One of my new ideas for the podcast is a dedicated review series of iOS and Android wine-related applications. I’ve posted about mobile apps over the years but it seems the time is right for a regular series of reviews since new apps seem to be popping up more rapidly these days. As I see promising apps I’ll post these first looks to give readers a heads up on apps that might be useful before I review them more fully later.
My first app is called Vivino and is available in iOS, Android and Blackberry flavors being one of the few such cross platform wine apps. And the idea is both simple and brilliant; a photo-based tasting notes app. I think this has a lot of potential given the rise of apps like Instagram and picplz for sharing photos. Vivino is essentially the same idea for sharing wines.
But at this early stage, the Android beta is an ill-behaved, non-integrated work in progress. Once you open it up it couldn’t be more simple. Clicking on the “Add wine” button opens your camera app and you take a photo of the wine you want to save. They are uploaded to your account and some time later metadata is automatically added with details about the wine. The only problem is this adding of metadata only works about 30% of the time and even then seems to be unreliable. Worse, the app doesn’t let you edit or add anything manually or integrate with an online account so you could add this data later on your computer. I also noticed for whatever reason the app hit GPS more often than other apps (what does it need GPS for in the first place?) so if you let the app run in the background your battery will run down faster.
Without integration to an online account or the ability to add information about a wine manually I can’t recommend the current Android version. I’ll check out the iOS version but since I have an older iPod Touch I can’t test this fully. Hopefully this app will improve over time because the idea is a very good one. Post your experiences with the app on the Blackberry or iPhone versions in the comments.