The world of travel is in transition. Guidebooks aren’t quite a thing of the past, but this week the Associated Press highlighted a new technology that could possibly change the way we use the paperbound sources of information. This is a new technology called QR (Quick Response) codes, which is already taking off in Japan. Basically, this is a barcode that can be scanned by a smartphone camera on a page that then can provide information such as a map to the destination. So if you’re traveling in London and use a new guidebook that utilizes this technology, you could snap a photo of the QR code and get destinations to a location, and information on other nearby businesses and points of interest.
The AP also points out that this technology is being used in a new coffee-table book, “Earthbound A Rough Guide to the World in Pictures,” where using the QR offers insights from the photographer.
Another technology that’s been getting buzz is called augmented reality, where users look at the world on their mobile using the phone’s camera while data is layered on top of the actual image. Think Terminator glasses. For example, it could overlay an image of a store-filled street with reviews from Yelp. This technology uses GPS, the camera, and data pulled from the cloud. This technology is just now catching on, but don’t be surprised if you’re holding your phone up on your next trip gazing down the street as you get prices for each hotel on the screen.
So is this fancy new technology the end of the guidebook? Not likely… at least not yet. For now, bring it along because frankly there is nothing like having a guidebook to page through each night, then in the morning you can click and go.
Boingo Wireless Mobile App Comes to BlackBerry
This week Boingo Wireless announced that it has released its popular app for BlackBerry smartphones, which allows users to get connected to Boingo’s mobile service for high speed Wi-Fi access at hotspots throughout the world. Monthly fees are $7.95, but for those who travel a lot this is small price to pay for reliable Internet access, as Boingo currently has the world’s largest network of mobile hotspots.
“Boingo Mobile is about ease of use and a low-cost, high-speed alternative to cellular data,” said Jonathan Mendelson, general manager of mobile and product management. “BlackBerry users can seamlessly switch to a Boingo Wi-Fi connection when they’re online using data-intensive applications.”
The app is available for free, and works with Curve 8900/8320 and Bold 9000 handsets with the promise of being available to other BlackBerry models in the near future.
Mobile App of the Week:
iTranslate – For those who have to travel abroad a lot, this free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is like having your own universal translator. It can help you tackle 42 languages, including the usual French and German, plus more diverse languages such as Finnish, Slovak and Tagalog, and even traditional and simplified Chinese.
Check back every Wednesday for the latest from the world of mobile travel apps.