More and more businesses have cottoned on to the fact that our mobile is the centre of our business and social existence. We want to be able to find answers, book hotel rooms and even find love using our handsets. I’ve picked out five of the handiest services that you can access direct from your mobile.
One of Dial-a-Phone Nick’s favourite services (thanks to their answering of the question, ‘What is the World and European record for eating Jaffa cakes in a single sitting without throwing up?’ Answer: 80) , a huge investment into the service meant a major rebrand. Just text a question to 66000 and a team of Texpert, er, experts will tailor make a reply for you. It costs just £1 to get your question answered and the service is available 24/7, every single day of the year. Is your question one that involves directions? Would you like a Multimap sent to your phone? No problem; just cough up an extra 50p and it shall be done.
Many moons ago when I was still in the dating game, I was a member of Match.com. It could sometimes become disheartening trawling the site for anyone who wasn’t obsessively sporty or wall-eyed. The good ones exist, but they’re nabbed first, of course. So what better way to ensure you’re ahead of the game than with a text service? Match mobile will send you weekly alerts, let you text flirt and even – for an extra charge – send and receive emails. Dating can be a twenty-four hour occupation and this way it’s easy. You can check out a video of how the service works by clicking the link above.
There were howls of “but my Visa bill!” in the Shiny Shiny offices when we discovered this one, but it’s genuinely true. You really can make yourself spend far too much money just by taking a picture with your camera phone. Even the cheapest pay as you go phones pack a couple of megapixels these days, and H&M in the US has cottoned on with a service that lets you take a photo of an advert bearing a tiny Semacode barcode and use this to browse and buy that item quickly. In the future individual items may bear the barcode, letting you snap your mate’s top and bag your own in the blink of an eye.
This is a useful service which took the brave step of going in the opposite direction to most. Instead of bombarding you with text updates, maps and images, Laterooms aims to provide a quick bed-for-the-night service to any stranded traveller, regardless of the web browsing credentials of their phone. Slow connection and high data fees? Worry not because you shouldn’t be online for long. You can search the specially designed and pared down mobile site quickly and efficiently, with hotels grouped by city and price. The most popular business destinations (London, Birmingham and Manchester for example) are listed for even faster searching. Want to book? Two clicks and you’re presented with a phone number so you can ring and confirm because it turns out that most of us feel better with that reassurance. It’s an old-school service, but possibly more useful for it.
Until the fabled GPhone actually makes an appearance, the best way to find a service when all else fails is using Google’s mobile site. Gmail, Google News, Maps, Reader, Blogger and Google Calendars are all available as well as the standard search, meaning you can even Google yourself on the go now.