Finding out where the next party is, how to get to the next shopping center or what the old building in front of you is – with a smartphone at hand you always have access to information you need on your way. All you need is an adequate mobile data plan and the right apps installed on your handheld. We present ten apps for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that help Berliners and Berlin visitors to get around. At the end of this article you will find recommendations to free WiFi hotspots in Berlin and to cheap mobile data plans (prepaid and postpaid) with a short minimum term commitment of German providers.
Fahrinfo Berlin: Timetables and Maps for Public Transportation
Fahrinfo Berlin is an application for iPhone OS 3.0 devices that has been developed by Metaquark. It offers time table information for the S-Bahn and Underground trains, buses and streetcars in German and English. Users get three suggested connections when entering the name of the station they want to leave from and the name of the station they want to go to. It also shows the public transportation route networks in Berlin. The maps view is rotatable and can be used in landscape mode and links to BVG’s Tram and 24h maps which are not included in the app, though. Furthermore, the departure monitor displays the remaining minutes for current departures instead of the absolute time.
There are two versions of “Fahrinfo Berlin” for iPhone in the iTunes App Store: The basic version is free for download. The “Pro” version that includes push notifications for departures and arrivals and a virtual monocle mode which displays nearby stations is available for EUR 1.59. Push notifications and the monocle mode are features that must be purchased via an an-app purchase.
Urban Art Guide: Guided Art Tours through Selected Districts
Urban Art Guide by Adidas localizes urban artworks (paintings, graffiti, stencils, paste-ups, stickers) in Berlin, offers information on the artworks and the artists, and guides the iPhone user to them. It is available for free at the iTunes App Store in German and English language. Users can let themselves be guided through urban districts in selected tours or send their suggestions to the editorial staff directly via their iPhone. Furthermore, users can browse through all the artworks in the Urban Art Guide gallery and rate pictures, comment on them, and recommended them to others.
Museumsführer Berlin: Search for Exhibitions by Category
The Museumsführer Berlin by Peter Delius Verlag is available for the iPhone, the iPod Touch or the iPad for EUR 2.39. From the Pergamon Museum and the Bode Museum on the famous Museumsinsel in the city center to the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz or the Liebermann Villa at Wannsee – this iPhone app lists moren than 200 museums with short descriptions to it, to some of its masterpieces, to current exhibitions and to bars, cafés and restaurants close by. With the “Museumsführer Berlin” app iPhone users can search for exhibitions by category, find them on the Berlin map, dial directly the phone number of the museum or set-up their own to-do-list.
However, iPhone users do not get to know entrance fees in advance with this app. And the information given is only in German, even though it is self-declaring for most people speaking other languages.
Zitty App: Event Guide for Berlin
Zitty is a quite well-known event guide for Berlin providing reviews and information about where to eat out or to party at night, what bands are giving a concert, what movies are playing or what plays are staged at the moment and where to go with your kids. It shows the events on a Berlin map and allows for a search for other interesting events in the vicinity. The information given will be updated every two weeks and can also be used offline. However, users cannot read all the articles of the print version of this city mag with this app. The Zitty app for Berlin is still pretty new and may still appear more like a demo version for testing to some users – but it is available for free.
Qype: Tipps from the Community
Articles and recommendations of the user-generated local review site Qype can now also be read on the Apple iPhone. The location aware application Qype Radar is available via the iTunes store for free. With Qype Radar on the iPhone users can search for interesting places and services in the German capital. First, the respective present location of the user is determined by GPS, then Qype Radar shows the relevant entries with further information such as address, phone number, web address as well as photos and ratings of others. Alternatively, users can also search for entries pertaining not to their own but to another location.
Qype contains user generated reviews of more than four million locations in Germany, in German, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The iPhone application Qype Radar contains more than 500,000 entries for places in Germany and other countries. On m.qype.com reviews and recommendations can also be read with other cell phones.
Tripwolf: Travel Guide with Tips from the Community
Tripwolf is a mobile travel guide that contains expert information from travel guide publishers such as Marco Polo or Footprint and combines it with tips from the community of registered travelers worldwide. The app gives you access to over 500,000 points of interest from around the globe. It allows you to search for any country, region or city in the world and download the entire travel guide directly onto your iphone. Since it is possible to use the Tripwolf travel guide online or offline, there is no need for a special data plan in order to avoid high data roaming charges when being in a foreign country.
