Three iPhone Apps for Globetrotters

Need to find good places to eat in Cairo? Need to translate Japanese speech or a foreign exchange rate? Check out these iPhone apps with an international flavor.

Mon, April 19, 2010

CIO — Some good iPhone apps with an international flavor can make your stay across the border a little easier. has spotted three that perform very different tasks for the globetrotter.

One app, NileGuide, taps local expert knowledge to give you the inside scoop on places to stay, where to eat, things to do. If you're in a Spanish-speaking country, another iPhone app, Jibbigo, delivers the best voice-to-voice translation available on a mobile device. Then there's an app that provides the latest currency exchange rate, called eCurrency.

International travelers would do well to consider these apps before hopping on a plane. So bring your iPhone wherever you go. (Warning: But don't bring your newly minted iPad to Israel.)

NileGuide: A Global Travel Guide

Maybe you've got an extra weekend in London, thanks to a volcano throwing up ash and grounding planes, and thus need a cheap hotel. After a long day at a tech conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, perhaps you want to grab a beer at a nearby local spot, such as the Gold Dust Lounge off Union Square. Looking for a kid-friendly restaurant in Rome?

NileGuide: What's Next ($3) is a kind of global guidebook that provides travel information such as hotels, restaurants and activities, for some 250 destinations around the world. NileGuide employs 75 local experts at top destinations to augment, distill and filter content and user ratings from partners such as OpenTable, Citysearch and Frommer's.

NileGuide is a location-based service app, which means the iPhone needs an Internet connection. On the other hand, NileGuide caters to business travelers in mostly metropolitan areas where coverage isn't as big a hurdle as in rural areas or the open road.

"We're not really focused on the 18-to-24 backpacker crowd," says Josh Steinitz, CEO of NileGuide, adding, "More than 50 percent of business trips include a leisure component."

Jibbigo: Voice-to-Voice Translation

If you're in a Spanish-speaking country, China or Japan and can't speak the language, you should take a serious look at Jibbigo, a cool voice-to-voice translation app. Jibbigo apps for different languages (Spanish, Chinese, Japanese) are only available for the iPhone 3GS and a bit pricy, ranging from $25 to $30.

Created by Alex Waibel, a professor of computer science and language technologies at Carnegie Mellon University, Jibbigo apps are arguably the most sophisticated in the App Store. For a complete review of Jibbigo for Spanish, check out's story: Not Bilingual? $25 iPhone App for That Translates Spoken English and Spanish.

Continue Reading

Our Commenting Policies