I’m sure many of us lost hours of previous vacation time wandering the streets of an unfamiliar city wishing we had a smartphone with ready access to the Internet. There’s good news for travelers who are headed to Hong Kong: Handy, a new smartphone rental service, has officially launched in the city, offering unlimited 3G service, local and international calls on its Samsung Galaxy Note or Nexus devices.
Handy maintains that its service is the “only one of its kind in the world”, though it’s certainly not the first company to rent out smartphones. It does, however, do more than just provide a device, as it has preloaded guides for tourists and will also offer exclusive deals from partnerships around the city.
Special offers include discounts on tours, massage packages, and tasting menus. Much like an Amazon device, those deals could actually help subsidize the cost of the rental by providing a secondary source of revenue for Handy.
Speaking of which, Rentals start at $9 (HK$68) a day, though a current promotion that runs through the end of the month brings the price down to an affordable HK$18. Of course, a deposit is required, and it will be kept if the device is lost or stolen. One generous feature is the inclusion of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB tethering support.
Terence Kwok, the CEO and founder handy’s holding company Think Labs, called the product “the next exciting chapter in travel technology.” He said the soft opening was “incredibly successful” and reached near-perfect customer satisfaction during the trial.
Handy is launching with two service counters at the Hong Kong International Airport and has plans to add additional distribution channels in coming months. Currently, the only devices on offer are the Galaxy Note and Nexus, though the company is looking into other devices as well.
Think Labs says that Handy is “the first step” in its goal to meet the needs of global travelers, so it’s possible that the service could make its way to other cities if successful. We’ve contacted them to ask and will update if we hear back from them.
Image via Pond 5