The Overview

Wandering through a new area of town? Find a neat collectibles store (okay…most would say bar, but I’m a geek) you want to check out, but your friends are dragging you off? No problem, just drop off a breadcrumb at your current location and look it up later.

Breadcrumb Trail touts itself as a location aware note pad. But, what does that mean? It gives you a lot of features similar to a personalized Google Map, allowing you to place pins and add notes to them. You can add phone numbers, URLs, notes, contact info, photos and rating stars without having to be connected to the Internet.

The Features

Breadcrumb integrates with Maps. I found that this worked really well for looking up that chocolate shop people had told you about and getting directions.

It has a “Follow Me” function that moves the map with you just like GPS. There is no notifications that let you know when you are near a breadcrumb, but it is still nice to be able to easily check when a place you’ve been interested in is nearby.

You can email your breadcrumbs to friends so they know where a place is, such as, say, where you were all meeting for drinks that night.

The Breakdown

The Good:

Breadcrumb Trail has a TON of icons to use, which puzzles me as to why “shoes” was used as one of the defaults. Each icon can be shaded in one of ten colors allowing easy differentiation between sub-categories such as biker bar, versus a nudie bar.

Breadcrumbs can be searched, ordered by distance, category or name. Moving pins around the map is extremely easy. In general, the basic functions are very easy to perform.

The Bad:

Breadcrumb Trail has been out for a while (5 months…that’s middle age in App Store time), yet doesn’t have decent documentation. When you first open the app, it tells you to go to iphonebreadcrumbs.com for full instructions, but the site is just a placeholder page. I was often getting frustrated with the app, thinking it did not have simple features, but would stumble over them later.

It would be nice if it could integrate with some sort of search: Google – or Bing – would be good. This would be for the times when someone tells you about a place and you want to jot down some notes about. Sure I can go to Google and copy/paste, but it is a pain.

Just like in the fairytale, my breadcrumbs feel incredibly fragile. I can see someone putting a lot of time saving breadcrumbs and then lose them all. Individual breadcrumbs can be synced (minus any photos) into your contacts as a standard contact. But doesn’t make it easy to pull the contacts out and sync them into Breadcrumb Trail. I would rather see a way to export all your breadcrumbs and sync them back in just in the off chance you need to reinstall everything(*cough* upgrade or jailbreak gone bad *cough*).

The Verdict

This app is very beautiful, and pretty slick, with just a few hiccups here and there in its interface. The price cannot be beat, and is an app that’s actually worth paying for. The developers say they are hard at work on versionĀ 1.1, but they don’t really give an indication of when it will come out or what will be in it. I’m keeping an eye out for the new version to see what improvements it might bring.

What I am really looking forward to is a manual. No matter how much time I spend with Breadcrumb Trail, I still don’t feel that I have plumbed the depths of power it hides. Hey, Obsessive Code! Tell me what else I can do with this!