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Travel Tech Q&A: Motorola's Barry Smyth

Motorola's Barry Smyth speaks with us about all the "cool new stuff" he can access on his phone while on the road and reveals his dream travel tech.

Motorola's Barry Smyth, regional marketing lead for Australasia, speaks with us about all the "cool new stuff" he can access on his phone while on the road and reveals his dream travel tech.

Barry Smyth
Barry Smyth (Credit: Motorola)

What tech do you travel with and why?

Wow — this is a tough one because at Motorola we get access to all kinds of cool new stuff, which makes working productively on the road very easy and accessible. I obviously can't travel without my smartphone. Right now I'm using the Motorola Atrix. It's such a powerful device on spec, but it's what we do with that power that really matters. I can use the lapdock to immediately get online with a full Firefox browser. We use Google Apps at work so it's really easy for me to access documents and do some light editing in the cloud through a browser. In fact, I can get about 80 per cent of what I need to get done on a day-to-day basis by just using a browser. The Webtop application on Atrix is great for that. Our IT guy loves it too because Motoblur provides added security on top of Android, which gives him some peace of mind! I find I can cover my "on the go" needs with just carrying Motorola Atrix.

What tech do you miss from home when you're away?

I have all of my entertainment needs covered by the cloud, so if I want to watch video or listen to music I can do that from my laptop or smartphone. The only thing I can't carry with me is my surround sound system — I really miss that most.

What's your favourite phone app and why?

From a travel perspective the best apps I have found are both TripIt and Flight Tracker Pro. Both are absolutely essential for any road warrior. TripIt rocks because all I need to do is email my itinerary, they then aggregate all of the flight, car rental and hotel details and upload it to my account, which is then viewable on the TripIt app. I also have TripIt integrated into my Google Calendar so my whole itinerary is then accessible from my Motorola Atrix. My calendar will then have a Google Maps link that will show the best route to my hotel from the airport. TripIt is also integrated with Flight Tracker Pro, which automatically updates me with any flight delays or changes. And all I did was hit send on an email!

What was your biggest travel disaster?

Funnily enough, my biggest travel disaster actually occurred in January on my way home from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I missed a connection from London to Melbourne so I had to stay overnight in a Heathrow hotel. Now, I love London, but Heathrow has never really been high on my bucket list of "places I need to spend the night". Joe from CNET Australia and a bunch of other people from the Aussie mobile industry were in the same boat — misery loves company so that gave me some solace!

But that was just the tip of the iceberg — I was supposed to MC a wedding the day I arrived home so I had to call the groom and tell him that within the following 18 hours, he was going to have to find someone to replace me. I eventually got to the wedding about seven hours late and was at least able to see the happy couple off on their honeymoon!

How do you deal with jet lag?

Three rules: 1) Time your sleep on the plane to coincide with time of your destination. 2) Stay awake when you arrive. At least until early evening. 3) Most importantly, don't be tempted by the free drinks on the plane — you'll regret it!

What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels?

HDTVs on planes with a HDMI output would be great combined with more predictable access to Wi-Fi. This would allow me to run my own personal entertainment content from my device and not have to rely on the sometimes limited content on planes. With everything I have in the cloud, this would make it possible for me to access my content almost anywhere on earth!

Oh, and I saw a "Robonaut" on the news the other day. NASA is developing one that can do repetitive tasks in space. It would be cool to have one of those to carry my bags for me.