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WorldMate 2005 for Smartphone review
Posted on 21-Mar-2005 22:09 by M Freitas. | Tags Filed under: Reviews.


I have been using WorldMate for many years. My first copy was registered for an old Palm OS device, back in 2001. In 2002 when I moved to the Pocket PC platform (at that time yet to be called Windows Mobile), WorldMate was the first program installed on my new Pocket PC.

It is now time to have 160547 WorldMate 2005 running on my Windows Mobile Smartphone. But does it perform like I remember?

The new version provides some – but not all – of the features available on the Pocket PC version. You will find the World Clock, Weather, World Map, Currency Conversion, Flight Status functions. The missing functions are the Travel Itineraries, Country and Area Codes, Packing List Organiser, Apparel Size Converter and Unit Converters.


Main menu: traveller's little helper


Today plug-in showing current weather conditions and forecast

MobiMate is making this first version available as a subscription service. When the product is registered you will have access to the full functionality. The subscription is valid for one year and must be renewed if you want to continue using the program after it expires. There is a trial period of 48 hours available - try it before you buy.

Installation is simple, but be careful: there are two programs being installed in your Smartphone. One is the main program itself and the other is a Today plug-in. The Smartphone will prompt you twice for location, so don't be alarmed.

Once the program is installed the user have to create an account with MobiMate, to use the services. The process is easy, since the e-mail address comes pre-filled (from the Pocket Inbox configuration?) and you can enter your own password. The program then asks for the registration code, received when I bought the program (yes, I do buy programs, not everyone send titles for review).

In my first try I decided to install the program on a mini SD card, and the Today plug-in in the main memory. I think this was the wrong choice: after a couple of hours my Smartphone showed an error message about not finding the Today screen layouts.


Make sure you install the program in the main memory

No problem… Let’s reinstall the program. But it didn’t work like that: upon reinstall the program asked for my registration code again, but this time it did not accept it. After consulting with Mobimate I found out the code is only valid for one use only. Lucky I got a very quick reply from Mobimate, and could continue my review without much disruption.

The program can be started directly from the Today plug-in, or from the Start menu. Using it is easy and the menus are short, with a small number of options. The left soft button always brings the main menu, called Services.

The program shows its Services menu with six options: Clocks, Weather, World Map, Weather Map, Flight Status and Currency. Just use the joystick to move through options or press a number to access the function directly.

The Clock shows five world clocks, with the first one occupying the first half of the screen, and the other half being shared by four other clocks. The list of cities covered is rather long, but there’s no way to manually add a new city (not through the program).



World clock function

We can access the Weather for the main city directly from the Clock as one of the menu options, or by clicking Services and selecting it from the main menu. It provides forecast for up to five days in advance, with easy to read information, covering temperature, humidity, UV index, precipitation, wind speed and direction, sunset and sunrise times. All this information comes from The Weather Channel, through the Mobimate service. Weather information can be shown in Imperial or Metric systems.


Detailed weather information

The World Map function is just this – a map with a crosshair pointing a city. You can pan the map by pressing the pad left and right, and use up and down to scrolls through the cities in the database. Once a city is selected some useful information (local time and date, currency exchange ) will scroll through the screen on the last line.


World map

Weather Map is great – an animated map with different options, including satellite view, Doppler radar, current temperatures (there’s a misspelling in the selection dialog), precipitation forecast and 24-hours forecast. In the animated maps you can pause and start the map at any time. Shame New Zealand maps are not present – although you will find Australian maps as well as North American and European ones.


Example of weather map

Travellers will like the Flight Status function. Give the program an airline, flight and date and it will inquire the OAG database and present the flight’s current status, airplane model and other information. It covers most of the largest airlines, including Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Alaska Airlines, America West Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Continental, Delta, Iberia, Lufthansa, United, Varig and others (check the full list with Mobimate)… But it does not have Air New Zealand or QANTAS (I really suggest including these two in the list).



Current flight status for major airlines. Where are Air NZ and QANTAS?

The last function is the Currency Converter. It shows three different currencies on screen, and conversion is automatic between them. Simply enter an amount in one field, and the other two are automatically updated based on the current exchange rate. The last update date is shown, so you know for sure the correct exchange rate is being used.


Easy to use currency converter

The program really impresses because of the number of functions. Although not as complete as its Pocket PC counterpart, it is still one of the most complete travel application I’ve seen on Smartphones. Updates are quick and the program has nice graphics and colour schemes.

Pros
  • Good set of functionality
  • Easy to use
  • Short menus

    Cons
  • Subscription code valid for single use only (could be at least two uses or maximum of three)
  • Subscription service not reliable.




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