Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration [rating:3/5]
User Interface [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3/5]
There's no doubting that the App Store is a big place. In fact, it's so big that many now struggle to find exactly what they're looking for, and with the iTunes App Store search only able to pick up keywords, finding a certain app from a certain developer can be a challenge. Chomp aims to fix that by narrowing the search down to applications it thinks you may like, based on applications you've reviewed.
Similar to Apple's own Genius, Chomp takes searching for applications to buy back to basics, providing a wide and varied outlook on the general opinions of App Store customers. Once you've created an account which is both free and quickly achieved, the app is split up into 4 main sections. These include: Live app reviews, recommendations, add people and bookmarked apps.
Live app reviews is really the aspect which makes Chomp stand out. Sure, there are other social apps which display apps based on user aspects, take Apple's iTunes Genius service for example, which was introduced a few months back now. This takes applications you've bought from the App Store, scans them, and results a slurry of apps it thinks you'll like based off what apps you currently have and tend to use. Live app reviews in Chomp are just as they sound. Using clever jiggery-pokery, Chomp allows you to see a live stream of user iTunes App Store reviews, specific to each individual application. These are then filterable via three categories: Everyone, Following (the people you're currently following on Chomp,) and You (reviews you yourself have submitted). For each live review shown, the person's iTunes username, along with the app category and time the review was published to the store is displayed.
Tapping any one of these reviews brings you to a more detailed panel, showing the love to hate ratio of the reviews submitted by the users, and ability to find out more about the application, share, bookmark and of course buy or review the app yourself. From here you can also drill down further to reveal the user behind that certain app review, and follow them if you feel the urge.
The next section in Chomp is of course, Recommendations. Here, the app will delve into the reviews you've submitted to the store, and based off the mood of the review will determine what apps you like, dislike or down right hate with a vengeance. From here, Chomp will then display the 11 most popular apps if thinks you might like to checkout, shown in this 'Weather.app' esque card fashion. This section is also filterable in two ways: Price and Category. In Price you can narrow the results down from All to Paid and Free, and in Category you have the option to see All Recommendations or view them by Category. Don't like a recommendation? .. Hit the cross button on the top right of each card. Doing so will tell Chomp you're not interested with the app stating "We won't recommend you this app again" and offering to fetch the next app available. Now, while I found this system worked for the most part it was a little clunky. Mainly I think due to some of the recommendations not seeming to match what I'd previously reviewed. Ever get that feeling an app is blatantly guessing? .. Yeah. I'd like to see a future update rectify this, if possible.
Adding people to your 'Chomp' network is pretty painless. From the main menu tap 'Add People'. Here you can add people via Facebook, App Celebrities (a selection of influential people in the iPhone space .. albeit in Chomp's own opinion), Top Reviewers this Week (top users in Chomp's network), via Search or Recent Followers. Need to get a friend to join Chomp? You can also shoot an e-mail invite or invite via Facebook, straight from within app. The last section is of course Bookmarked Apps. This section of the app displays all the apps you've bookmarked on your travels. Got no bookmarks? Tap the 'Find apps you'll love button' to we whisked off into apposphere.
Summing up, while Chomp provides a real-time outlook on user feedback to a number of applications on the store, I found during use that the app was a little user intuitive. While the app does boost a similar UI to that of the official Facebook app, certain elements and sections of Chomp felt slightly clunky. For example searching for some well know App Store titles didn't seem to return the results expected, and alongside this, some of the apps button placements didn't seem to feel right for the type of function expected. With all that said though, Chomp is a welcomed addition to any app-addicts life, and definitely a unique idea, providing a true insight into what customers really think of apps on the iTunes App Store.