I have championed and written about Travis the Translator (Travis 1.0) for over a year now. A few weeks back I finally managed to catch up with the team at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, hoping they would have a demo unit of their new product… and I got lucky!
Travis Blue – Go Global, Speak Local.
Following on from their hugely successful first translator, the Dutch company have now launched their second product! The Travis Blue is more of a ‘Lite’ version to the original. Yet it has additional features and an attractive price tag aimed, possibly, at those gap year students heading off to explore the world!
Rather than just a standalone unit, and if the name hasn’t given it away yet, the Blue is a Bluetooth enabled device that works with your smatphone. Primarily as a Bluetooth speaker, but with the translating power of the Travis brand.
There will be a new Travis App (Android & iOS), which will help connect the device and power the voice translation, which is why I referred to it as ‘Lite’. The Blue has been designed to be as affordable and functional as possible. So, where the Travis 1.0 had 80 languages built-in to it for offline use, the Blue will need an internet connection to work!
At first this raised concerns about data roaming fees for users, but as I think about it, and depending where your current contract country is, this might not be that bad! For European Pay Monthly customers, roaming fees were abolished in June 2017. So if you have an EU based contract and travelling within the EU, you will just use your normal data allowance!
Alternatively, you could just use a local Pay as You Go sim when abroad. Problem solved, just do not exceed your agreed data limits. There will also be the small matter of Brexit for those UK users!
The 60 supported languages are:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Sundanese, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu.
Another new feature will be wireless charging! Although the unit will not be shipping with a charging pad, just a Micro USB cable. With many new smartphones having this capability and most owners already having a pad, that will be one less charger you need to pack!
And if you are a portable power pack why not adopt one of my favorite travel hacks!
If you move around with a backpack, why not make one of the pockets a wireless charging pouch for your device! Place the pad in a pocket and feed the cable out into another area where the battery pack is stored. Connect them and just pop your devices into the pocket when not being used, although it will need to be of a smallish size to hold the device against the pad.
The obvious omission is the touch surface and display screen. I had a great demo on the Travis 1.0 during MWC and the screen was a surprising stand out feature. But with costs in mind it hasn’t made a return with the Blue and is instead replaced by three physical buttons in between the speakers.
As the blue is expected to be used as a Bluetooth speaker, the outer casing needed to be strong and durable enough to withstand any knocks. Gone is the sleek and smooth pebble like finish of the original and in is a more rubberized sealed unit.
“Travis was founded by Brend, Nick and Lennart who saw the need to bridge language barriers. In their eyes, a connected more social world starts with understanding. A deeper level of understanding requires intelligent technology and collaboration. So in 2017, they launched Travis the Translator, a device now being used by 50,000 travelers, aid workers, medical staff and more. Now, they bring the latest technology to help the connectors of today to genuinely be present, wherever they are. Travis blue harnesses Bluetooth and is a lighter way of translating all over the world.”
There are no confirmed figures on the final product as the team are still fine tuning the prototype. Hopefully before the end of the crowdfunding campaign we will have further information on the wattage of the speakers and what sort of data usage can be expected for conversations.
What has been stated, although may not make the final product, is that we can expect around 12 hours of battery life and there is a headphone/audio out port. There will be a choice of three colours; Black, Blue and White.
Travis Blue is now available for backing on Indiegogo. A single unit is currently priced at $89 + shipping, which is about a $60 saving of the expected retail price! Shipping is expected to begin in June 2018.
As mentioned earlier, my demo on the Travis 1.0 worked well and delivered a very good user experience. The translation during my English/Spanish conversation was near to instant. If the quoted 2 second response from speech to translated audio remains true, then the Travis Blue could be a very popular device this summer!
Connect with Travis