You Can Fit 100 Guidebooks in Your Pocket

As paper guidebooks go the way of the fax, the big guys—Lonely Planet, Fodor's, and Frommer's—are racing to design and refine phone and tablet apps. (Lonely Planet already has slick iPhone apps for 74 individual cities.) But we're equally impressed with the new startup players in the digital-travel-guide game. Our favorites: My­CityWay launched its innovative New York City mobile-phone app in 2009, telling customers where to find free Wi-Fi, museum shows, and bathrooms, plus tips on essentials like takeout food. Now it sells iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry apps for about 50 cities worldwide, with more on the way. Launched in 2009, Sutro Media sells nearly 200 iPhone and iPad apps written by former guidebook writers and less conventional experts like tour-bus drivers. Guides are specific (Maui's Best Beaches and Mountain Bike Boston, for example), include embedded videos, and allow users to contact authors., a site for travelers to Southeast Asia, offers a new series of iPhone apps for little-known destinations like Luang Prabang, Laos, and Penang, Malaysia, that feature local experts.

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