Travel related activities are dramatically changing thanks to innovations in digital technology. GPS-assisted maps on a smartphone or travel guidebooks on a tablet are essential tools for all travelers today. A new wave of travel applications has disrupted established industries, like lodging and car rental. Probably because of the phase of change at the moment, however, only few travel apps are truly useful and easy to use.
Applause, an enterprise that tests and evaluates mobile apps, analyzed travel apps that had been rated more than 150 times on Apple App Store or on Google Play Store. Only 8 of those apps earned high quality scores according to Applause’s own rating system. 8 high quality travel apps were:
Booking.com – hotel reservations and reviews.
Alaska Airlines – flights.
Kayak – hotels, flights, car rentals.
TripAdvisor – hotels, vacation rentals, flights, restaurant reviews.
TripIt – travel organizer.
Hotels.com – hotel booking.
Zipcar – car sharing.
Orbitz – hotels, flights, cars.
All these applications have been developed by established organizations. A large number of startup businesses that have entered travel business recently may need more time and effort to finetune their great ideas and vision into truly usable apps.
One thing we hope travel app developers should really take seriously is offline use. Recently, we made a tour in a remote area where mobile network connectivity was patchy at best, sometimes we couldn’t connect to a network at all for most of the day. None of the apps from big brands, like Here, Google Sheets or Google Docs, that had offline functionality actually worked in offline mode. We used them on a smartphone and on a tablet. Naturally, an app that makes hotel room reservations requires it is connected to a network, but many other apps should work when the mobile device is offline.
Adobe Digital Editions is a popular application for reading ebooks on Windows and Mac computers. The app is free and fairly simple to use. Now, the Digital Editions is also available for the Apple iPad. On the iPad, however, many established ereading apps have already won the hearts and minds of reading public. Do we really need yet another ereading app on the iPad?
Every new Apple iPad comes with the iBooks ereading app (it is possible to download iBooks to old models from the App Store). iBooks is probably the best ereading app available at the moment. It can open books that only include text and books that feature audio and video. iBooks can handle EPUB2, EPUB3, PDF and Apple’s own multimedia book format.
So, do you need Adobe Digital Editions at all? Adobe says the app can open EPUB2, EPUB3 and PDF books. First and foremost, the Digital Editions is for reading books that are copy-protected with Adobe’s technology. If you buy a book from Kobo or Google Play Books, or from many other bookstores, the book is copy-protected. You have to use your Adobe ID to open the purchased book, and this is the trick the Digital Editions can manage (and iBooks can’t).
It is not possible to read books that require Adobe ID in iBooks. It is, however, possible to download free and easy-to-use reading apps like Bluefire Reader or Google Play Books that can open books protected by Adobe’s technology.
Adobe Digital Editions suffers from minor teething problems common in the first releases of practically any software product. The Digital Editions can’t properly layout a book when you hold your iPad in landscape mode. There is no way to remove books from a bookshelf. One of the biggest benefits of EPUB3 standard is the possibility to include audio and video in ebooks, but the Digital Editions couldn’t play any audio or video. Yet, Adobe claims the app is compatible with EPUB3.
Who should take the time and install Adobe Digital Editions on the iPad? If you don’t already have an ereading app on your iPad that can open ebooks that require Adobe ID, the Digital Editions is an app worth considering.
Adobe Digital Editions for the iPad can be downloaded from the App Store. More about the Digital Editions app at Adobe’s web page.