company and was a possible factor that led to Scott Forstall's firing.
It's something BlackBerry can't afford to get wrong on a big bet like BlackBerry 10.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story said Google Maps for iPhone couldn't find directions between two addresses you enter. That is incorrect.
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