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Remember those school reports you had to do in geography class, where you had to look up a bunch of data about local cities and towns? Probably not, because that's a lousy way to learn. Unfortunately, that's the WindowSeat experience too.
It starts out with good intentions -- right before you board your next plane trip, download data about your flight simply by tapping your airport and flight number. Once you're free to use electronic devices on board, WindowSeat offers an ETA for the trip as well as information about landmarks below, in real time, with no need for a Wi-Fi connection or GPS -- your device stays in Airplane Mode, just like the airlines want. If you've ever gazed out the window and wondered, "What's that river? That mountain? That city?" WindowSeat aims to answer these questions.
Problem is...it's kinda boring. The data is scraped from a free encyclopedia and reads like it -- census data, historical facts, and the like, mixed together in one lumpy, lifeless paragraph under a token photo. There's some good info if you go digging (did you know Oakland is the home of both rocky road ice cream and the mai tai cocktail?) but this kind of stuff can and should be presented with more flair and creativity.
The bottom line. With more development, more cities (Santa Barbara, for instance, had no entry -- and it has to be interesting if they based a soap opera there!) and an actual editorial vision, WindowSeat could be interesting, but compared to all the entertaining things you can do with your iPhone on a plane, WindowSeat's current incarnation ranks right alongside a 10-page essay in terms of fun.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.1 or later
Easy to get flight data as you board the plane. Clear, accurate maps.
Painfully boring in both presentation and information. Needs a creative editor to live up to its potential.