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Rough Guides jumps into mobile guide market

Travel publisher Rough Guides took its tentative first step into the mobile travel guide app market last week, launching Rough Guide apps to four cities.

The new guides hit the Apple App Store April 11 and are available for London, Paris, New York and Rome.

Each features listings such as sights, bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, presumably taken from the print editions of the guides, along with GPS maps so that visitors can see the whereabouts of destinations and navigate to them.

The apps also include the functionality to share specific points of interest via email, create "favorites" lists and view all of the images in the app in a gallery.

It's the first step Rough Guides has taken beyond its World Lens app, a free photography gallery which has been available for iPhone and iPad since November and clocked up over 100,000 downloads.

However, by the standard of the brand's best-known rival, it's chronically late entering the app market - Lonely Planet launched its first iPhone city guides back in 2009 and now has an impressive number of guides to cities around the world available on both the iPhone and Android platforms.

Now that both brands are competing for travelers' attention, it will be interesting to see if their pricing is affected.

The Rough Guides London, Paris, New York and Rome Apps are available now for €2.39/$2.99, while comparable guides from Lonely Planet cost €4.99/$5.99.