June 26, 2008

Travel Channel is Mobile Friendly w/ new App

Travel Channel GO has announced a new mobile application available to selected smartphones. While you can still visit Go.TravelChannel.com on your mobile browser, the application may be better suited for a better and more robust mobile experience. iPhone users can still count on the special web site developed for mobile Safari, the rest of us JAVA enabled handsets (Nokia & BlackBerry) should go through the said application.

Dubbed as the "personal radar" for individuals, Travel Channel GO is intended to provide all of its exclusive content to your finger tips. Its an array of mobile/local search portal for all of your traveling needs (ie. directions, map and recommendations). The application is even suppose to work with devices with integrated GPS to help identify your location. To learn more about this, you can stop by the Travel Channel blog here.

I tested this application with my new BlackBerry 8830. The EV-DO download is amazingly fast and installation was pretty quick. The application design is sharp and pleasing on the eyes. UI is simple and intuitive using the trackball (left/right for menu icons, up/down for sub-menu icons). A lot of effort has been put behind this application and I really appreciate the detail. For example, in the settings, you can use it to turn on/off built-in GPS or when you type in the Zip codes, you don't need to press-alt button for numbers to show up.

Kudos to the Travel Channel GO for making its content absolutely friendly to the mobile community at free of charge; I would recommend anyone traveling trying out this service, its free!


Chris Ackermann said...

Hi Andy,

We're pleased to hear that you've had a great first experience with Travel Channel GO - we're always looking for ways to make the service more useful for travelers everywhere, so we'd love to hear any feedback that you and your readers have as you use the service!

Chris Ackermann
Travel Channel Media

Don said...

My Review of Travel Channel GO.
- Very detailed list and wide range of items on the Explore button.
- I like how the food selections in places to eat are broken out in many types and showed pretty much every local business, no matter how small.
- "Show nearest on map" is a great function to quickly narrow down the closest target.
- "Free WiFi" list is complete with business name, however, it's displayed on a non-scalable map, and numbering doesn't match list, although I assumed #1 on the map was the first on the list.
- Maps are not resizable like Google Maps, and only sometimes show the business, not me and the business so I know where to go.
- The Directions page was quick, but it was one-third directions, two-thirds commercial from Walgreens or other sponsors. Hard to believe the Travel Channel needs to subsidize this project with a sponsor. "Information provided by Citysearch". Get rid of the 2 page commercials, please.
- Once I connected to my home wifi and did a find-me by "internet connection", it correctly found my location. However, earlier in the day while out and about, I got either Los Angeles, Sunnyvale, or Costa Mesa CA, although I was well connected to various wifi's, including an Apple Store.
- Checked "Business Travel" then ATM's, and it showed 6 in my area. However, it was a generic label of "ATM" on the list, and they were numbered on the map. No way to match the list with the map unless each is checked.
- Dots on the map should be linked to what it is. So when I tap on green dot 1, it should take me to that item listing.
- Directions on the map should have a hilighted trail showing where to go that matches directions. As shown, the map is too small with only a fraction of street names.
- "Bus Stations" I thought would show bus stops and routes, but listed taxi's, limo's, tour buses, charters, etc. Those are good for those functions, but please add a city bus route button with maps for the bus stops and timetables.

This app has great potential, but needs some serious fine-tuning. I look forward to using it regularly when it's tightened up.

andy said...

Don, good review! I didn't get to spend as much time on it, but all those are valid points. I would be interested in knowing what smartphone you used to for this review.