More and more of the travel industry is going mobile to keep up with passenger demands and lifestyle changes. The UN revealed that at present there are more than 5 billion cellphone subscribers around the world and, according to Google’s projections, eight per cent of those users will be booking travel services through their phones by 2012.
Below is a list of a few mobile apps that have picked up on the growing trend and step in to make the most troublesome, hassling and complex parts of travel slightly easier.
DOCUMENTS TO GO: Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are bought together in this app to allow users to view, edit and create files, which can then be synced with your desktop at home or the office. The app also recognises PDF files.
Gadgets: iPhone, BlackBerry and Android
Price: US$9.99 for iPhone and iPad / US$14.99 for BlackBerry and Android
GATEGURU: This app integrates information from your email confirmations in order to keep you updated about your flight’s status. It also has a listing of
security wait times (the bane of any traveller), airport maps for 120 facilities and information on services and amenities at each airport, completed with ratings by other users. It also incorporates social media to enable users to share airport experiences on Facebook, Twitter and foursquare.
Gadgets: iPhone and Android
GOOGLE TRANSLATE: Forget those useless pocket phrase books, Google Translate enables direct translations between more than 50 languages around the world. Furthermore, not only does the app translate text, it also translate spoken commands in 15 languages and users can play the translated words aloud like a simultaneous interpreter. Google Translate also works for characters of non-Latin based languages, such as Chinese and Japanese, and their phonetic versions, such as Pinyin.
Gadgets: iPhone, iPad and Android
IM+ TALK: IM+ Talk provides an alternative to downloading a separate app for each messaging system. This app brings together all instant messaging and VoIp services such as Skype, MSN and Google Talk.
Gadgets: iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android
Price: US$4.99 for iPhone and iPad / US$14.99 for BlackBerry / US$10 for Android
TRIPIT: This is an app that organises your itineraries and travel details all into one place. Upon receiving your email confirmation, you simply have to forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org, which recognises bookings from airlines, hotels, restaurants, concerts and even cruises. All your trips are then arranged chronologically and synched with your calendar.
Gadgets: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry
All apps can be downloaded from Apple iTunes, Android Market and BlackBerry App World.
Stay tuned for a longer, more extensive list of essential apps due to appear in the November issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.