Report claims Amazon in talks with hotels to offer online bookings from early 2015
Amazon is said to be close to expanding its retail ambitions, into the travel market. A report claims the online retailer is preparing to open a travel department, and has apparently been working with independent hotels and resorts close to major cities in order to launch the service in the near future, possibly as soon as New Year's Day.
International plans come with data, tiered voice as alternative to monthly Global plans
AT&T has launched a new option for travelers wanting to take their smartphones, tablets, or laptops with them abroad. A new set of tiered, one-time charge packages called AT&T Passport can now be added to an existing account, allowing customers to use their devices in over 150 different countries. The plans are designed to work in addition to domestic plans, while offering fixed rates and small data caps for international travel.
Coinbase partnership allows travel booking company to accept online currency
Travel reservation company Expedia has jumped aboard the Bitcoin train to allow travelers to book their hotel stays with the virtual currency. Teaming up with Coinbase, Expedia will now show Bitcoins as a payment option up against other payment forms, such as credit cards and PayPal. Expedia joins the likes of Overstock.com and Dish Network in allowing their customers to pay with the Internet currency.
Upgrade for Google Flight Search could be on the way
Google is planning to change the way passengers buy tickets for air travel, according to the head of an airline. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, claimed in an interview that the airline is working with the search firm, with Google said to be constructing a flight comparison site that sounds like an improved version of the company's existing Flight Search capabilities.
Giant+ battery offers 40 additional charging hours
Today Jackery -- a provider of rechargeable battery products for mobile devices -- announced the launch of their latest product, the Jackery Giant+. An upgraded release of the Giant, which is a battery which offers up to 220 hours of charging time for electronic devices, the Giant+ features up to 260 hours extra operational time for one's electronic device. Easily portable, the battery weighs 10.4 ounces and measures 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches. The Giant+ can charge two devices simultaneously, and retain a charge for up to six months in standby mode. Alongside the rest of the Jackery lineup, the Jackery Giant+ is available through Amazon, and is priced at $50.
Kayak's earnings up 29 percent before acquisition
Travel website Priceline has purchased Kayak.com for $40 per share, it was announced today. The deal amounts to about $1.8 billion, with the Priceline Group paying about $500 million of that in cash and the rest coming in equity and assumed stock options. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013.
Wikitravel, Wikivoyage express interest in project
Wikipedia may create its own travel guide that would compete with books such as Lonely Planet. According to Skift, the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees discussed the possibility of a publicly-edited free travel guide service, and will decide the proposal's fate in six weeks time after a public consultation, although some suggest it is effectively already decided.
Expensify expands itinerary tools
MoboTap has launched updates for both the iPad and iPhone versions of its mobile Dolphin Browser. The iPad version has gained Retina graphics, as well as a new Browsing History feature that allows users to see past sites and searches displayed as suggestions while searching in the URL bar. Meanwhile, the iPhone version has gained a Tab Restore feature that will restore previously opened tabs if Dolphin is shut down while running in the background. The update will also now remember the last used keyboard layout, and includes various stability and performance enhancements.
iLuv CES announcements
At this year's CES, iLuv expanded its lineup with a new portable speaker case and a charging station designed for travelers. The company's latest speaker case, the SmashBox Pro, runs on AA batteries and provides external controls for all of a phones major features. Meanwhile, the DreamTraveler allows users to charge multiple devices in one location.
iPads for research, smartphones for photos and GPS
Mobile advertising network Greystripe surveyed iPad and smartphone users this summer about their travel habits and how their mobile devices help them with travelling -- either through setting up travel bookings for transportation and hotels or as a GPS unit or method to pass the time while in transit. The results show a strong link between travel activities and iPad usage, with 93 percent of users engaging with their devices while travelling, and 91 percent using it for a travel-related activity.
VCOM Control Panels for iOS
Flying Connected is offering an iPad rental service in New York City that provides visitors access to the mobile device for as low as $15 a day. Customers can choose between first and second generation iPad models, as well as Basic, Plus and Premium plans for each. The Basic plan provides users with a WiFi only iPad preloaded with applications, while the Plus and Premium plans offer 3G internet access and preinstalled apps, movies, books, and magazines. Arrangements can be made for the device to be dropped off at the customers hotel or at either JFK or LGA airports.
App on sale for a limited time
FutureTap, who acquired the travel guide and virtual-reality app Where To? two and a half years ago from original publisher TapTapTap, have published a graphical blog entry (reproduced below) that features unusually candid details about the sales and changes to the app over the course of its life. The app, which locates nearby establishments in map view or can present information in an "augmented reality" view, is on sale for a limited time.
Combines travel features, GPS when available
Wazado Mobile Applications, best known for its NAVV turn-by-turn GPS navigation app, has created an iPad-only offering called NAVV Traveller, which combines offline maps with online GPS (if available) and travel-assistant type features such as weather conditions, real-time traffic, points of interest and in-app posting to Facebook or SMS. The app is available for North America and Western Europe so far.
Rouge Roller released
STM has released a new bag that lets travelers store their laptop and other travel necessities conveniently in one bag. The Rouge Roller features an extendable handle and two in-line skate wheels; it has been made large enough to fit a laptop, documents, accessories and a few changes of clothes, but small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of most planes. The laptop compartment of the bag is large enough to fit a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and has been throughly padded to ensure a laptop will stay safe while kept inside.
Travel guides for iphone
Modality has begun releasing Frommer's line of travel guides for the iPhone and iPod touch. The 2008 editions of Frommer's for New York, Paris, San Francisco and London are available for download from the App Store. Additional cities will be added later this year. Guides include travel tips, hotel and restaurant reviews, interactive maps, web links, phone numbers and other location-based travel information.