Private car service provider GroundLink added an Android app to its mobile arsenal, and claimed an industry first.
The Android app, which supplements GroundLink's existing iPhone app, enables consumers to reserve private cars around the world or order them on-demand in New York City, where the company operates its own fleet.
GroundLink says both apps' GPS technology enable users to track the location of the car on a map and provides the projected arrival time as customers wait to get picked up.
Users can select Ride Now to get a car dispatched immediately or Ride Later to make a reservation for a later time, GroundLink says.
"GroundLink can deliver a car within hours to passengers anywhere in the world," the company says.
GroundLink claimed yesterday that much of this is a first. The company stated:
GroundLink, the first global private car service, today announced the launch of the first mobile app that allows people around the world to order private cars with their smartphones. For the first time, consumers can access the world's biggest and highest quality network of ground transportation providers through both the Android and iOS smartphone platforms.
The boasts may be questioned on several levels.
Limos.com also has released iPhone and Android apps that enable users to book private cars globally, although it doesn't own any cars or provide on-demand service such as GroundLink does in New York City.
In addition, GroundLink's own iPhone app was launched in February 2011 so its Oct. 17 press release announcing "today" its "launch of the first mobile app" to accommodate private car bookings on smartphones raises some timing questions.
Asked to comment on the industry "first" claims, a spokeswoman for GroundLink says the company was able to claim a first because its iPhone app was introduced in October 2010, "well in advance of Limos.com's apps."
That indeed is true, but it wasn't what the GroundLink announcement boasted of yesterday.
"Yesterday's launch is GroundLink 2.0, with an Android version (initially iOS only) and new social features such as Share Your Status, Invite Friends etc.," the spokeswoman says.
At any rate, the release of GroundLink's Android app punctuates the fact that car service bookings are increasingly getting mobile.
One interesting feature about GroundLink's car service in New York City, for example, is that it offers flat rates with no surcharges for traffic tie-ups, the company says.
That's great news for the next time your smartphone's GPS feature pinpoints you in a traffic snarl.