Kayak drops Blackberry support in favor of iPhone and Android

kayakIf we didn’t already think the death knell for Blackberry had begun, here’s yet another sign that the once leading phone platform, at least where it comes to consumer travel apps, is well on its way to becoming outdated.

Kayak has revealed that it dropped support for its BlackBerry app, NextWeb reported.


“When we started KAYAK in 2004, we issued BlackBerries to the entire engineering team so we could communicate instantly 24/7,” stated a memo from the Kayak team. “Today we’ve all switched, and it seems our users are doing the same. Our audience of BlackBerry users has been declining precipitously, and we can’t justify the cost any longer.”

Users won’t find any updates for the app, but it will still exist in its present form. Users can also access the mobile version of the Kayak site from their browser.


Paul English, Kayak co-founder and CEO, told Tnooz last month that the brand, which has more than 10 million app downloads, has discovered an even further differentiation between platform users, namely that while both iPhone and Android users download the app, iPhone users are the ones most likely to buy online.

This may be a demographic shift. A user survey last summer also suggested that iPhone users are bigger travelers, and thus a more likely fit for the Kayak demographic.

The survey found that Android users are “36% more likely to not remember their last vacation,” and that iPhone/iOS users are 15% more likely to have taken a vacation in the last six months, and were 55% more likely to have used their frequent flyer miles to have taken several free rewards flights during 2011.

What phone do you use?

Futuristic travel more down to earth, collaborative says study

futuristic travelThoughts of futuristic travel often bring images of commercial low-earth orbit flights, man on Mars or rediscovering the Moon. A new study highlights real-world programs and technology being developed right now that is much more common, affecting us all.

By 2020, all airports will be paperless and bags will be electronically tagged, according to the From Chaos to Collaboration report released this week by Amadeus, a leading provider of IT solutions to the travel and tourism industry Just eight years from now, the report says, travelers will be using fingerprint boarding passes and eye-scanning passports.

“We wanted to avoid making techno-centric assumptions about the future of travel – and painting a picture of flying cars and intelligent robots in a world that is otherwise unchanged from today,” Andrew Curry, director and co-author The Futures Company told Travelmole.
New technological innovation should take the stress out of travel, leaving passengers with nothing to remember and the ability to track the location of luggage at any time. Using fingerprints to check in is hoped to reduce or eliminate the lengthy queues and delays in manual check-in.

In the not too distant future, travelers will cruise through customs and immigration with just a scan of their retina…or a chip implanted in their arm.

“If you talk to a technologist they will tell you it’s perfectly possible to have a chip in your arm, or use facial recognition technology and walk on to a plane or a vehicle without checking in,” Tim Jones, a technology consultant, said in the report. “But it seems as if the regulators or border- control staff are intent on adding extra layers of security, rather than removing them.”

Coming up too, passengers will be able to use virtual tour guides to visit sites of interest through the same principles as gaming on smart phones and computers.

It’s all about harnessing technology to make travel in the future simpler and more efficient, “shifting focus from satisfying the needs and wants of individual travelers to providing the environment for networks and flows of travelers as a group to move and flourish” says the report.

“We hope that this study will challenge, provoke and stimulate thinking around how we will all be traveling in the future” added Curry.

Flickr photo by timo_w2s


Huff/Post 50 - Technology

Gadling Gift Guide: Tech for Travel

Tech Gift Guide: Samsung 9 laptopTravel has certainly changed in the last decade and most of us would probably agree that those changes haven’t always been for the best. Fortunately, technology has been one of the bright spots over the past few years however, and we now have a plethora of options for entertainment, staying connected, and getting work done while on the go. Here are a few great gift ideas for the techie traveler on your list this holiday season.

Laptops
More and more of us are traveling with computers these days, even if we don’t always need them to do work. A laptop keeps us connected while on the go, allows to play games, watch movies, upload photos, and so much more. With that in mind, here are three great options for travel.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1
This powerful and rugged laptop is perfect for adventure travelers heading to remote destinations. Built on a carbon fiber frame and packing a water resistant keyboard, the X1 is designed to take a beating and still keep working. It also happens to be one of the thinnest ThinkPad’s ever built and weighs in at just 3.7 pounds, which is amazingly light for a ruggedized laptop. The battery lasts a solid 5.5 hours and can be recharged to 80% of its power in just 30 minutes. ($1467)

Samsung Series 9
If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish than the ThinkPad X1, without compromising durability, then look no further than the Series 9 from Samsung. It’s Duralumin case is built from the same materials as modern aircraft, which makes it strong, yet light and flexible. This ultra-thin notebook is just .6 inches thick and weighs in at a mere 2.9 pounds, which makes it a lightweight and powerful travel companion for those extended trips abroad. The 7 hour battery life will be appreciated on long flights as well. ($1550)

Asus Zenbook UX21
One of the first of a new line of laptops dubbed “ultrabooks,” the Zenbook UX21 from Asus is a great option for individuals who like to travel light. This diminutive notebook weighs just 2.4 pounds and is razor thin, allowing it to slip inside your carry-on with ease. The Zenbook offers 5 hours of battery life, features a 128GB solid state drive, and premium sound for listening to music and movies while on the go. It also packs a pleasant price tag, with Amazon offering it up for just $966.

