I have a horrible memory: that’s not an opinion, either. I live off of apps that store notes (ABI Notes, Evernote) to keep track of things that otherwise don’t get stored in “the Rolodex”. What’s worse than that is going somewhere new and not remembering where it was or how I got there. Thankfully, Brandon Orr (developer of the UTBblogs app for BlackBerry 10) has created PinGuin, an app specifically designed for keeping track of favorite destinations to make them easier to return to. While PinGuin has been on BlackBerry 10 for quite some time, it has recently received some major enhancements that warrant a full re-review to give it the best possible exposure that it deserves.
PinGuin fully integrates with BlackBerry 10 the way an app should. The interface is done entirely in native Cascades UI and offers the choice of a light or dark theme. It connects to BBM for profile updates and contact invites so you can share the awesomeness of PinGuin with your friends and family. There is also Pebble Watch integration for those who want or need a little more freedom from their device during another physically demanding activity (work, rock climbing, hot date, etc.).
The feature set is definitely intriguing; however, there still is the question of WHY it’s an app that belongs in your catalog, and I will demonstrate its importance through an example of my own.
I drink Monster Java Energy Drinks every day of my life and have for many years. There are different stores that carry them, and certain stores offer specific flavors. The problem is remembering which stores sell which flavors, and that can be overwhelming to commit to memory if you visit a multitude of geographical areas like I do (although I’m sure someone could do it). PinGuin seeks to relieve this burden by creating a GPS “pin” of your current location (in this instance, the store that carriers my favorite flavor Monster Java, Irish Blend). Once a GPS “pin” is created, a photo of the location can now be added (through the Camera or saved images) for later confirmation that you’re in the correct place. The “pins” can be categorized from a drop-down menu (let’s say this one is Store), but more importantly, there is also a description box that permits the insertion of custom notes. This is where PinGuin helps me considerably; I have well over 50 stores “pinned”, and I cannot recall which store I need to be at every time to find what I’m looking for. Accessing the Saved Locations tab reveals two search options: Search by Title, and Search by Description. If I have to have my Irish Blend Monster Java right away, searching by description will eliminate the stores that do not contain the word “Irish” in the description. Now I am left with only the stores that have my favorite drink!
Once a “pin” is decided upon, PinGuin employs BlackBerry Maps (or Google Maps as an alternative) to give precise directions to a “pin” from your current location without entering a single thing. You only have to tap the “pin” and the rest is automated. To avoid losing any “pins”, PinGuin offers a backup/restore option with a file that can be saved anywhere you like (I go with external storage and move an additional copy in cloud storage such as Dropbox just in case). If you have someone you would like to share the “pin” with, that is included as well. Sharing a “pin” comes is handy when you need someone to meet you in a specific place without having to type out an address or give your precise current location (very secure), or if you just want to share the discovery of a really cool spot.
PinGuin is not a one-time use app. You will find yourself needing it to “pin” all sorts of things on a regular basis. I use it for restaurants, stores, parks for the family, vacation destinations, points of interest, and much, much more. At 99 cents, it’s a steal to say the least. If you’re tired of wasting time driving around in circles, PinGuin is here to save the day!