Mobile phones and PDAs can now spot theaters and showtimes by how close they are to the person scouting for a movie, thanks to the - according to Earthcomber - first GPS-enabled movie guide offered in the US.
"Movies on the Move," a free download for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Palm OS-powered PDAs, is available on Earthcomber, a website that provides mapping and local data as well as personal navigation software.
The detailed listings of movies, showtimes and theaters are now part of the local information that comes with maps for every region in the United States. The guide itself, which carries reviews, descriptions and images of the movies playing, is an additional download for high-capacity devices. It is also free.
Earthcomber's show listings cover nearly 5400 theaters and 30000 screens.
"Real, up-to-date movie listings are one of the handiest things you can put on a PDA or your smart phone," said Jim Brady, Earthcomber's founder and president. "What makes Movies on the Move different is they all show up in order of how close to where you're standing."
"Putting movie listings out for free is also a huge departure from the 'try-then-subscribe' services," Brady said.
Earthcomber's patented software uses GPS. If the phone or PDA doesn't have a real GPS signal, Earthcomber still provides GPS-simulation by allowing a user to tap the screen to mark their current location. Then all of each user's personal interests appear by proximity.
"That really beats figuring out what zip code you're in and doing repetitious searches on a mobile web site," Brady said. "Plus, you can look for movies at the same time you're looking for all the rest of the things you're interested in - coffee shops, Wi-Fi hot spots, stores, ATMs, bars, whatever."
The "Movies on the Move" service is updated nightly and typically provides detailed information on approximately 400 movies per day, ranging from current box office hits to single screens showing obscure titles. The guide itself requires 1.5 to 3 MB of storage space and includes movie synopses, actor and director credits as well as full reviews of popular titles, along with many photos.
While this might be a useful service, I dislike the idea that all the information needs to be synced and stored on the device, rather than giving real-time access to the database through GPRS, UMTS or W-LAN. I mean, today most devices are connected and the way this service works reminds me pretty much of the early PDA days, where content needs to be synced. Anyway, since it is free, it might be worth to try.
Cheers ~ Arne