Finding a map of the New York Subway, London Underground or even the Paris Metro on your mobile handset is no big deal. But finding a platform guide could be just about one of the biggest leaps forward, and something far more useful for those who like speedy commutes.
This week, The New York Times took note of a new start-up in the city, Exit Strategy NYC. And instead of a map of the subway – one is already available for mobile of course – this one provides a more important feature, namely detailed information about 200 of the city’s subway stations. This includes all of those in Manhattan, as well as key stations in the other boroughs.
So what’s the point? Well, as the Times points out (and this reporter agrees), a sign of being a local is knowing where to stand when on the train and when to get off at the nearest exit you want.
The application is now available for $1.99 (less than the price of a current subway ride as a matter of fact) for the iPhone, Android handsets and even the Amazon Kindle. It is $2.99 for the BlackBerry – suggesting that the designers figured that handset was most popular with business users who might pay a bit more. There is no Palm version, but the Times reporter implied that the developers might look into it.
Interestingly, the apps’ makers developed this project in about 10 weeks of riding the rails. Similar projects also exist for Tokyo and Toronto, although it is hard to see how this would fit into the London model, as the Underground is often times a maze of subterranean tunnels. But the point is that in the world of travel apps, small teams looking to do something so often overlooked by larger entities can create these simple yet highly useful tools. Bravo to Exit Strategy NYC. This isn’t the sort of application that will make a ton of difference to most straphangers, but it is one that could shave seconds off your commute. For those working, or even just visiting the city that never sleeps, those seconds can add up quickly.
Mobile Coverage of the Tour de France
Many sporting events can be followed to some extent on mobile phones, but this month’s Tour de France is worth talking about for a couple of reasons. First, it is just one of a handful of three-week long sporting events with activities almost every day. Second, one of this year’s team sponsors is HTC, the maker of the Google Android powered G1 phone for T-Mobile, and developer of the European based Google Android Magic handset.
Mobile phones and the Tour de France have some history – and some of it a bit colorful as well. Previously, Germany’s T-Mobile sponsored a team, which last competed two years ago. And it was during the 2007 event that the carrier tried to go all out with coverage and updates available to subscribers. This was of course a year ahead of China Mobile’s attempts to bring the Beijing Olympics to the masses.