For a while, the only way to play the location-based Foursquare was through its iPhone app or the scant mobile website. Then came an Android app, opening the game to a whole new group of users. And now, BlackBerry users are getting the love.
The service is officially launching on the BlackBerry today after several weeks in private beta testing with a few hundred users. Specifically, the app with work on all 8000 and 9000 series devices (any BlackBerry with a trackball), and it will also work with the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm, but Foursquare notes that a special version built for that device is in the works too.
As you can see in the screenshots, the app is pretty similar to the Foursquare apps on the other platforms. While not quite as pretty as the latest iPhone version, it gets the job done. Our own Leena Rao has been one of the beta testers, and speaks glowingly of being able to use the service after months of iPhone-envy. That said, she does note that there were some bugs, but can’t be sure if that’s more of a BlackBerry problem then a Foursquare problem. A number of testers have noted in the forums problems with location-sensing, but with the latest update that got sent out last week (the “release candidate”) version, the service made a number of UX tweaks in an attempt to make it more obvious to find the actual venue you are looking to check in at.
This BlackBerry launch is an important one for Foursquare as they continue to grow. Windows Mobile and Palm Pre versions has also been in the works for some time by independent developers using Foursquare’s API. Once it’s on all the mobile platforms, it will have a pretty strong defense against both Gowalla, which is currently iPhone-only but has a mobile web interface that works on Android, and the Yelp application, which just last week added the check-in feature that is the key to Foursquare. That is still only available on the iPhone app, but it has some 1.25 million users — well above Foursquare’s total numbers (somewhere around 200,000). Foursquare also just yesterday confirmed the hiring of a COO (which they are calling their General Manager).