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.

Gaming and Couponing Your Brand

Companies and small businesses today have a lot of options when it comes to marketing and promoting their brand. It’s not just about going door to door, doing TV and radio advertising campaigns, or distributing fliers at your local grocery store. Now you have various other options such as creating a website, starting a blog, making a page in different social networking sites, and so on. It’s about visibility and the Internet is currently the place where most people spend a lot of their time.

There are so many ways you can promote your brand on the web. There’s Facebook and Twitter, and the fast growing site- Pinterest. There’s LinkedIn, there’s Google+, and don’t forget SEO to ensure that you dominate the search engines. You can create websites, blogs, and join popular article sites such as EzineArticles. You can utilize well-placed online ads that will (hopefully) get clicked on. And you can use popular tools such as gaming and couponing in order to entice customers to buy from you or obtain the services you’re offering.

Games existed offline first

Though online gaming may sound a bit childish to you, many people continue to enjoy online games, even middle aged adults. Games are a great way to kick back, relax, and just let yourself forget about everything even for a little while. It’s also an excellent way to have fun, to challenge yourself, to compete against others, and even to bond with people. Games and contests are a great way to promote your brand. After all, who wouldn’t want to win in a contest?

Couponing – can be good and bad

Couponing has also become extremely popular among the public today. With the advent of Groupon and FourSquare, everyone now enjoys looking for the best deals when it comes to brands they love as well as the brands they want to try out. It’s a great way to gain exposure for your brand, as many people simply can’t resist a good deal. There’s just something irresistible about getting 50% off a new restaurant, or 30% off a nice dress.

As a small business owner, if you’re looking into using gaming and couponing in marketing your brand, then you should definitely consider using Fanplayr. Fanplayr.com gives you the ability to add coupons and offer gamification in your social marketing mix. It offers an excellent and innovative way to attract and engage your customers.

Fanplayr – A resource for you

Social marketing has quickly become the most popular way of promoting your brand. Everything has become “social” these days, as more and more people use social networking sites to with their friends, play games, use apps, connect with their favorite brands, and so on.

Fanplayr provides you the ability to engage with your audience through gamification and couponing across different platforms. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a programmer or developer to start creating your own gaming and couponing campaign. In less than 15 minutes, you can set up a coupon game that you could place on your website, include in your newsletter, share on Facebook, and offer on mobile. It’s that simple.

Fanplayr also recently announced that it has entered into partnership with Ifeelgoods so it can bring Facebook credits to “smart and targeted” social offers and coupons. This empowers Magenta merchants all over the world by being able to benefit from low-cost Facebook credits in order to get better returns on their offers and coupons.

Feeling rewarded and engaged

Your brand promotion and messaging can become boring if you don’t mix it up, which is why using gaming and couponing can definitely capture your customer’s attention. Both small businesses and large companies can utilize this feature in order to engage and connect with consumers better. Customers feel rewarded when they play the game and then win the prize of a coupon that they can redeem when they like.

When it comes to social marketing, it’s really about finding the best ways to enhance your brand and engage with your consumers. Since there are so many other brands that offer the same or similar products or services, it’s vital for you to stand out and differentiate yourself by offering fun and unique things to your customers.

Fanplayr in partnership with Ifeelgoods definitely offers some interesting options for small business owners who want to offer their customers something new. Don’t limit yourself to traditional marketing campaigns that may end up boring your customers. Add new and interesting offers, such as gaming and couponing to connect with them further.

Top Smartphones and Apps of 2011 Holiday Season

When looking at what type of smartphone you should purchase, there seems to be so many options out there nowadays. Between the Android devices and the Apple devices, there are many choices tailored to your needs and willing to give you everything you could need in a phone and so much more. Gone are the days of just using it to talk. Now they are used to surf the internet, text and play games. For that reason, you have to look at specific types of smartphones but knowing the right ones can be somewhat difficult.

One option available is the Motorola DROID RAZR. Billing the phone as the thinnest smartphone around, it is both sleek and light which means it is easier to carry for you. Made of Kevlar, steel and aluminum it creates a phone that is a very good option after the original RAZR. This smartphone comes with the highly touted Android software and weights a little under 4.50 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.30 inches with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. Of the main features available you get a light sensor as well as a proximity sensor and scratch-resistant glass. One of the most important factors when one buys a smartphoneis battery life. The Motorola DROID RAZR offers an average of 12.50 hours of talk time and an amazing 204 hours of stand-by time. The camera features are also spectacular as you can take HD Video and the camera has 8 megapixels. Lastly, the system hardware comes in at 1024 MB of RAM with roughly 16 GB of built in memory. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Another great option is the Galaxy Nexus. This is the first phone to run the newly created Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which is being sold as the version which puts an end to fragmentation. Powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, it clearly is one of the fastest phones available on the market today. The weight of the phones comes in at 4.76 ounces. The physical size of the phone is 4.65 inches which continues to be consistent with most of the Android devices with how light and small they are to carry. The phone also takes HD video with the camera offering 5 megapixels. The system memory comes with 1024 MB RAM and roughly 32 GB of built-in storage. This phone should be available in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lastly, the third most popular smartphone of those released or to be released is the Apple release iPhone 4S. Many were disappointed that it came out as the iPhone 4S opposed to the iPhone 5 but it has not disappointed. It comes with a reworked iOS 5 and introduces a really cool new feature called Siri, which is a personal assistant for you to verbally communicate with for reminders and information. It comes with a 3.5″ screen with a resolution of 640 x 960 pixels; however the inside of the phone is a very powerful and impressive dual-core A5 processor. Coming in at a weight of a little under 5 ounces, it may be a little heavier than its Android counterparts but nothing that would deter the customer. It offers HD video capture and a camera with 8 megapixels. The system memory comes with 512 MB RAM with up to 65 GB of built-in storage.

One of the most appealing features of smartphones are the apps available for download. Some must have Android apps are Google Sky Map, which allows you to see the stars in the sky by pointing your phone to the sky, ASTRO file manager which allows you to manage files on your device and Seesmic which is one of the top Twitter apps available for any phone. For the iPhone, some of the tops apps available are Amazon, PayPal and who can go anywhere without their very own copy of Angry Birds, available on both Android and iPhone devices.