Wednesday, February 2, 2011

m-Indicator

In conversing with a friend in Mumbai, we heard about this neat little Java app called m-Indicator. We tried it out on a Nokia feature phone, and we were pretty impressed – it basically contains all the info that you could possibly want for travelling inside the great city of Mumbai. From what we have seen, this App could be useful for anybody new to the city, as well as seasoned Mumbaikars trying to obtain more details on the train/bus routes within the sprawling city.

Hold up a minute, though. We mentioned a Java application, didn’t we? Yes, we did. In trying to see if there’s an Android version, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there’s a specific Java-built, Android-packaged version for Android phones, which runs inside a Java emulator. The important thing to note (for budget conscious Indians, like us!) is that this App does not use any form of GPRS or Internet connectivity on the phone. All the details are contained inside the App, and no network connectivity is required. However, the App states that it must send an SMS from your phone to register (more on that further down in this review) and it looks like your number is taken up for advertising. However, till now, we have not been plagued with advertisers pertaining to this act of installing and registering this App. Click the button below to join us as we take you through a smorgasbord of screenshots, depicting the various functions of this App.

Note : This App is available in .JAR (Java) form for various platforms, as well as a native app for Blackberry phones, and a semi-native app for Android phones. This review is of the Android app.

Download and Installation

To get the App, you’ll have to visit the mobond website. You can alternatively hit up m.mobond.com on your phone’s web browser too. As can be seen from the screenshots below, the app prompts for the installation of the J2ME Runner app, which is required. Tapping the option to download it from the Android Market resulted in a nice, sweet “There are no matches…” error. We had to obtain the app from the Netmite website. That worked fine. After installation, you can run the m-Indicator app, which asks your permission to send an SMS. There’s no two ways about this – if you choose to not send any SMSes, the app will display an error and close. So you better be willing to shell out the necessary paisa for sending SMSes, if you want to use this app. Once the app and the J2ME emulator has been installed, opening and using the app is hassle-free. You don’t need to mess with the emulator at all – it runs in the background, making this app work beautifully.

m-Indicator - Install 01 m-Indicator - Install 02 m-Indicator - Install 03 m-Indicator - Install 04 m-Indicator - Install 05 m-Indicator - Install 06 m-Indicator - Install 07 m-Indicator - Install 08

The main homescreen of the app has six options that can be selected – Local Train Timetable, BEST Routes, PNR Status, Mumbai Auto Fare, Mumbai Taxi Fare, Mega Block Info. Each of these options has information that is pretty useful. We’ve painstakingly taken screenshots of every aspect of using each of these options, and have split this review into sections to discuss each option.

Local Train Timetable

As the name signifies, this option gives you info on the suburban trains that run within Mumbai. Boy, is this a useful option. When this option is selected, you are then presented with a series of selections – the “line” that you want info for, the direction towards which you want to travel, and the station from which you wish to start. On making these selections, you get a list of trains passing through the selected station, along the train line specified by you. The app also indicates if it is a fast train or not. Upon selecting a particular train time, you get the times when that particular train is expected to stop at every subsequent station. Why bother with our long-winded explanation?! Seriously, just take a look at the screenshots below (Click them to open larger versions in a new window)

m-Indicator - Train Route 01 m-Indicator - Train Route 02 m-Indicator - Train Route 03 m-Indicator - Train Route 04 m-Indicator - Train Route 05 m-Indicator - Train Route 06

BEST Routes

Obtaining BEST (Bombay Electric Supply and Transport company) bus routes are obtained in a manner similar to obtaining the suburban train routes and timings. Select the BEST Routes option from the main homescreen of the app to begin. Then you get the following option screens : Choose if you want to locate route by bus number or provide the source and destination to obtain a list of available buses, then if you provide the source and destination, a list of bus route numbers are displayed; you can select any of the bus route numbers to get a full list of the stops for that particular bus route. Feel free to go through the screenshots below.

m-Indicator - BEST Routes 01 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 02 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 03 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 04 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 05 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 06 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 07 m-Indicator - BEST Routes 08

One thing we’d like to add – an app of this level of detail may simply not be possible in a city like Bangalore, Chennai or Hyderabad. Thanks to BEST, this app is bang on target.

