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Though it may not seem (or feel like it from the weather), we’re already into a new quarter for 2013, which means it’s time to refresh our quarterly app guides! I’m starting this series off with the iPhone, and if you haven’t viewed our prior suggestions, you can catch up here and here. If you’re looking to use your phone as a crutch during your summer vacation planning, you’ll want to make sure the programs below are installed. Read more
For those who frequently find themselves landing in foreign locales, you’ll probably understand just how tough it can be to stay in touch with loved ones back home. For one, there’s the time difference. But also, mobile providers simply don’t make it easy (nor affordable) to stay connected once you’re on international lands. Thankfully, the advent of the smartphone is making it a little easier to stay in touch regardless of where you are, but it’s not exactly cut and dry. To that end, I’ve collected a list of my three top tips for messaging apps that can save you a bundle on texting fees – both at home and abroad. Read more
In many ways, smartphones have created a work environment where employees have a tough time completely disconnecting. But in many other ways, these connected products have made our lives far easier, and far more organized. One of the longstanding dreads for those who routinely travel for business is the art of filing expenses. Thankfully, I’ve got a few recommended apps that can make the process far easier.
Planning a trip can be daunting. In fact, many would-be travelers are so put off by the notion of actually planning a trip, that they simply never get around to doing it. Figuring out where to start is consistently an issue for those who haven’t dabbled in trip planning and logistics before, but the new realm of technology is making it a lot easier. Below, I’ll share with you three pieces of (free!) software that make planning a journey a cinch. Read more
Windows Phone may be the new kid on the mobile block (until BlackBerry 10 launches later this month), but it’s quickly shaping up to be a reliable platform for travelers. The user interface is one of the most beautiful out there, and a number of developers are embracing the new landscape to produce some incredible programs. Here are a few can’t-miss downloads for travelers from the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Last quarter, we recommended that owners of Lumia devices – Windows Phone handsets made exclusively by Nokia – download a suite of top-tier navigation tools. Since then, Windows Phone 8 has shipped, and with it has come one hugely important change: the Nokia mapping suite can now be downloaded and used across all Windows Phone 8 products, not just the ones produced by Nokia. This means that WP8 phones from HTC and Samsung can now enjoy Nokia Maps, Drive, and Transport. Drive supports offline turn-by-turn navigation, while Maps and Transport can help you get from Point A to Point B, even via mass transit options.
Next, no avid flyer should be without FlightAware. While Flight+ works wonders for those with an iPhone, this app is an excellent alternative for users of the Windows Phone platform. It’s free, astonishingly, and provides real-time tracking of commercial flights worldwide (and private flights within the U.S. and Canada). You can search by aircraft registration, route, airline flight number, city pair, or airport code, and even if you’re not checking up on your upcoming travels, it’s a pretty awesome way to kill time.
It comes recommended on other platforms as well, but WorldMate‘s Windows Phone app is without question its most elegant. For those unfamiliar with the service, it’s effectively a rival to TripIt, but it tends to handle multiple flight confirmation numbers a bit better, and generally rings up a bit cheaper for the Pro level of service. Even for those who use the free services, you’ll be able to keep track of all of your forthcoming itineraries, including flights, hotels, rental cars, train reservations, and more.
It’s the start of a new year, which is an ideal time to take a look at the phone in your pocket and reconsider your app collection – particularly for travel, as you plan for all of your 2013 trips. If you’re still looking for ways to use your new (or old) Android phone or tablet to make your vacations more organized, look no further.
Built and maintained by Google’s own Niantic Labs department, Field Trip is without question one of the best travel-related Android apps to ever surface. And best of all, it’s completely free. Designed for the argonaut in all of us, this app can run in the background and then notify you when you’re in the vicinity of something interesting. It uses your current position and crosses that with its vast database of points of interest, acting as a “guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you.” You can use it in a growing number of cities, or enable the random mode for a bit of spontaneity. Even if you aren’t planning to leave your hometown for some time to come, give this one a download – it may lead you to find a few local places of note that you hadn’t seen before. Read more
If you recently picked up an iPhone 5, you may be looking for a new spate of travel apps to fill that extra row of icon space there at the bottom. But, even if you’re still using an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system has given app developers a new incentive to polish up their programs and issue updates in support of the latest and greatest. Despite Apple leaving city dwellers who rely on mass transit out in the cold with the new Maps application, third-party developers have been working hard to help the travelers who feel left out.
If the new TomTom-based Maps application in iOS 6 just isn’t passing muster, Navigon North America is a worthwhile purchase. Yes, it’s $50, but it’s well worth it for avid travelers. The backend uses Garmin maps, which have historically been superior to those offered by TomTom. The app has already been updated to take advantage of the iPhone 5′s larger display and the new code in iOS 6. Best of all, the company has included public transportation routing as a $2.99 in-app upgrade (which Apple’s own Maps app lacks entirely), and it features onboard maps that allow route calculations even in areas where cell coverage fades. Additional premium features include comprehensive lane guidance, speed limit and safety camera warnings, exit services, parking info, a trip planner, and multi-route display. It genuinely feels like a full-featured navigation device, but right on a phone that you’re already carrying. Plus, all future map updates are free once you buy the app once. (It’s worth noting that Navigon offers other routing apps that cover many regions of the globe for those who aren’t located in North America.) Read more
Apple’s new Maps app has taken a ton of heat in recent days, and rightfully so. The company ousted Google in favor of a homegrown replacement that relies on data from Yelp and TomTom, and the general consensus is that the newer version leaves a lot to be desired compared to the prior one. That aside, the iPhone 5 (and iOS 6, which is also available for free on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S) does have a few features that should tickle the fancy of travelers.
For starters, iOS 6 brings an extra level of intelligence to Siri. As you’ve probably seen in the television commercials, Siri is the integrated voice recognition platform on the iPhone that helps users answer questions, make reminders, and add calendar appointments. But, with the new operating system, Siri is capable of doing more, and most of that benefits those who are routinely on the move. Due to Siri’s newfound integration with Apple’s Maps app, you’ll be able to trigger Siri and say things like, “Take me home,” or, “Show me how to get to a nearby Starbucks.” From there, Siri will be able to launch Maps on her own and start turn-by-turn guidance. iOS 6 is the first version of the iPhone operating system where users have been able to initiate turn-by-turn guidance using just their voice, and it works exceptionally well in testing. Read more
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