As this year’s the summer vacation season coincides with an ever-increasing stable of awesome Android handsets, we thought that we’d take a look at some handy software you should definitely install before you start your holidays. From Augmented Reality wonder-apps to one-stop converters and translation tools, making sure you’ve got these programs with you when you set off should help you make the most of your trip.
Enhanced tourism: Wikitude Premium AR Guide
One of the first Android apps to be widely talked about, Wikitude is an Augmented Reality app that uses your phone’s GPS, Google Maps, Wikipedia and even your camera to produce a truly impressive travel mashup. Simply look ‘through’ your phone in any given direction and Wikitude tells you about sites of interest, public transport stations, restaurants and more within your vicinity – all by overlaying them onto a map or your phone’s camera display. Apps like this really are a glimpse of the future.
Convert anything: ConvertMe (Beta)
Keeping track of fluctuating currency rates while abroad is one thing. But what about clothes sizes, food measures and distances? ConvertMe can convert between hundreds of weights, measures and currencies – including some that you probably won’t need on vacation (magnetic flux, anyone?). Its currency rates are updated frequently so that you can be sure that your lobster bisque isn’t too extravagant a treat.
Translate foreign languages on the move: SpeedyMarks Translator
The best preparation for a trip abroad is to make sure that you have a grip on at least the basics of the local language. Translator will come in handy for identifying fairly simple words and phrases, but performs better with some languages than others. My tip: try using Google image search for simpler words: you’ll get a quick visual aid which is more useful if you’re trying to learn.
Prevent thefts and stay secure in hotel rooms: Sheriff Android Lite
Sheriff Android Lite is one of those apps you hope you’ll never have to use. Running in the background on your Android phone, when activated it detects movement and emits a loud alarm to warn you that your phone (or the bag it’s in) has been moved. I recommend buying the full version because for only $1.50, you get SMS alerts, personalized pre-warning messages, stealth mode and more.
Track your every step: AndAndo
This app is ideal for trekking, cycling, and other outdoor pursuits, but perfect for stat-loving travelers of all types. AndAndo lets you record your movements using GPS. You can add notes and photos to your path and best of all (in my opinion), export your tracks to standard GPX and Google Earth’s KML formats. Creating maps of your travels has never been easier – and with the embedded media and notes you can effectively produce an automatic travel journal of your movements.
Final note: some of these apps will make use of your data connection, meaning that traveling abroad could be expensive if you keep data roaming switched on all the time. Oh, and use Barcode Scanner to read those QR codes.