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Zipcar – Get the Car Anytime, Anywhere !!

best iphone apps, iphone apps reviewsSay you’re at the store and realize you need a bigger car to move the furniture you just bought. Or you just found out that you have to pick up a client for dinner tonight. Zipcar will help you find a bigger or swankier or whatever else kind of car you need anytime, anywhere. Even if your plans are last minute, you can make or cancel reservations right from your iPhone or iPod touch.

Zipcar, a widely used car rental service, has raised the bar with tech-savviness with its new iPhone app, which launched in the App Store this week. Available for free, the Zipcar app automatically lists nearby Zipcar locations on a map. Tapping a location pin displays cars available for rent, as well as their rental fees.

Reserving a car is as easy as clicking one big green button, and the app allows you to sort available cars by time, type and model to make it easier to find the one you want. You can see your upcoming reservations and cancel a car if you don’t need it after all. A fancy feature is called “Drive,” where you can tap buttons to unlock, lock, or even honk the horn of your rental car.

Once you get to your car, you can use the virtual keyfob to help find it in the garage by honking the horn (nice touch); while you still need to use your RFID-equipped Zipcard to activate the car’s remote unlock and ignition system, once you do that at the beginning of your reservation you can put it back in your wallet and use the iPhone to lock and unlock the car. You can also extend your reservation from the iPhone app, as long as there’s open time after your slot ends.

One somewhat quirky thing about the app is that there’s no way to adjust your reservation time window except at the ‘top’ of the car search process; often as not, with the Zipcar website, you may find yourself tweaking the hours of your booking to improve your chances of finding the car you need. The lack of flexibility is noted on the app’s iTunes page under “Coming Soon,” so a future release will probably improve matters here. The Zipcar app requires iPhone OS 3.0 and works on the iPod touch as well, although most features will require a network connection.

Zipcar members are almost as enthusiastic about the service as iPhone owners are about their devices, so this combination is sure to strike sparks. Once you’ve got the Zipcar app downloaded, let us know your road trip experiences via the comments below.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 3:38 am and is filed under iPhone App Reviews, Software Development Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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