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Continental Ushers In the Future of Traveler Dialog

Daily_essentialsAs blogged months ago by The Mobile Weblog and reported today by the New York Times (registration required), Continental Airlines is beginning a 3-month trial allowing passengers at Houston-based Bush Intercontinental Airport to board flights with just their mobile phones. The article goes on to describe how the new service works.

In the article, Forrester Research VP Henry H. Harteveldt is quoted as saying that “...It’s clear that mobile is the gateway to how airlines will interact with their customers in the future for almost anything.”

This is the latest example of how the mobile phone -- like social networks -- are fast becoming digital "swiss army knives".

Both help you make simple, fast connections with people and places you trust. Both platforms (especially since MySpace joined in yesterday) enable third parties to provide applications that create new ways to interact and have fun. While there is certainly a lot of widget spam (Andrew Chen provides an interesting analysis here) -- it reminds me a lot of the early days of Apple and IBM software: lots of crapware! But in Guy Kawasaki's spirit of letting a thousand flowers bloom -- software developed in-house usually sucks, but every time you let developers in, amazing things happen!

I think Continental's application is going to work for one reason: people are always looking for ways to save time. Would-be Web 2.0 entrepreneurs would do well to consider Continental's example.

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