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Horizon Wireless

By Simon Dumenco
The New York Times

Imagine getting a bit lost in, say, Manchester, England, pointing your cellphone at a nondescript building and learning instantly that you’ve chanced across a legendary pub that opens 30 minutes from now — and, by the way, a nearby rare-vinyl shop is offering a 20 percent discount, today only. Oh, and just down the block is a bistro that is never mentioned in guidebooks but is beloved by locals.

Welcome to the new, hyper-connected, technology-based travel paradigm. It’s the era of the smartphone as ubiquitous tool of navigation, when what matters is not just the here but the now. With smart phones increasingly ubiquitous, a new era of hyper-connected travel is at hand—literally—as so-called location-awareness continues to explode as a cultural/tech meme. Google Maps and Google Street View blanket more and more of the planet. Facebook and Twitter allow users to ‘‘geotag’‘ their updates with specific geographic coordinates, while Foursquare turns ‘‘checking in’‘ into a form of entertainment. Users of the photo-sharing site Flickr geotag more than four million photos per month. And augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows travelers to navigate their way to nearby attractions by aiming a smartphone in any direction, weaves together all those geodata points into a miniaturized virtual world coated with zesty little information bubbles.

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Categories Wireless | Tags: | Posted on September 26, 2010