Kayak.com has long been a premiere destination for travel services on the Internet. Unlike some sites, Kayak is not a travel service in itself but rather an aggregator of other services on the Internet. Kayak provides the capability to search through other offerings through one, simple interface. The Kayak First Class Flight and Hotel Search application for the iPhone brings the same great web site functionality to one great app. It is a one stop shopping experience if you’re travelling anywhere in the world.
The Kayak application is divided into nine categories: Flights, Hotels, Cars, Trips, Buzz, Airlines, Feedback, Preferences, and Help/FAQ. The core of the application are in the Flights, Hotels, Cars, Trips, and Buzz areas. Searching for a flight, hotel, or car is quick and easy through a very intuitive interface. Searches are fully featured and I easily found items that met my criteria without much fuss or hassle. Travelers, would-be travelers, and those stuck frantically looking for a flight in an airport will appreciate how quickly the interface allows you to hone in on what you’re looking for.
Also included in the application are two of Kayak.com’s more powerful features, Trips and Buzz. The Trips functionality gives the user an interface for centralizing all aspects of the their trip. Itineraries, travel plans, and notes about your trip can be set up through Kayak.com and accessed through the application. Flight delays and statuses can be also be forwarded to your phone through SMS or e-mail. The Buzz functionality provides the user with the best upcoming flight prices between two points and trending for the next 30 days. Useful information for planning a trip.
Additional application areas include the Airlines screen which lists the phone number and web site of all major airlines, the Feedback screen which allows the user to provide Kayak feedback on their application, the Preferences screen which allows you to set application preferences, a help screen in the Help/FAQ screen. If you’re not flying in or to North America, you might want to check out the Preferences screen. Kayak.com is selected as the default Kayak site and all prices are listed in US dollars. On the Preferences screen you can change the Kayak site to one of the many worldwide sites and the currency to one of the major world dollars. Booking through a local site may save you a few dollars and viewing listings in your native currency can certainly save you the hassle of working out exchange values when booking.
All in all, the Kayak First Class Flight and Hotel Search application is a well thought out and useful application. The interface is intuitive, it provides all of the functions I would expect in a travel aggregator and search application, and has a few added extras that differentiate it from other applications. The only major issue I found with the application was in the actual booking of a flight, hotel, or car. The application itself does not provide a booking interface. Instead, the user must navigate the Kayak.com web site in Safari or by calling. I like mobile Safari as well as anyone who uses an iPhone but complex forms can be a bit hard to navigate on the small iPhone screen. It seems to me that if Kayak is going to take the time to create a great app for finding and planning travel they would add booking functionality as well. This would be a welcome addition to an already great app.
The Kayak iPhone application comes in two versions; the Flight and Hotel Search free version and the First Class Flight and Hotel Search. Pay the $1.99 to receive the full version of the application. It is well worth it.
The Not So Good
Reviewed by: Erin Peterson
Price: $1.99 as of 11 Jan (iTunes Store)
Version reviewed: 2.1.1
Size: 4.1 MB
Don’t just see the sights, learn something about them too.
‘Visit Paris’ is the first application to let you explore Paris through videos on an iPhone or I Pod Touch. Relive in pictures the building of Notre Dame cathedral, or the last days of doomed Queen Marie Antoinette. The new price allows you, as a special offer, to access the application’s 50 videos until the end of the year.
Combining some of the iPhone’s most prominent features is Visit Paris which has a video library of tourist attractions on a map of Paris and adds GPS to the mix. This is designed to let you walk around the city of love, spot an attraction and watch a video about it before venturing further if interest grabs you. Thankfully you don’t have to be in Paris to do this as should the GPS function find you outside of Paris when you run the app it will, rather oddly, ask you if you want to visit from a distance. The reason I find this odd would be the fact it’s a yes/no question and should you tap no it will simply quit to the springboard, which raises the question why would you want to run the app if you didn’t want to visit from a distance?
Keep in mind, those looking to save cash on roaming charges, while videos are downloadable from just about anywhere but keeping your iPhone in airplane mode as you walk around the streets of “pari” will disable GPS. While nothing to do with the developer, this knowledge isn’t as common as you’d think and a message when running the app with airplane mode turned on couldn’t have hurt rather than leave the user scratching their head.
A lot of thought has been put into the interface, as you’d expect from the platform but this goes a step further with some free thinking away from your standard fare. You have 1 screen divided into 3, at the top is part of the map of Paris (stored locally) towards the bottom is a list of available videos and between them is a search box letting you filter the video library in the same way as you would your address book. Tapping the map shifts the video library down and off the screen and tapping the search box would bring the keyboard up, however to bring the library/search up from the map view requires a tap of the Eiffel tower button in the bottom left corner.
Content here is king and with 49 videos that vary between 15-30 seconds and 5 minutes I certainly want to see more. Going more in depth into larger places like the Louvre, maybe even proper tours using the same GPS, Map and Media combo. I would also love to see a ‘pin where I’m staying feature’ so you could plan your own tour and find your way back again should you get lost, something that’s easily done in the massive city of Paris.
While this app is a great idea and a benefit to those exploring Paris I feel there is so much more potential to be fulfilled than what is already here.
