Friday, March 06, 2009

Upwardly Mobile 1

I’m becoming an exceptional mobile internet user, day by day. Gone are those days when I used to be content with the features of my Nokia 6510 even though it rang or beeped message only once or twice in a week. The new Nokia E51 has changed the way I see mobile phones. Ahem well the calls and messages are still as bad as my good old 6510 days, but the change now is that I’m checking emails, reading blogs/news, searching for local shops, movie timings, quickly clarifying things on dictionary.com and wikipedia, tweeting and of course the Google maps and latitude. When I’m at home I feel extremely lazy to open my laptop now a days. Everything is now on my phone, ah except typing this story. I’m not yet good at typing things on my phone.

Ask Laila Mobile Web PageAsklaila.com (asklaila.com/m/blr) is a frequently visited site on my phone to search for shops and restaurants when I’m on the go. Like the other day I was in Koramangala and wanted to know where was Lawrence & Mayo. Just did a search on Asklaila and it showed me the shop address and also gave me options to find other optical shops nearby. It also gives me phone numbers and clicking on them will make a call. I’m not saying Asklaila has a better database than Google Local Search or anything like that (I seriously don’t know) but the user experience on this one is really nice. Well they can still improve if they can also show results that are around the location which I specified. Eg the other day I searched for Chinese restaurants on MG road and I wouldn’t have minded if it also showed me Chinese restaurants on Church Street and Brigade road. Their full blown website does that and it would be wonderful to have the same feature on mobile. Also they could integrate a map view. Or may be integrate it with Google maps app. Or an Ask Laila app with Google maps/latitude integration… I don’t know ;-)

Oh btw, If you are in Bangalore and if you know exactly which restaurant you are going to and you want to call them to reserve a table, then you don’t need an internet connection. Call Ubona at 4070 0000 and tell the restaurant name to the IVR response and it will connect you instantly to the restaurant. It’s powerful enough to understand you regardless of your accent and it works well even if there are multiple outlets for the restaurant you are looking for. It will guide you well through all the locations. Once I tried a restaurant and they didn’t have that in their database. The IVR voice sounded confused. But 5 minutes after hanging up I got an SMS from them saying the restaurant I asked for has been added and gave me the contact details. Ubona’s restaurant search works only in Bangalore and it’s a beta service they are running to demonstrate their software’s capabilities.

Google India Movies Mobile Web PageAvid mobile internet users would know that Google apps (Reader, Calendar, Gmail) are available for mobile on the regular urls. Google India movies (google.co.in/m/movies) is one page you want to save to your bookmarks, coz it shows all the movies running in your city, timings, theatres etc. Very handy when you are in a sudden mood to go for movies and no access to news papers. But to book the tickets you might have to turn to the movie ticket booking mobile apps like BookMyShow.com’s B Mobile app (Send BMS to
51818). But again BookMyShow doesn’t take booking for PVR Cinemas. Oh listen to this, Last weekend I was trying to book tickets for Delhi6 on PVR’s online booking site and for some reason it was not working. I quickly downloaded their mobile app (Txt PVR to 53030) and continued booking the tickets. It was like a breeze to use the app; very nicely done and extremely simple to use.

To be continued
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