This is about mobile phones and, before your eyes start to glaze over ( :shock: ), may be of interest to travellers in particular. It is specifically about what are known as Android phones or 'Smart Phones'. Android is an operating system based on Linux and created by Google for mobile phones.

Smart Phones are really much more than telephones and more like mini computers. They often have an Internet connection, a camera, a GPS (positioning system) and a large screen.

There are a lot of applications which can be downloaded; mostly free with some requiring purchase although, even then, the purchase usually involves just a small amount around 1 – 5 pounds.

I have just aquired one of these and can see it being very useful indeed on our travels.

These are just a few of the thousands of applications available:

A tube map of London with route planning which, in conjuction with the phone's built in GPS, will tell you where your nearest Tube station is. (FREE)

An application which will display bus stops on a map and will give you the time of the next bus with destination. (£1.79)

An application which will display an Ordnance map (assuming that you can get a good enough signal to connect your phone to the Internet) with your position displayed on it. A boon to anyone walking on our footpaths. (FREE)

An application to give train times from your nearest, or any other, railway station together with the platform number. (£2.95)

Access to Google Maps or openstreetmap.org for street plans of London and other towns both FREE.

That is just a very small sample of what's available.

When your mobile phone is due for replacement think hard before you turn down the option of getting an Android based phone. :soapbox: