MapQuest 4 Mobile – I’ve always been a fan and user of MapQuest but I don’t think AOL’s MapQuest 4 Mobile offers any more functionality than many other apps that use maps to help you find nearby eateries, hotels, discounts and so on.
That’s not to say MapQuest 4 Mobile isn’t a competitive offering, because it is, especially given that it’s free. There’s much to like about this app. Its user interface is quite good and if you’re in search of restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, gas stations, coffee shops and post offices, a single icon tap will take you there.
Start by setting your location and then either run a search by business name or address or tap the corresponding icon to find what you’re looking for. From there, grab directions on how to get from point A to point B and if it’s a place you plan to revisit, you can save your search or review your search history and save them as “My Places” and access them from anywhere online.
To save your My Places requires setting up an account using MapQuest, AIM or AOL. Create a screen name and the next time you want to see your saved places, log in.
MapQuest 4 Mobile is essentially the pocket version of the Web site. You can elect to find the shortest route, shortest time, avoid highways and so on. You can also view directions stop-by-stop and maps in landscape mode, which is also a good feature.
With devs ramping up for all the new map-related, GPS and compass capabilities of OS 3.0, I expect to see AOL bring some more clever features in updates to this app. Right now, it’s just a map app with a few extra bells and whistles and huge brand recognition and familiarity to most users. It could be a lot more.
When I tried to set up my My Places account, it took me three tries before the page would finally load. The app crashed right after each attempt, but I don’t know what to make of that. I wasn’t able to replicate it later. Perhaps you’ll have better luck and not have to worry about crashes at all.
MapQuest 4 Mobile is free, so if you try it and don’t like it, there’s no harm, no foul, right?
Where MapQuest 4 Mobile will have a difficult time is convincing iPhones and iPod touches to use it instead of Google, AAA Discounts and many other apps with maps designed to make it easy for you to find nearby retail outlets, businesses and restaurants.