Taxi booking App wins LBS Challenge

The NAVTEQ LBS Challenges award ceremony took place yesterday at the CTIA trade show in Las Vegas. The winner is T+1 Solutions, an Estonian company which demonstrated Taxi4me, a mobile taxi ordering service that helps consumers connect with trusted taxi companies. The desired time and destination is sent from a user's mobile phone to a taxi brokering server. Local taxi companies then submit competitive bids and proposed routes back to the consumer.

The three runners-up also selected by the judging panel include: DialPlus Inc, Creativity Software and Colombia Games. DialPlus offers an interesting application that enhances the standard phone call experience by automatically and simultaneously providing dynamic, contextually relevant visual information about the called or calling party before, during and after the call is over.

Creativity Software presented its Rough Guides Mobile Travel Guide, a location aware city guide with user-generated content and social networking features; however there is nothing really new here, since this guide has been available for month (years?) in Europe where it is bundled with Motorola phones. The third runner-up, Colombia Games, demonstrated ToGetThere, a "car pooling-social networking" application.

While the LBS Challenge remains a great event for networking it is unfortunately not anymore at the forefront of the LBS innovation, which is a disappointment.

The iPhone platform – and to a lesser extend Android - is where most of the LBS innovation is taking place today. In limiting developments to a range of non touch screen Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones (sponsors of the event), NAVTEQ is unfortunately curbing the reach of its LBS Challenge.

This is not only bad for the quality and the creativity of the applications presented at the Challenge, but also for NAVTEQ as a whole since these iPhone-Android developers are likely to need map data and probably looking for more flexibility than what is offered in standard by Apple and Google.

Friday, April 3rd 2009

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