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SXSW GO Android app a big help at the Austin fest

by Caitlin M. Foyt

SXSW GO for your Android phone is an interactive map to the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

A 10-day event that includes everything technology, film and music, SXSW is one of the most lengthy and most elaborate convention-type (part festival, part convention, part social media extravaganza) events that you can attend. There's a lot going on, so you can imagine that if you're lucky enough to go, you're going to want to figure out what you'd like to see, and go in with a plan.

That's where SXSW GO comes in. The app gives you the means to get organized, and allows you to both build and view your schedule from your Android phone. You also have access to a map of what's happening; letting you know how to get there, navigate the SXSW trade show, and stay socially connected.

Because there's so much to look through, some might find establishing a schedule to be a bit tedious on your Droid. Therefore, it might be a little more time-efficient to establish the nuts and bolts of your schedule on a desktop, via schedule.sxsw.com. Here, your selections will automatically sync with your mobile device, so your info will always be up to date.

SXSW GO is organized in a sensical way. The very bottom of your phone's screen is like a road map to everything you could possibly need to guide you through SXSW. Clickable tabs include "Schedule," "Places," "Trade Show," "Social" and "My Schedule."

Under both "Schedule" and "Places," the top of the screen lists the date. You can tap the arrows on either side to move forward or backward to find the exact day of happenings you're looking for.

One issue I had with "Places" is that it defaults to MapQuest as its GPS service instead of Google Maps. The feature not only isn't compatible with your phone's default map application, but it also limits your ability to share information.

I wasn't aware that SXSW has a trade show, too, and I could see how this tab might really come in handy. Yet, another massive exhibition at a huge convention, SXSW GO breaks it down for you, listing the vendors by category, in alphabetical order and where they are on the floor.

"Social" is pretty impressive because it streamlines everything people are saying about SXSW during the conference. There's a photo gallery, a Facebook and Twitter feed and something called SX Social, which is a way for registered attendees at SXSW to document their own experience. Because you need a log-in, I wasn't able to take this feature for a spin.

SXSW GO is a very flashy, dynamic and helpful application. If you're lucky enough to attend the conference, don't head out without it.

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