The tripwolf iphone app can be used with or without registration for the community and is available for free at the iTunes App Store. All country, region and city guides are also available for free. In “Guest Mode” users will not be able to write reviews, vote for their favorite destinations, upload pictures or add newly discovered places for other Berlin visitors. The Tripwolf premium guides are add-free and contain more information than the besic versions are available for download at cost.
Cityscouter: A Companion during Sightseeing Trips
cityscouter.com has developed a number of applications which allow the iPhone user to find hotels near their current location as well as a number of travel guides. The cityscouter iPhone travel guide app for Berlin offers information such as price, opening hours, reviews and tips as well as photos for all major city attractions, information about hundreds of restaurants, nightlife and shopping possibilities, and information on the location of public transport stations and lines throughout the city. Point of interest search allows the user to find nearby public attractions nearest to his or her current location. The iPhone user is able to mark interesting attractions, restaurants and hotels during or before the trip as “want to visit” or “have visited”.
All information is given in both English and German. The cityscouter travel guide for Berlin is designed to be used offline, so that the foreign user is not charged any expensive roaming fees. The cityscout ertravel guide also features zoomable maps of the city inside the application which are useable without an internet connection, a currency converter for the world’s most popular currencies. The cityscouter travel guide can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store for EUR 3.99.
Berlin Unlike City Guide
A team of culture-savvy journalists and fashion, art and music professionals recommend the highlights of Berlin with constantly updated information, over 600 location listings, images and events written in punchy reviews. All the information is given in English. Location-based technology allows users of the Berlin Unlike City Guide app to search for restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, museums and shops in proximity to the user’s current location. The app can be used online and offline, so there is no need for an expensive data roaming or a WiFi connection. However, users are charged EUR 4.99 when downloading the Berlin Unlike City Guide app to their iPhone. Further features include: Save all location information directly to contacts, bookmark any location, or browse by district or category.
AroundMe: Quickly Find out Information about Surroundings
The app AroundMe is available for free at the iTunes App Store and quickly identifies the iPhone or iPad users position via GPS and allows him or her to choose the nearest bank, bar, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theater, restaurant, supermarket, theater and taxi. The app shows a complete list of all the businesses in the category the user has tapped on along with the distance from where he or she is. For every listing the user can choose to see its location on a map, view the route from where he or she is, add the information to his or her contact list or even email the information to a friend. The Nearby listing allows him or her to find information using Wikipedia about what is around him or her. Note: An iPod Touch remember does not have a built-in GPS receiver and therefore it cannot locate its current position accurately. The new AroundMe version 3.5.3 also offers an augmented reality mode.
Marcellino’s: Gourmet Guide for Berlin
Marcellino’s Restaurant und Hotel Report Lite for Berlin is a gourmet guide app for Berlin that can be used on the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad with iPhone OS 3.0. It offers information to 350 restaurants, bistros, bars, cafés and hotels. Users can look for the closest or the right location by several categories of “I am in the mood of …”, see pictures of it, find it on Google Maps and make an online reservation. The Marcellino’s editorial staff has collected guests’ judgements as well as contact details of the locations. iPhone users can also participate and comment on the places they have visited. The basic version is free of charge. The complete version of Marcellino’s Berlin app with information about more than 1,400 locations costs EUR 5.99 for a twelve months subscription.
Air Berlin’s Mobile Services: More Convenient Way to Check in
There is a more convenient way for Air Berlin passengers to access Air Berlin’s mobile services via the new mobile website mobile.airberlin.com. Air Berlin passengers can check in by mobile in just three steps when they are out and about: log in, reserve a seat, have the boarding pass sent to the mobile. The boarding pass is sent directly to the passenger’s mobile. The boarding pass contains a bar code that is scanned in from the mobile phone at the gate, together with all the important passenger information, such as name and flight number. In addition, further flight arrival and departure information, as well as the booking history, are available at a single click. The mobile website is compatible with all internet-capable mobiles.
This month Air Berlin will also launch a free app for the iPhone. Features of this app will be the pages of offers and augmented reality specials as well as the possibility for Air Berlin passengers to check in.
Test Berlin Apps at Gravis Flagship Store in Berlin
Apple products specialist Gravis has opened an App Bar in its store at Ernst-Reuter-Platz 9 in Berlin. Customers may test around 300 applications for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad and then decide whether they want to download to their device. Members of the Gravis staff also give advice when asked for it.