Even though popular location-based check-in service Gowalla released its native app for Apple’s iPad last week (pictured), its competitor Foursquare sees no reason to rush out an iPad application for the tablet that’s proven itself a real hit in its first month of sales.
Says Dennis Crowley, Foursquare CEO: “We are still seeing explosive growth on iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices, so we are going to focus on those in the short-term.”
Users can access Foursquare on the iPad, but it’s a version ported from the iPhone, which doesn’t make full use of the tablet’s high-resolution display. By comparison, Gowalla’s native iPad app looks great on the device, and the launch coincided nicely with the 3G version of the iPad, which hit the stores a day after Gowalla’s app appeared in the App store. (Another popular location-based service, Loopt, beat both of them to the punch by releasing its native app as soon as the device was out in March.)
The 3G version of the iPad makes the device much more mobile as it is not restricted to WiFi only. As a result it’s more convenient to take out on the street for use with location-based services even if it is still more unwieldy than a cell phone for a quick check-in.
Foursquare’s Crowley says that while the company hasn’t yet put out an app, it certainly has been whiteboarding one. “We want to see what the end uses for the iPad turn out to be”, Crowley explained in an email.
According to Gowalla CEO Josh Williams, the iPad will not be a primary way for users to share their location on-the-go, as much as it is a way to browse content such as user-uploaded photos and discover places in a city on a high-resolution map. These services will still focus primarily on smartphones — in fact, Gowalla has a native BlackBerry app due out in about two weeks, according to Williams. So, for location-based services, a native iPad app doesn’t seem to be a “must-have” thing, but rather a way to experiment with different variations of the service.
And, maybe even social networks can afford to wait before committing to a tablet strategy: Facebook still hasn’t released a native iPad app even though an unofficial app soared the App Store charts before being taken down (as reported by TechCrunch, here.)
[Photo of Crowley: Daniel Spils]
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