Yelp has been pushing hard to make its presence on smartphones known. In the last seven days, it has released a major upgrade to its iPhone application and has debuted native versions of Yelp for BlackBerry and the Palm Pre (Palm WebOS.)
Yelp 1.0 for Palm Pre and Yelp 1.0 for BlackBerry are much more basic than their iPhone kin is. According to Yelp, this is a conscious decision to get the core features out there and usable. And, although not much to look at (on the BlackBerry Bold, anyway,) the apps retain their utility. We put the BlackBerry version to the test to find and direct us to our humble lunch spot, even reading reviews in line to see which menu items were most recommended. Yelp on BlackBerry is location-aware and uses maps (Microsoft's Bing maps, not Google Maps) and click-to-call to help a mobile Yelper out.
The Palm WebOS version has the same core features, but the experience is leagues ahead of the BlackBerry version. The Pre's interface is also much more stylish and provides access to special offers. BlackBerry users may miss those deals at this stage, a shame. Yelp on the Pre can also save contacts to the address book, and can share listings by e-mail or text. The biggest usability error we noticed on the Pre was having to scroll to the very end of a record to access the Web site link. It would be better to see this in the address block up top.
Both version 1.0 applications are missing interactive capabilities to upload photos, write reviews, and rate others' reviews. According to Yelp, more advanced features such as these will come later on.
Yelp for Blackberry is available for free on BlackBerry devices in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Ireland (or anywhere else you use BlackBerry) by pointing the mobile browser to http://m.yelp.com. Yelp for Palm Pre can be used in the U.S. or Canada (or anywhere else you have a Pre). You can download the Pre app from the App Catalog on the phone.