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WorldMate Professional: Even More The Travelers Friend Print E-mail
Written by SymbianOne   
Thursday, 03 November 2005
WorldMate, one of the most popular applications for Symbian OS phones, has gone professional. We review the latest incarnation of this software equivalent of the Greber multitool for the business traveler.

The latest version of WorldMate’s S60 variant back in 2004). These features include a world clock and world map along with weather and currency information.

To these have been added a unit converter, international, US and Canadian dialing code tables and clothes sizing tables.

There is also now a feature to maintain a packing list. This contains a predefined list of the most obvious packing requirements: tickets, passports, clothing, toiletries and alike. Personal items can be added to this list and a field is also provided for notes about the item. Items can also be categorizes, with the option to create new personalized categories.

From the list of all items, checked items go to form “My list”. Once on “My list”, items can be checked again as they are packed and a filter used to show all the outstanding items.

However, the key addition to WorldMate Professional is airline information. This new feature allows flights status to be found, journeys planned and current status information obtained on a personalize list of flights.

The flight status screen allows flight details for a specified airline and flight number to be found, for flights that have occurred back to the previous day or future flights up to two days ahead. An option button allows the last search to be viewed again and a dropdown list provides access to the most recent queries. Requesting the flight status initiates a data session to obtain the latest information, which when delivered is presented in a simple scrolling window. Where a flight involves a stop over WorldMate can display details of either leg separately or both legs in a single report.

From the flight details window it is possible to add the flight to a list of “My flights” and to update the flight information, for old queries.

The second flights screen allows for complex queries on flight schedules and access to the “My flights” list. Up to five schedules can be maintained at any one time, with an “Update All” function to get the latest information. Schedules are created by selecting the departure and arrival location, date of departure or a weekly schedule (which only covers direct flights) and departure time (which can be a specific hour or a general time such as morning or evening).

Once a journey has been defined an empty flight details screen is displayed. Selecting updated then gathers the flight details.

If WorldMate fails to find a flight on the specified day for that route it simply reports “There are no flights for the selected date or destination”. Unfortunately, WorldMate provides no information on when a suitable flight might be available.

Once the schedule has been created and the flights required found they can be added to the “My flights” list for easier access later. Helpfully, if the journey is not direct, adding one of the flights adds all the legs to “My flights”.

“My flights” information can also be exported to the UIQ Calendar, with an optional alarm set two hours before the flight.

The schedule option seems to offer the ability to plan a trip, however any schedule created is locked in the application. It is not possible, for example, to email the flight list to a travel agent and ask for the flights to be booked. Similarly, if a flight needs to be arranged in a hurry WorldMate does not supply information, such as the airline’s reservations desk, which would allow the information to be translated into action, and a seat on the flight.

Having said that these features are very useful for obtaining current flight status information; obviously invaluable when checking travel plans while actually traveling. It even includes information on baggage claim carousels, which could be looked up while waiting to get through immigration.

One real problem with this feature is that, while it appears to cover the major route well, there are holes. Take New Zealand, according to WorldMate there are only two airports, Wellington and Christchurch. While many New Zealander’s consider that the country stops north of the Bombay Hills, beyond which lies Auckland, Auckland is still the countries main airport and almost certainly the predominate destination for most overseas business travelers. Equally Air New Zealand, one of the major carriers into the country, is not represented in WorldMate Professional’s airline list. Similarly, Finland is blessed with one airport, Helsinki, so a visit to Oulu, a major centre for Nokia (and a very picturesque port town) is out of the question.

In fairness, it should be noted that during the period preparing this review the number of airlines supported by WorldMate grew noticeably. The list is updated manual from WorldMate’s preferences screen. However, it is unclear whether increased airline coverage solves the airport coverage issue.

Despite its deficiencies, WorldMate Professional is a well thought out, easy to use and comprehensively useful travel companion, which will be invaluable to anyone who travels regularly. The availability of time, weather, currency and flight information at the touch of a button answers many common travel, such as “What time is it back home?”, “Do I need a raincoat today?”, “Is that really as cheap as it seems?” or “What size are these pants?”. The packing list feature should also mean that some questions never need asking. The flight information features provide really useful information and certainly save the hassle of worrying about paper itineraries. Overall WorldMate remains a great application, visually attractive, well constructed and above all useful, marred only by the feeling that, with just a little more programming, it could be even more useful.

WorldMate Professional for UIQ cost $74.95 Euro. Series 80 (Nokia 9500 and Nokia 9300) at $39.95. All prices are for an annual subscription.

SymbianOne readers may use the promotional code AA614C89 in the SymbianOne Shop to get a 10% discount on WorldMate Professional for UIQ.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2009 )


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