The Not So Good
Reviewed by: @TylerDurdan
Price: $1.99 (free version available) as of Jan 07, 2010 (iTunes Store Link)
Version reviewed: 1.6
Size: 5.9 MB
Seller: Les Routes du Reve
Get yourself a cab wherever you find or lose yourself
cab4me enables you to call a cab to any location worldwide. You do not need to know the number of the local cab company. We help you to find local companies. You can rate them and help other users by submitting missing companies.
Simply select the pickup location on a map and then switch to the call screen to get a list of local companies. If you have companies you need to call more often, just store them as a favorite and it will be available offline.
With a single click on the phone number, the call is initiated and you can place your order. Except for the standard phone call costs, no additional charges!
Injecting just a little more Web 2.0 into your iPhone is Cab4Me, an application that combines GPS functionality with their own online database of Taxi firms and a web search to fall back on, just in case you find yourself in an area not covered by their data. The database here is the star of the show, when a cab company appears on your iPhone you will find rating that other users have given the company and their attributes, such as payment methods, types of vehicles available to hire and services available . All nicely presented with good looking icons and a link to their website (if available).
All cab entries regardless of source you will see a large green button to let you quickly make a call, options to make it a favorite. While making excellent use of GPS this application will also cover you while planning on going somewhere with a dedicated search function that lets you enter the first few lines of an address or just a city name and will quickly return results from both the web and the database letting you organize your trip with ease or help out a friend in need but unless he or she was next to you, you’d have to enter the number in manually as there is no support for copying.
Other tabs available are Favorites which presents the cab companies you tagged and lets you view their information even if you don’t have a data connection, Recent Called which tells you which companies you previously called and Help which simply displays the key to the icons used.
I’ve also noticed that some of the more fully featured companies have icons that run over the edge of the screen which is rather a sad taint on this generally excellent application.
The Not So Good
Reviewed by: TylerDurdan
cab4me – Get a Taxi. Anywhere. Sceenshots
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A well thought out app for all your currency converting needs
CurCon – Currency Converter
CurCon is very fast and easy to use, offering 107 currencies. That means you can travel with confidence to over 170 countries and regions!
You need speed when you’re on the go, so CurCon features a tailor-made keyboard to optimize one-handed typing.
Downloading new rates is only a click away!
Thanks to your support and feedback, CurCon is now more powerful than ever, offering three different layouts for all your conversion needs:
Classic Layout: Select your currencies by scrolling a wheel. Super simple and super fast!
Simple Layout: Select your currencies from a detailed, search able list. Our intuitive search engine knows exactly what you’re looking for by country, code, name or your most used currencies.
Multi-Convert: Our most powerful layout ever! Convert between several currencies at the same time.
With CurCon, the following currencies are at your finger tips:
AED, AMD, ANG, ARS, AUD, BDT, BGN, BHD, BIF, BND, BOB, BRL, BSP, BTN, BYR, BZD, CAD, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CZK, DKK, DOP, EEK, EGP, ETB, EUR, FJD, GBP, GHS, GIP, GTQ, GYD, HKD, HNL, HRK, HTG, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, IRR, ISK, JMD, JPY, KES, KGS, KHR, KMF, KRW, KWD, KZT, LBP, LKR, LSL, LTL, LVL, MAD, MDL, MMK, MNT, MOP, MUR, MWK, MXN, MYR, NIO, NOK, NPR, NZD, OMR, PAB, PEN, PHP, PKR, PLN, PYG, QAR, RON, RSD, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, SYP, SZL, THB, TJS, TMT, TND, TRY, TTD, TWD, TZS, UAH, UGX, USD, UZS, VEF, VND, ZAR, ZMK, ZWR
This Application solves perhaps the biggest problem with currency converters for Apple’s touch platform, Which interface to use. Having used my fair share of unit converters I know this is very important because get it wrong and you leave the user infuriated with an inefficient and difficult application and potentially out of pocket too which is bad when your applications now connect with people on a closer level than say a computer. CurCon gives you a choice of 3 interfaces: Classic scrolling wheel (slot machine style), Simple two option layout and multi currency layout all of which suit a spectrum of users from visitor to pastures new right up to corporate tycoon working in multiple currencies, all in one application.
What is consistent through the interfaces is a good keypad tailored for single handed use and tailored it is as it works very well but perhaps could do with an option for left handed as the go and backspace buttons are on the right of the screen. My favourite thing about this app is the currency list, appearing in the simple and multi layouts, which very well thought out with a search box at the top that filters through entries and sorting options at the bottom to change the order of the extensive list by currency name, code and last used. These features balance out the large amount of information you need to work through which is where many other apps have gone wrong but for the sake of completeness I would also like to see an address book style index, reflecting the left handed option if possible.
Graphics as a whole is generally fine but with the bar set so high by other apps I can recommend further polish.
My only gripe other than the fact I managed to make it crash from fiddling around with it too fast, is that I can’t find the source of where the application downloads it’s rates which could be a problem for professionals needing something specific. Could a selectable source be in the pipeline? I hope so.
The Not so Good
Touch Reviewer: TylerDurdan