Spb Software House Traveler v2.0

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INTRODUCTION


    There’s a lot to manage when you’re on the road:
flights, car rentals, meetings, time zones. Keeping this information
close at hand is what Spb Traveler does for you. Spb is out with a new major release of this program, and we’ll take a look at
it to see how well it does as a personal travel assistant!

WHAT’S HOT

    Here are the key features of Spb Traveler:

  • Trip scheduling and assistance
  • Weather forecasts
  • World time clocks
  • Currency and unit conversions

SETUP

    Spb Traveler can be set up on your desktop computer and
installed on your mobile device using Active Sync. The whole process is
very straight-forward and common to most Windows Mobile software.

PRODUCT FEATURES

    Spb Traveler is designed to assist you when planning
trips and while traveling. It is packed with numerous traveler-friendly
features that can make your travels easier and more enjoyable.

    A Today screen plug-in can be configured to display
the time and weather in any cities that you choose. If you’re
traveling across time zones (or if you just work with people from multiple
time zones), you can quickly jump from city to city to confirm the
local time and see the current weather.

    When you add a city to Spb Traveler, details are a
simple screen tap away. Spb Traveler can download photos of the city,
provide weather forecasts for the coming week, or go online to help you find
more detailed information about the city, such as historical information
or tourist sites.

    If you need to schedule a business meeting in another
city, you can begin planning your trip by adding the meeting to a trip
itinerary. Spb Traveler will create an appointment on your Outlook calendar,
assuming the times you’ve entered are for the time zone in which the meeting
will take place. Now you can plan your flight…

Spb Traveler can search online for flights on the day and
time you specify. From a list of flights, you can select the one that suits
your needs and add it to your itinerary.

Similarly, you can add car rental and hotel reservation
information. Everything is neatly listed on your trip itinerary.

   

In addition to tracking your travel arrangements, Spb
Traveler provides a collection of helpful travel tools: a tip calculator,
unit and currency conversion tools, and a common phrase translator.

If you like to bring gifts home for the family after being
away, you can keep clothing sizes stored away for each of your family members.

There’s even a geography quiz game that can test your knowledge
of world cities and flags.

Finally, you can see a nice three-dimensional view of the world
with your cities highlighted. It doesn’t provide a great deal of functionality, but
it’s sort of nice watch.

HELP SUPPORT


    Spb Software House provides a number of support options
on their website, including community forums and
e-mail.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

    Spb Traveler requires Windows Mobile Professional or Classic. Unfortunately,
if you’re using Windows Mobile Standard, you’ll need another method for keeping track of your
travel arrangements. Spb Traveler requires a little over 2MB of program memory and just less than
8.5MB of storage memory.

BUGS AND WISHES


   
    I find searching for flights from within
Spb Traveler to be very convenient. If I could enter travel agent
information as part of the software configuration, Spb
Traveler could place a call to my agent (or the airline) while I’m
viewing flight information.

    Depending on how you plan your trip, Spb Traveler
could be smart enough to help ensure your travel plans all fit together.
If I schedule a meeting in Boston for November 12 at 1PM, then look up
flights from Philadelphia to Boston, Spb Traveler should be able to
filter out flights that arrive in Boston after my meeting begins. I can manually
specify AM/PM/Night when searching, but if there’s additional
information in my schedule, it would make sense to take advantage of
that information when searching. Spb Traveler might not
know how much time to allow for travel from the airport to my meeting,
but it could certainly narrow the field considerably.

    When adding a flight to a trip, Spb Traveler will
recognize if I have a scheduling conflict with the flight times.
When the conflict is with another flight having the same origin and
destination or when a flight is obviously replacing an existing
flight in your trip (based on its origin and destination), I’d like
to have Spb Traveler automatically delete the older flight from
my trip or ask me if I want it deleted. Any scheduled
meetings or hotel/car reservations could also be updated based on
the new flight information. If the new flight extends my trip,
Spb Traveler could remind me to also extend any hotel/car reservations.
If you’ve entered phone information for those trip items, it would be
convenient to be able to directly place the necessary phone calls to
your hotel and rental agency.

    I’d like to be able to see a
Gantt chart for my complete trip so I could easily pick up on any
scheduling errors. A single timeline across the screen would
represent my entire trip. Beneath it, I would see timelines for
flights, car rentals, hotel reservations and meetings. This
would allow me to very easily see if I’ve done something silly,
such as schedule a return flight the day before an important
meeting or book a hotel room for one too many nights.

    Spb Traveler only keeps one trip itinerary loaded in
memory, requiring you to load trips from storage memory as you need
them. This isn’t really a significant problem, but the interface for
loading a trip requires that you browse your mobile device file system
and select the trip’s XML file. Rather than take you away from the rich
graphics of Spb Traveler, I’d prefer to have the application simply choose
a storage location for the files and just present me with a list of
stored trips.

PURCHASING

    Spb Traveler 2.0 is available
on the Spb Software House website for $29.95. A
trial download is also available if you want to test the waters before making a purchase.

PROS


  • Convenient trip itinerary


  • Outlook appointment integration


  • Online flight search


  • Weather forecasts


  • Multiple Today screen clocks

CONS


  • More could be done to assist with scheduling conflicts and changes


  • Not compatible with Windows Mobile Standard

  • A bit pricey

  • Working with multiple trips could be streamlined

Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

OVERALL IMPRESSION

    If you spend a lot of time traveling from city to city, you will
likely find Spb Traveler is a worthy travel companion. It provides a number of
features that frequent travelers will find useful, especially when traveling across
time zones or overseas. I particularly find the Today screen plug-in information and the
ability to look up flight information most helpful. Personally, I don’t travel
enough to make frequent use of Spb Traveler, but when I am on the road, I’ll be
sure it’s on my phone and ready to assist me. For those of you who travel frequently,
join our forum discussions and share how your phone could be more useful when
traveling.

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