While the mobile operating system wars are heating up, another battle is brewing between the search engines, and the winner might just be anyone who needs to access the Internet whilst on the go. It was announced this week that Yahoo! is partnering with the Times Square Alliance in New York City to provide free Wi-Fi service to laptop and smartphone users. With more than 500,000 people trekking through the multi-block radius that is known as the center of the universe, this is a lot of Wi-Fi, but apparently Yahoo! is up to the task.
The service went online this week and will be available for at least a year. Users can activate the service, which will take them to Yahoo!’s mobile homepage (http://m.yahoo.com), where users can access content and other services.
Not to be outdone, Google has also announced that it will provide free Wi-Fi through January 15 at 48 airports around the country, as well as on Virgin American flights. The holiday giving has come early from these Internet giants, but let’s hope they extend the giving for a long time to come.
T-Mobile Brings Mobile Access to Laptops
If you can’t get to Times Square, and aren’t always flying, there are other ways to get connected to the Internet from your laptop while on the go. Of course, there are several options for anywhere mobile access, and now mobile carrier T-Mobile has a new solution that customers might want to give a try.
This is T-Mobile webConnect Jet, a USB option that is as simple as plug and surf. This USB dongle provides connectivity to T-Mobile’s high-speed 3G network, which is now available in more than 240 cities across the United States, plus a Wi-Fi option for use in T-Mobile HotSpot locations nationwide. This dongle is compatible with both PC and Mac laptops, and it even features T-Mobile webConnect Manager software to offer easy access to the Web. The Jet also acts as a back-up drive (just be careful not to lose it), and can accommodate up to 8GB of data.
Low-Cost International Calling Is the Nimbuzz
Mobile operator Nimbuzz is looking to help you cut down on the cost of your international calls. The service provider recently launced NimbuzzOut, which can be used with its free-to-download mobile app that provide free VOIP and SIP calls, as well as IM aggregation. Customers can purchase NimbuzzOut Credits and these can be used to save up to 95 percent on the cost of traditional international mobile calls.
As with other VOIP services, calls between users are free across its own network, and typically costs far less than landline or mobile calls when direct dialing a number. Nimbuzz is launching this as a pay as you go service, where users can buy bundles of credits in 10, 20 and 40 euro or dollar amounts. This could give established VOIP services, such as Skype a run for their money. NimbuzzOut will be available later this year for Symbian handsets as well as the iPhone.
Mobile App of the Week: Concur Mobile
Already a must-have for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users, the Concur Mobile app has come to the iPhone and iPod touch this week, and is available for free download from the Apple App Store. This is an extension to the Concur Travel & Expense software, which can let users keep track of their itineraries, manage their business travel transaction, and even be used to approve expense reports while on the road. So now no one has any excuses for not getting in, or approving, those expense reports!
Check back every Wednesday for the latest from the world of mobile travel.