Aha — If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic and wanted to know what was going on, Aha is for you. It provides real-time traffic info about your route so you know why there’s a sea of brake lights stretching a mile ahead of you. It also can help find a clean bathroom, a decent cup of coffee or a diner if you’re hungry. But what’s really cool about Aha is it lets you talk to other drivers on the network so you can share real-time info. Of course, you can also blow off steam playing karaoke with your fellow road warriors or sound off in a “shout room” about that moron who cut you off. If there’s no one else on the network, then Aha is little more than a slick way to find a coffee shop or the nearest In-N-Out Burger. But it has the potential to be a truly transformative traffic application.
Two traffic-information apps featured at the Tech Showcase – Aha Mobile Inc. andTrafficCast Inc. – have raised $3 million and $4.5 million, respectively. Both track a user’s location, and serve information accordingly. They face the challenge of how to push information to a driver without causing him to look away from the road. Aha Mobile’s app functions like a radio, where a user sets up preset buttons for various kinds of information, like accident reports. The preset buttons eliminate search, which is dangerous while driving. TrafficCast, on the other hand, offers its traffic and weather updates on TomTom NV’s navigation device.
Their first product is a free iPhone app that provides details on traffic flow, points of interest nearby, and short audio message “shouts” from other drivers who might have useful information about the route ahead.
The Aha Mobile app is designed for ease of use while driving, although they stress it should only be used when traffic conditions permit (and you’ll want to check your state laws relating to cell phone use in the car as well). With large buttons and graphics in a simple interface, it’s easier to pull out relevant information at a glance than trying to make sense of a small map.
If you ever wanted to share your “road rage” while in a traffic jam and broadcast it to all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, now you can. Aha Mobile, which makes a free iPhone app to let you know information around you while your driving – road congestion, nearest gas stations, coffee shop, etc. – just released on Wednesday a national version of its newly-launched service, plus a way to share experiences on the road with social network buddies by simply talking into the iPhone.
Aha Mobile has announced that its free Aha App on the App Store now provides national traffic coverage.
Aha not only creates a custom audio channel for users with relevant traffic reports from traffic providers INRIX and Clear Channel, but also lets users hear from other drivers what they are currently seeing out of their windows.
With the Aha App, drivers simply tap their iPhone, speak for up to 15 seconds and, without taking their eyes off the road, safely broadcast voice tweets, known as Aha Shouts, to drivers nearby. New features launching today also let drivers post Aha Shouts automatically to Twitter and Facebook for others to hear.
Mobile apps that help drivers determine traffic patterns aren’t necessarily new but apps that combine crowdsourcing, voice-based traffic reports and entertainment are definitely worth a second look. Aha Mobile is launching a new version of its iPhone app, which takes a voiced-based, non-map-centric approach to real time traffic reports. In August Aha officiallylaunched its free app in a few select cities but today is launching national traffic coverage and is adding a few entertainment and social media features to the app as well.
Gone are the days when your cellphone was just an innocuous wireless device to help you talk when you are on the road. Today, it is the ultimate gadget which can accomplish so many great things. Occasionally I wonder if people might forget that they could use it to talk too!
THE problem with real-time traffic reporting is that it isn’t very real. A GPS system with traffic monitoring is more likely to alert drivers when they’re already in a traffic jam than to help them avoid one. That is because there is not enough information being fed into the reporting systems to tell where and when snarls occur. But that is changing.
With the introduction this year of applications that turn cellphones into GPS road monitors, traffic alerts may finally begin to work as advertised as more people transmit data into the system.
While the focus of the Top Mobile Applications Awards shifts each year in conjunction with the evolution of the industry they celebrate, the process for determining the finalists remains consistent: After evaluating hundreds of apps according to guidelines including technological innovation, revenue potential and competitive edge, we've come up with an eclectic roster of downloads spanning multiple devices and operating systems, connected by their originality, practicality and personality. They are all applications designed for life.
Aha: Crowd-sourced traffic, with a big-buttoned, simple interface intent on not causing you crash into other people. It'll let you see how traffic is on your preferred driving routes based on input from its users, who can literally yell at their iPhones to record short voice messages about how bad (or awesome, I guess) the roads are. It's only available in a few cities for the time being, but the concept is promising, as are the early reviews.