On my recent trip to Singapore when I stayed at the Ibis Bencoolen, I was greeted to a special experience on entering my hotel room. Normally, I would just throw my bags on the floor and relax on the bed for a while. This time around, I was surprised to see a Google Nexus 4 phone called ‘Handy’ next to my bed and shining under the light of the bedside lamp. How often do you see a mobile phone on checking into a hotel room? This was my first and with piqued curiosity, I looked closer at the phone and found that it offered a whole lot of stunning features and functionality.
It offered me with:
1) Unlimited local and international calls
2) Unlimited 3G mobile internet, which was at pretty high speeds and through which, I could form a mobile hotspot and tether my other devices.
3) A helpful travel guide of Singapore that included maps, restaurants, shopping, hotel directory and much more.
4) Hotel numbers on fast dial in case I get lost in the city or am unable to find my way back to the hotel.
5) And all the features and applications that we normally use on our phones, all fully loaded.
And the best part is that all these cost only 15 SGD per day. If I had to get a local sim, I would have had to pay a fee for it. And then, I would have had to activate data, international calling and much more. And all this would cost me additional. When I normally make international trips, I make calls back home, I need to access the internet for work, for maps and for using the apps on my phone.
I used this phone thoroughly for 24 hours : made calls to India, made local calls to my friend, called the hotel desk many a time, used the 3G for maps, created a wi-fi hotspot and connected my laptop and my phone to it, used the restaurant guide, used the night clubbing guide and much more. I really thrashed the features of this phone and was super happy with the results.
I feel that the Handy is ideal for short business trips and for short holidays as it will work out much cheaper if you are the call and data indulging type. And fairly cheap even if you use some features. It also allows you to use your local phone for emergencies or incoming text. The tethering feature also allows you to stay connected on the move. The only drawback is one that is with all smartphones, which is battery life and which you can counter by carrying an additional battery back.
Right now, this service is available at some hotels in Singapore and Hong Kong. I think with a strong travel invention such as the Handy Travel Phone, that day is not far away when we will find it at many hotel chains across the world. If I hear right, the Handy is coming to India too. That day would be a special one for the Indian hospitality industry.