An early look at Windows 8 travel apps
Windows 8 is the code name for the much anticipated fresh version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, which launches October 2012.
Windows 8 puts its own trip-planning app front and center
Right on the Start screen, users find three apps, Travel, News, and Sports, built into the OS as touchable “tiles.”
The Travel app, more precisely, the Bing Travel app, spotlights a rotating list of destinations.
Swipe through the same content currently viewable on Bing Travel but presented in a tablet, wide-screen, touchable format.
The Bing Travel app pulls up photos, content, and information on more than 3,000 destinations worldwide, with details on airports, hotels, and restaurants.
A user can activate a search bar and enter in a destination to find details on flights, hotels, or activities and attractions.
Potential content snafu
Much of the content comes from Bing Travel, such as its “featured destinations.”
Bing Travel gets its brief summaries of destinations and hotel and restaurant suggestions from Frommers.
Given that Google recently bought Frommers, it’s doubtful that partnership will continue.
The Bing Travel app for Windows 8 may be a fresh portal for OTAs and airlines
The Bing Travel app encourages users to book their air travel and hotel reservations through it.
The app passes users through to the site of the airline or third-party travel partner via the Internet Explorer browser.
Or if a user is not ready to book, her or she can “pin” information to the Start menu or share it with another person with a single click.
The Travel app detects the person’s location via the device’s geolocation detector and fetches search results that are relevant to the user’s location, if the consumer opts in to location sharing.
By trying to act as a portal for travel purchases, Windows 8 may require travel companies to update their mobile strategy.
Third parties can build Windows 8 apps
The free app lets users search for a flight, book it, track multiple itineraries, and contact customer service.
The app does aims to take advantage of the touch screen functionality and minimalist aesthetic design of Windows 8 (see image above).
Sean O’Neill is a New Jersey-based reporter for Tnooz. He is also a daily contributor of consumer news to LonelyPlanet.com.
He used to work for BBC Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and Kiplinger's, and used to live in London, New York City, and Washington, DC.