buzzd, a location-based city guide and social network, has launched a native app made for BlackBerry smartphones, which brings many features of its mobile Web version to a native mobile application. The network was one of the recipients of the first round of investments from the BlackBerry Partners Fund (similar to Facebook’s fb Fund) last October. Previously only available via a mobile web browser, buzzd has also launched a companion website (for a computer browser) that offers the same information.
buzzd’s app answers the question, “What’s going on around me right now?” Buzzd will tell you which bands are playing at local bars, the location of a four-star eatery, which bar is most popular and other similar information. The interface lets the user share information with others on buzzd, so people can setup their own social networks.
With this app, users can browse and search continuously updated event feeds, which include pricing, location, and event details, and access ratings and reviews on restaurants and bars. buzzd aggregates information from other event and review sites including Citysearch, Flavorpill, Time Out, MyOpenBar, last.fm, and Clubvibes. User-generated feedback from the buzzd community for “real-time” activity about events, restaurants and bars is also included in the mashup of information.
The application also allows you to automatically add events to your Blackberry Calendar, add venues to your Blackberry contacts, broadcast updates from buzzd to Twitter, and features integration with maps to provide you exact locations of venues.
Instead of using GPS (which navigates positioning based on global positioning satellite technology), the app claims to be one of the first of its kind in the BlackBerry AppWorld to use Cell ID, which buzzd says is faster than GPS and works more efficiently in concentrated areas (like clubs and bars), where buzzd is likely to be used. Cells are the hundreds of radio base stations that make up a mobile network in any given city. Each base station or cell covers a physical area and these cells connect together to make up the entire network. The size of cells depends on the density of base stations installed in a given area. A mobile phone connects to the network using the cell in which it is located.
As the mobile phone moves, it leaves one cell and joins another. The new cell then takes responsibility for connecting the phone to the network. Every time the cell that “owns” the mobile changes, buzzd reads the cell id and cell name and delivers these to the device.
Cell ID is a common back-up for geo-location services when GPS is not available. For instance, the mobile versions of Google Maps uses it, even on the BlackBerry. Google uses its own Cell ID database, built up every time somebody uses Google Maps on their cell phone. In order for mobile app developers to tap into this database, they ar erequired to use Google Gears, which sometimes limits the functionality of the app. Buzzd is creating its own database of cell base stations, and currently has about 500,000. The more people who use buzzd, which is approaching one million active users per month, the bigger the database becomes and the more accurate buzzd can pinpoint a user’s location. To get even more cell base stations into its database, buzzd is planning on opening up its database for free to other mobile app developers.
Founded in 2007, buzzd has previously partnered with Virgin Mobile to equip Virgin’s phones with a native app. Interestingly, Yahoo Mobile recently abandoned its Smartphone app to focus on the iPhone market.