Logitech Ultimate Ears 600vi headset
MP3 players have made possible to take our entire collection of music with us when we travel, but you’ll need a great pair of headphones to get the best sound possible. We were suitably impressed with the Ultimate Ears 600vi ear buds when we reviewed them a few weeks back, awarding them high marks for both comfort and sound quality. The integrated microphone, volume, and track controls work great as well, and the included hard carrying is more than appreciated when throwing them in your pack before you go. ($95)

Travelers looking for a more traditional set of headphones that are both super-comfortable and noise isolating, will want to investigate the Bose QuietComfort 15. While pricier than the Ultimate Ears, they also set the standard for sound quality on a mobile device. ($300)

Want to share your music with friends? Then check-out the iHome iHM79 portable speakers. They feature rechargeable batteries and great sound, in a tiny package. ($42)Amazon Kindle E-Reader
Sure, the Amazon Fire is the new hotness (pun intended!), but it is tough to beat the original Kindle, especially at it’s new $79 price point. The device’s e-ink display is perfect for reading in nearly all conditions and the device has outstanding battery life that is measured in days, not hours. The Kindle has done for books what MP3 players did for music – allow us to bring our entire library with us when we go, and it is still a great gift for the tech obsessed traveler on your list. ($79)

Tech Gift Guide: Nikon 1 J1 CameraNikon 1 V1 Camera
Digital cameras have revolutionized the way we capture photos and video from our travels, and Nikon has one of the best new options for travelers this year. The Nikon 1 is the company’s first foray into the micro 4/3 category, which offers up a compact and lightweight body, as well as a line of interchangeable lenses. Smaller than a DSLR, but more powerful than a point and shoot, the Nikon 1 takes amazing photos and video, without taking up too much room in your bag. ($599)

For those looking for simpler and more affordable option, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP1 is tough to beat. It is a compact point and shoot camera with great image quality, fast focus, and outstanding battery life. ($120)

iPhone 4S
While the iPhone 4S is rightfully getting lots of attention for its new digital assistant, Siri, and it’s outstanding camera, that isn’t why we’re putting it on our holiday list. The newest version of Apple’s iconic device is also a World Phone, which means you can now use it in over 200 countries. That alone makes it easy to recommend for travelers looking to stay connected while visiting foreign lands and previous iPhone users will rejoice that they will no longer need a separate phone when traveling abroad. ($200)

Outlets To Go Powerstrip
Keeping our gadgets powered and charged while traveling can be a real challenge, especially in hotel rooms, which seem to always lack convenient places to plug-in. A simple travel powerstrip, like the Outlets To Go from Monster, can help solve that problem. The tiny device packs three AC outlets and an integrated USB port, which is fantastic for keeping your phone, iPod, or other small electronics charged. ($12)

International travelers may want to pair the powerstrip with the Kensington All-in-One Plug Adapter as well. I take one with me whenever I leave the country, and have found it useful on many occasions. ($15)

Roku 2 HD
While not specifically a gift for travelers, who doesn’t enjoy returning home from a long vacation and curling up on their own couch? The Roku 2 HD streams all kinds of Internet content to any TV, including Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, YouTube, and so much more. It is also a great way to share photos from your latest adventure with friends and family, on your big-screen, high defnition television. Best of all, it costs just $70, which isn’t much for a tiny wireless device that offers so much entertainment. ($70)

Abercrombie & Kent creates iPad app

abercrombie and kentOne of our favorite parts about the “internetization” of travel (yes, we made that word up) is the feeling that you can travel the world without ever leaving your desktop. We reported earlier this year on flash sale darling Jetsetter’s iPad app. Now luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent has joined the fray with a free application for iPad that allows users to plan exotic adventures, family travel, cultural explorations and nature/wildlife trips. With each tap of an image, users can explore a particular experience in depth.

One of our favorite parts of the app? “Virtual Visits,” 60 to 90-second videos with a day-in-the-life approach that capture the sights and sounds of a destination. Visits range from views of Cappadocia via hot air balloon, Pushkar Fair, a camel and cattle sale in a holy city and natural ice sculptures off the coast of Antarctica.

Users can also create a personalized travel map of countries they’ve visited and wish to visit. These destinations can be exported to Google Earth, which provides a satellite tour of each destination. There’s also easy integration with Twitter, Facebook and Abercrombie & Kent destination specialists.

Jetsetter launches iPad app

jetsetterThe media darling of the travel flash sale industry, Jetsetter, has jumped on the iPad bandwagon and announced the launch of their new free App, available today in the App Store. We’ve long loved this site for its stunning visual array of images and editorial-like features about each sale destination, and are sure that the brand’s debut in the iPad world will be a hit.

{See other great Travel Tech information here.}

Jetsetter’s engineering team custom-designed a camera to shoot dozens of high resolution photos which are stitched together to form immersive 360-degree images.

Like a futuristic magazine cover, the app’s title screen features 360-degree panoramic images that responds to a tap The homepage prominently features a rotating slide show of hotels on sale as well as vacation “collections” that span themes like Vacation Like Royalty, Top New York Hotels, Caribbean Sunsets, and Weekend Getaways.

A news ticker at the bottom of the homepage that displays what other Jetsetter members are purchasing. The app also uses iPad 2’s gyroscope to map the orientation of the iPad to Jetsetter’s 360 degree photos. For instance, when the user moves iPad to the left, it senses the change of direction and the photo pans left.

Pretty cool! We’re all for websites creating added-value apps for their current array of offerings. Plus, anything that makes us feel like we’re actually at the property will likely aid in booking.

Not yet a member? Join Jetsetter via this link.