The problem with having a phone that runs almost entirely based on Google products is that it’s sometimes difficult to have good integration with products from any other source. While Bing for Mobile (presently only available on Verizon phones) does have some great features, it’s too overpowering for an Android application, and as the title said, is likely to annoy some users.
First off, let’s get it out of the way – the application is good. It’s beautiful and really well done. It fits with the Android UI nicely. Having said that, here’s a rundown of the features:
- Image of the day with hotspots
- Endless scrolling search
- Integrated voice search
- Bing Maps, with Points of Interest
- Local ratings
- Local reviews
The hotspots on the images are a really cool feature, in and of themselves. They’re great ways to learn about the daily photos and to explore our world via your phone. The same “cool” factor applies to almost all of the Bing features, in fact. Every one of them is integrated really well into the application itself. The UI is very Android-centric, with the sliding drawer at the bottom of the display. It fact, it’s so elegant that it brings up the issue at hand with why I don’t like the application.
I bet you didn’t know that you just downloaded a new browser, did you? I bet you also didn’t realize that when you try to go to your bookmarks, you can’t, because you’re in an entirely different application. Instead of the search function of Bing allowing you to click on a link that then goes to your Android browser of choice, Bing locks you into its garden, taking you to your requested page within the application itself.
For some, this might not be a big deal. For me, it’s a deal breaker. I wasn’t forewarned of this. I was downloading something that I can use for quick search. I didn’t want a new browser.
Overall, the app feels like it’s trying to take over my phone. It functions as a UI replacement for many thing, including searches for all sorts of products. If you’re into that sort of thing, and you’re a big fan of Bing results, then this isn’t such a bad idea. For me, it feels like a Bing-flavored sandwich of which I’m being forced to take a bite.
In the end, this is what it comes down to. For me, I already have integrated search on my Droid. I don’t need an overlay of another application to do simple searches. This is especially true for any application that’s going to lock me inside of it. If this isn’t your case, then I can highly recommend the app. It is, as I said, beautiful and very well done.