Gadgets and Apps – Welcome to the Future of Travel

Travel’s facelift for the 21st century has been radical and far-reaching. Skype and wifi have replaced the ritual of calling home by feeding endless foreign coins into a phone box, updating your Facebook status is the new postcard, and travellers are increasingly likely to use ‘augmented reality’ rather than have a guidebook tucked under their arm.

If anything, the pace of change continues to quicken – exciting, sometimes mind-boggling innovations are appearing all the time, meaning how we interact with places and people keeps on evolving. Below are some of our favourite gizmos and gadgets.

iLingual

A phrasebook like no other – download the iLingual app, take a photo of your mouth, the app then has over 400 phrases your mouth can ‘say’. Cue the odd sight of travellers holding their iphones in front of their actual mouths as the screen ‘talks’. Watch a video for this app – a demo is better than any written explanation. Only a few languages on offer at the moment, but it can’t be long until iPhone-bearded travellers are pow-wowing in Swahili on the Serengeti savannah.

Word Lens

Very Star Trek this one, another app for those struggling with mastering a foreign language. Word Lens only currently translates English-Spanish, but it’s a neat idea and could be genuinely useful. All you need to do is aim your iPhone camera at some printed text and Word Lens translates it in realtime. You need never struggle over a foreign language newspaper again (or at least not a Spanish language one).

Google goggles

Google goggles may just be the biggest game-changer of all. It’s still in its infancy, but the image recognition software is looking a pretty awesome and versatile travel tool. Here’s how it works: you’re strolling around a city, or a museum or gallery, you take a snap of something you want to know more about it, if Google recognises the subject of the image it will bring up search results. Cue instant expertise and a handy tool for appearing knowledgeable about, well, everything – from sourcing well-reviewed restaurants to enabling you to wax expertly on, say, pre-Incan Peruvian art. In other words, this may be the ultimate dating tool.

World Customs

We always give people who travel with us with plenty of tips and guidance about local cultures and etiquette in foreign countries, so this app is right up our street. Pick your country and then you’ll be presented with a load of helpful info on the destination – from law & order to religious etiquette to taboos. Great for sorting out your do’s from your don’ts.

And a couple of lower-tech gadgets we like…

Solar-powered LED light and water bottle cap

This one looks genuinely good doesn’t it? Mixing water and electricity perhaps isn’t intuitively clever, but the sealing means you’ve got nothing to worry about, and the light is supposed to be decent enough for a tent lantern. The idea of a solar-powered torch may lead cynics to snipe about artificial light being a little redundant if the sun is beating down, but ignore them – this has a good charge, is cheap, light and saves space, and is environmentally intelligent.

The daddy of all Swiss Army Knives

A supercharged multi-tool that looks like it’s on steroids. 87 tools on offer, including – at last! – a golf shoe spike wrench. All that’s missing is a flux capacitor. This one kilo treat fits snugly into your pocket, providing your pocket is 30cm long. A snip at nearly $1000AUD, plus postage, which presumably bumps the final price tag up a bit, not least because the instruction manual must run to a couple hundred pages.

Handy Shoppers’ Tool – Online Product Reviews

The internet is currently the hub of all useful and up-to-date information. Indeed, a lot of people spend time on the internet either working, dating, surfing, or shopping. The latter is far more prevalent due to the convenience and the ability to make great deals with affordable items. Indeed, you can make your purchase with just a click of the mouse, thus saving you on car fuel from having to drive to and from your house. Online shops are built for user-friendly navigation and it is a great time saver since you no longer have to wait in queue just to get your items paid. However, there are also a lot of downsides to buying items online such as the lack of opportunity to test or examine the product for you. Hence, online product reviews sites came in to provide assistance to online shoppers and increase the level of satisfaction when buying.

There are two useful tools available for the online shopper to make more effective online purchases: price comparison sites and online product reviews. Since the internet boomed in the late 90’s, there was an expansion of several businesses online such that they provide a centralized area for reaching their worldwide market. This has enabled consumers to conveniently enjoy online shopping and you can enjoy great deals. But for this purpose, focus must be given on the benefit of using online product reviews when buying.

You can find useful product reviews from trusted review sites that offer specialized information on certain niches. As with price comparison sites, online product reviews are intended mainly for educating the consumer about the best choice available to them. With a wide range of options and the accessibility of these products, it can be quite easy for one to be tempted to buying items they readily see. But the real question is, was it worth spending your money for? Online product reviews sites aim to avoid that question being answered with a “no”.

One must therefore begin the ability to enjoy its benefits by conducting a research on sites that offer reliable and honest reviews. You can access interactive pages that are highly comprehensible to make it easier to get the information one needs. The beauty about these product reviews is that they offer more than just price listings but an extensive amount of information to ensure that all aspects of the product are examined. Indeed, the aim here is to lay out the information – positive or negative – about a product’s features and functionality, with the objective of weighing whether the positive outnumber the negative.

As much as you’d like to invest on finding accurate reviews that provide significant information about a product you intend to buy, you must also provide that same amount of priority in finding these reliable sites. There are literally thousands of online product reviews sites on the internet, such that it is easy to fall victim to fake reviews. With these handy tools available, online shopping has gotten much easier without having to worry about the quality of the product you purchased upon arriving at your doorstep.

Local Mobile Advertising – Android Phones Vs iPhone and the Winner Is You!

You know the old saying “history repeats itself”? Well I can’t help but marvel at how the cool, hipster kid Apple is once again going to have his butt kicked by an open architecture bully. The only difference 20 years later is that it’s not the Mac that’s going to get stomped, it’s the iPhone and it’s not the PC doing the bullying, it’s Android.

Millenium Media’s most recent ad serving data shows that Android is already landing some good blows (they cite that android ad requests are up 1280% since January, 2010) against the iPhone and it won’t be long (I estimate 12-18 months) till the bully has routed the little fella and sent him home to mommy.

Why This is Important to You

Unlike the Mac vs. PC wars which did little to help you grow your business, the iPhone vs. Android war means more smartphones in the hands of consumers and that means that YOUR business will be the ultimate winner. It’s no secret that mobile marketing, searching and advertising are beginning to drive significant amounts of off-line business volume. This will only continue to grow as more smartphones combine with greater 3G and 4G coverage to deliver the power of mobile to the hands of your customers.

Whether it is consumers viewing your mobile optimized site or your paid advertising, more smartphones = more customers = more profits. IF you have taken the steps necessary to develop an effective mobile presence.

Still sitting on your duff and watching the mobile revolution pass you by? Well, that is NOT going to bring in new customers!