The iPhone app FastMall brings a new level of interactivity and usability to the mall maps genre of apps by combining several features into one app and even introducing some of its own innovations.
Upon launching the app, you can let it pinpoint your location and start searching for malls near you. Once you have traveled to the mall, you can use the “Parking” feature to mark your location via GPS and record a voice note of your location, so you can remember where you parked.
Once inside the mall, it can help you find what you’re looking for through its map of the mall. Unlike other mall map apps which present a facsimile of the mall’s own printed map with store names on the map itself, FastMall presents a blank map with only entrances, elevator, and escalator locations marked.
To actually find a location, you can click on icons representing food, stores, or restrooms to see a list of those locations, or you can do a search. Once you have selected the place that you’d like to go to, you will see it pinpointed on the map. FastMall goes further by offering directions on how to get there. It does this without a GPS or wireless signal. This is definitely useful for your first visit to a mall.
The other way to find a store is to scan a product barcode. It will then attempt to locate the stores that carry that item. It’s a nice feature, but like other barcode apps, its product database is not extensive enough to be universally useful. It does seem to track entertainment products well though.
It also has a “Deals” section that lists promotions available at your selected mall. At present, the deals are a bit underwhelming, and not all promotions at all stores are listed. The function has potential though, but it will require a better implementation to catch on with consumers.
Other nonuseful functions it has are “Community!” and “Reviews.” Currently, both functions show information for all malls and are not limited to the mall you are interested in.
Additionally, FastMall still doesn’t have maps for many of the smaller malls and even the maps that it does have are not updated in a very timely manner.
Overall though, FastMall is one of the more useful shopping apps. The developers have clearly put considerable effort into it, but its implementation is a bit sloppy and unpolished in some areas. It’s still a great value, however, considering that it is free.