WorldMate, the popular travel planning and organizational service, has expanded its mobile reach onto the iPhone. The two different versions of the app, which were released late Tuesday night (one free, and a premium version that costs a hefty $19.99), give travelers tools to create and track travel itineraries including flights, hotel reservations, rental cars, and any appointments along the way.
The two versions of the app offer identical functionality for core parts of WorldMate's service, like a flight search tool, world clock list, currency conversion, and a heads-up display on what's on your schedule. However, the paid "gold" version comes without any kind of advertising. Feature-wise, it also adds niceties like an automatic flight status checker that, with the soon-to-be-released iPhone OS 3.0, will send you an alert if there's a delay or cancellation of your flight. It also plugs into Google Maps to tack together a rich map with all the places you're visiting on your trip.
Until it gets the live notifications, users of both versions will simply have to use the one-click "check flight status" link. This checks information against WorldMate's delay and cancellation tracker. It also lets you know about any last-minute gate changes.
The app is quite polished and ran smoothly on my phone. You can get more full-featured versions of the productivity tools that are included in the app by using other, standalone iPhone applications, however WorldMate's strength is that it puts all of those things in one package. This may seem like a trivial matter, but since the iPhone does a lousy job at multitasking, it's nice to have a Swiss army app equivalent.
WorldMate faces competition from TripIt, which has had its own iPhone app since mid-April. It does many of these things in a free package. However, it does not yet have its own notification service. Instead, it takes any delay notifications you get from your carrier and updates its own information. It's also tied into third-party services (via its API) that can alert you to potential changes to your travel plans.