Foursquare’s mobile website can be described as functional at best, allowing users to check in and see a listing of where their friends are. It’s not good for much beyond that and lacks the polish of Foursquare’s native applications. Unfortunately, many users have been forced to use the mobile site since there are no mobile apps for certain platforms.
Cotchin is a new mobile website offering all the features of Foursquare’s mobile site and then some. It also features support for Chinese users, a population Foursquare would certainly like to tap.
It uses HTML5′s location services to search for nearby venues, a feature that is lacking completely from Foursquare’s mobile site since it wasÂ designed primarily for feature phones and not the full mobile web. This alone makes Cotchin much easier to use, especially in dense urban environments. It offers all the Foursquare API features you’d expect: checkins, shouts, venue information, your history, your friends’ recent checkins, etc. The design is much improved over Foursquare’s spartan mobile site, as well.
Cotchin (according to the Urban Dictionary it’s a verb used to describe “hanging out in a casual manner”) was developed in Taiwan by co-founders Howard Huang and Henry Chen. They say their goals were to:
- Offer an interface for Chinese and Taiwanese users who are less familiar with English. Thus, Cotchin is available in English and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
- Bring support to the latest smartphones that do not have a native mobile app. They support iPhone, Android, Blackberries with Webkit based browsers, Palm Web OS, and Chen’s beloved Nokia N900 running on Maemo* â€” the impetus behind the entire project.
- Expand upon Foursquare’s badges and mayorships with additional game components that are more exciting to Asian users who are familiar with more advanced mobile games. These features are planned for the future. The yet-to-be-activated “Scenarios” button on the home page hints at what these future capabilities could include.
Give Cotchin a try and let us know what you think in the comments.
* You’ll need Maemo GeoLocation.