iPod your way around Tokyo and China

It had to come, the days of the Lonely Planeteers who wander around cities with their noses in their travel guides completely missing the sights they’re meant to see will soon be making way for the iPlodders watching videos on their iPods or iPhones showing them where to go as they follow directions.

There’s a new start up in San Francisco called Hoodhot Travel and they’re developing travel apps for iPods and iPhones.  So far they’ve concentrated on guides for Asia and have done a teleport for Tokyo and taxi guides for Beijing and Shanghai.

Tokyo can be a difficult city for non-Japanese speakers, especially as most of the streets don’t have names. The Tokyo Teleport features a number of videos, so that if you want to go from a particular subway station to a particular department store, for instance, just key in those details and follow the video as it walks you along the route.

The Taxi Guides for Beijing and Shanghai are slightly different.  In those cities very few taxi drivers speak English – no problem!  Hop in your cab, choose your destination in English from the database, it appears as a type of Chinese language business card on your iPod, and the driver should be able to get you to your destination fairly easily.  I wish that I’d had the use of one of these when I used to go to China regularly and had to use mime to get my message across to a taxi driver.

There is a slight charge for these apps, and why not, if they save lots of grief and frustration, they will be worth it.  Besides, the more apps that are sold, the greater the number of cities that will be added to their range.

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