Friday, March 23, 2012

Nokia Transport (London) for Windows Phone 7 review

Nokia has recently rolled out the free Nokia Transport for Windows Phone 7 app, exclusive for their Lumia range of smartphones. Nokia Transport (formerly known as Nokia Public Transport) is also available for Symbian devices.

With location services pretty much the focus of everyone's attention now, the release of Nokia Transport couldn't be better timed. The app integrates with Nokia Maps in order to provide routing capability to the user via the city's public transport system. For this review I will be focusing on Nokia Transport in London, as that is where I happen to live (well nearby, anyway).

The key ingredient to how well Nokia Transport works is how simple it is to use. The app immediatedly detects your current position. You only need to enter your destination and it will do some number crunching (presumeably on Nokia's server) before displaying your route using the quickest method of travel. These routes are presented in a simple manner displaying the relevant transport required to complete the journey in clear big text, whether it be a bus or train or on foot. On foot routes can also be optionally displayed on Nokia Maps.

As Nokia Transport has just exited beta, it is easy to dismiss any shortcomings but I will list some of them here as feedback. One of the biggest problem with Nokia Transport, is that by aiming to provide the simplicity, key options had to be sacrificed. In fact, it is simply too simple. For one, in its current iteration it lacks the ability to prioritise transport type. I prefer not taking the bus if possible but unfortunately Nokia Transport does not allow me to remove buses from their route calculation. Similarly some people may prefer to take the bus because it is cheaper.
Another problem with Nokia Transport that I noticed is it does not notify the user of a major problem on the transport network. For example the Jubilee Line was completely knackered yesterday morning, and yet Nokia Transport suggested I take the Jubilee Line despite it being more convenient to take the London Overground.

In London, the National Rail is well integrated into the London's public transport network, allowing us to use our Oyster Card to complete the journey. For people who live in certain parts of London, the National Rail is an important part of their daily journey and the lack of National Rail integration would be a huge issue for these people. Where I live, I wouldn't be able to go into Central London if it weren't for the National Rail. The lack of integration of certain National Rail routes in Nokia Transport is a huge oversight.

Nokia Transport is a free app for Lumia owners, so I shouldn't be complaining a lot. After all it does work, and work well it does, as long as you use the relevant transport system and are aware of its limitations.

Don't own a Nokia Lumia? A great alternative is London Travel which costs only £0.79 and offers you a slew of features missing from Nokia Transport, including everything I mentioned above, plus more. Look out for a full review here in the near future.

In the meantime, you can try Nokia Transport on your device, assuming you own a Nokia Lumia. Just search for Nokia Transport on the Marketplace.

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