PNR Status

This is very simply a no-brainer. It is also the only feature of this app that can be used by any citizen of India – instead of calling up Railways enquiry and having to contend with the IVR, and wait for the reply. Again, this PNR enquiry system does not use your GPRS/EDGE/3G connection – it sends the request via SMS. There’s nothing complex here – just select the option to enter a PNR, and you’re good to go.

m-Indicator - PNR enquiry  01 m-Indicator - PNR enquiry  02

Mumbai Auto Fare

The Mumbai Auto Fare section may not be entirely useful for seasoned Mumbaikers who are well versed with the fares of the city (or who carry tariff cards in their handbags!). For anyone else – this is a boon. Not only would it show you the rates, but it would also estimate the total possible fare for a journey – assuming you know the distance that you are going to be needing for the auto.

m-Indicator - Mumbai Auto Fare  01 m-Indicator - Mumbai Auto Fare  02 m-Indicator - Mumbai Auto Fare  03 m-Indicator - Mumbai Auto Fare  04

Mumbai Taxi Fare

Very similar to the “Mumbai Auto Fare” option, the Mumbai Taxi Fare option provides you with details regarding the possible amounts that can be incurred when using taxis in the bustling city of Mumbai. Hit up the option, select the distance – and you get the details. It’s as simple as that.

m-Indicator - Mumbai Taxi Fare 01 m-Indicator - Mumbai Taxi Fare 02 m-Indicator - Mumbai Taxi Fare 03 

System settings and options

As far as settings and options go, available stuff in this app is minimal. There is an option to “Upgrade” the app, if newer versions are available. There is a “Help” section which details every one of the above-mentioned functions of the app – very useful if The Indian Geek wasn’t here to take care of this for you. From the “Settings” option, you can actually unsubscribe for SMS alerts – but like we told you at the beginning of this review, unsubscribing disables the App, and it becomes pretty useless. Pressing the Android menu button inside this app brings up a Java emulator =System Menu= which has various options for emulation of the app. We never really got down to playing around in this section – but you can let your geeky nature take over here, if you like (View this menu in the 7th screenshot below).

m-Indicator - 01 Menu options m-Indicator - 02 Exit prompt m-Indicator - 03 Settings m-Indicator - 04 Unsubscription warning m-Indicator - 05 Send SMS prompt m-Indicator - 06 Help m-Indicator - 07 System menu options m-Indicator - 08 About info

Finally, there’s an “About” section which shows details like the version of the App, and the developer – Mobond.

Wrap-up

There’s not much that we can say about the functionality of the App – as is evident from the screenshots and our review, the app works beautifully. It is a definite must-have if you live in Mumbai or if you plan on taking a trip to (or through) Mumbai. There’s no doubt about that. With regards to the look, feel and other App-like functions, we were really surprised to see that a semi-emulated Java app actually functions so well inside Android. Truly – that is a big plus for us, and it says a lot about the efficiency of the developers. Further, with an Indian-focussed mentality, they’ve not made the app use GPRS – using SMSes instead. For these kind of tiny niceties alone, we’d rate the app highly. Throw in the extreme usefulness of the app – and it seriously becomes one of the “cannot live without” type of apps. Go ahead and download it. Do let us know your thoughts and experiences with the app below.

2 comments:

Madhu Sinha said...

hello friends,
Just came across an excellent mobile application !!!

I have been using MintM mobile app for my shopping and was quite impressed. We can find shopping list with the relevant discounts& offers of the shops which we are entering in.

Free download URL : www.mintmapp.com/mobile
 
This application REWARDS FOR WINDOW SHOPPING TOO ....... :)This application reached top 16th rank in Google play especially in free shopping category....
 

ramnivas kushvaha said...

I have used many applications related to mumbai train and bus service and found that all of them have something missing. There is one application which fills many of the gaps that other application have.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kholusoft
The key features that I like about this app are

1. Ability to search buses from one area of mumbai to another area of mumbai. The applications available on android market provide search only from one bus stop to other bus stop. This is a great feature of this application. If you want to go from andheri to chembur, you can search all the buses which passes from andheri and chembur both.

2. It provide estimated bus fare and distance which all other applications lack at this time.

3. If there is no bus available from one stop to other stop which is very common, it breaks the journey. It shows which bus to take from source bus stop, where to switch bus, and which bus to board to reach final bus stop. This is the best feature about this app, I think.

4. It shows all local trains available from one station to other within a time range. It also shows that from which platform you need to board on train at what time, and when you will reach to destination.

5. In many cases we want to go from one station to other which are not on same line. If you need to go from one line to other line, the application will suggest the right stop on which you should switch the line. This feature of this application is very powerful which many other android app of this category lacks.

Post a Comment