Gowalla for iPad - app review

Gowalla for iPad is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. Gowalla for iPad is available now in the App Store for free [Free- iTunes Link]

Gowalla is the newest entry into the whole "check-in" craze. Why check-in? With Gowalla the main goals are to see where your friends are and to collect items. However, this process is mainly reserved for the iPhone app. The iPad version of Gowalla provides beautiful access to view your activities (where you and your friends have checked-in), see what spots are in your area (spots are places to check-in) and your Passport (a summary of where you have checked in, stamps, pins and items collected.

This app is an excellent companion app to its iPhone cousin. The large screen really gives you great access to view where your friends are in real-time across the world. You can pinch and zoom from your city to the whole world in a breeze. You can learn more about a location or friend by tapping on their name on the map. Spots also dynamically appear when the map is moved to a new location, very slick.

One of the nice advantages of Gowalla compared to its competition is that Gowalla's main focus is not becoming a Mayor' but rather on collecting items left behind by other users. When you check-in with Gowalla you have an opportunity to swap an item you have with an item you are checking-in at. If it is a new location, there may not be an item but you can leave an item behind for another user and you then become the founder for that location.

If you are up for a challenge you can complete a Trip in Gowalla. Trips consist of checking into a series of locations in a city. Once complete, you get a trip badge to add to your collection. If you don't have trips in your city, you can create your own and submit it to Gowalla. Regretfully, trips are not accessible at this time in the iPad app.

Gowalla renders all of this with beautiful icons and graphics that really allows you to enjoy the experience of the application. It is important to remember that this really is not meant to replace the iPhone version of Gowalla, at least in its current state, but to enhance your experience with Gowalla. There is a substantial amount of functionality missing from this application and we look forward to what Gowalla will bring in future versions. Check out the video and pics below!

Pros

  • Wonderful artistry
  • Get directions to a spot
  • Check-in
  • View leaderboard
  • Save items to your vault
  • Awesome companion app to the iPhone version

Cons

  • Trips are not viewable
  • Cannot edit Spots
  • Cannot create trips

TiPb iPad 3-star rated

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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

Gowalla for iPad - app review

5 Comments

You CAN vault items from this app - just tap any item in your passport and there is a BIG button for "add to collection" :)
What do you mean that the app is "read-only"? You can check in - what else would you hope to do? Edit spots?

Can someone pleeease explain to me who uses these kind of apps (demographics?). To me it's senseless to do real world activity solely to accrue Internet-based tokens. If the activity is worth doing, it doesn't need the "check in" and if the only purpose IS to check in, then perhaps many such users are readying for the day of Big Brother's mandated "check in"... Surely I am missing something... Right?
The other "presence" argument seems sufficient, but still hard for me to believe other people want their whereabouts to be anything other than anonymous, let alone mapped.

...and for that matter, do the patrons of this service arrive at the real world location just to stare down at their iPhones, so then the experience becomes "real"? If this isn't the paradigm shift, when is it?

@Kevin I deleted the Read Only point. I was hoping for more functionality, edit spots, view trips, create trips, etc. With the iPad it is so much more than the iPhone. I have high hopes these features will be coming soon. I did not have any accessible items (I left them all..) and my sources told me that they could not be vaulted- my bad.
@Grumpy it is a great way to explore your city and get a virtual passport stamped and collect items, that is all.