Having a city guide installed on your phone sounds like a superb idea. A copy of the Lonely Planet can weigh up to a kilogram, so it sounds like the WCities  BlackBerry application could be a winner.

WCities is a promising concept. Maps of the town you're heading to, plus reviews of local attractions, hotels and a calendar of upcoming events - it could be a godsend if you touch down without a reservation in the middle of the night.

We downloaded the Auckland version of the WCities application - each city will set you back £8 - and found the reality was disappointing. First, WCities is heavily reliant on a data connection. View the map, for instance, and it downloads each tile the same way Google Maps does.

That's fine if you're within range of a wireless network, or have a generous roaming bandwidth allowance on your contract, but if you pay through the nose for data when you're out of your home country, you can expect a walloping the next time you get a bill. There isn't enough data in the application stored natively on the phone.

There are some social networking features as well - a friends list of people you can call or send messages to, despite the fact that the BlackBerry already offers these without needing to spend £8.

There were also a few usability problems on our BlackBerry Bold - screens were occasionally slow to appear and some of the icons are squintingly small.

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WCities: Specs

  • Compatible BlackBerry handset
  • internet connection
  • Compatible BlackBerry handset
  • internet connection


If you're away and don't mind connecting to the internet to find interesting things to do, a decent Google search is a much better value idea than WCities.