On the whole, it feels like Pocket Express is trying to spread itself too wide. All of the big bases are covered, but the only real common ground between any of them is in mapping. The Handmark guys realize that LBS is huge, and if it can become the focal point for their future channels, they’ll have something good going. A broad range of simple services clustered around LBS would be damned handy. As is, it’s hard to tie in stocks and sports scores with LBS.
There’s also the matter of selection. Right now, if you don’t have any interest in stocks, sports, or weather (since you’ve got it on your BlackBerry’s front screen anyway), a third of Pocket Express’ functionality goes right out the window. As Handmark expands the product, however, this will change. The more these basic features are included prepackaged with a device, the more pressure is going to be on Handmark to bust out new content. To that end, they are branching into original content delivery with a dedicated Handmark sports commentator, which is a good way of avoiding being quickly out-done by free services like Google.
Speaking of which, Travel, News, Sports and Weather are available on the free version of Pocket Express, which are all handy to have, and like the site says, “You can’t beat the value of free”. The Pocket Express Elite subscription gives you a slew of extra channels, for which you’re paying $9.99/month or $99.90/year. If you have a need for more than two of Pocket Express’ functions on a regular yet casual basis, $9.99/month is a pittance, but if you’re heavy-duty on a particular niche, you’re better off going with a single dedicated solution from somewhere else. The future’s bright for Pocket Express, but right now the channels need to be more tightly linked in order for their versatility to come to bear. With a beefy half point coming from MobileCierge alone, Handmark’s Pocket Express gets 3 out of 5.
If this sounds like the thing for you, you can pick up a discounted one-year Pocket Express subscription for $69.99 right over here.