Attention, Android Aficionados: OpenTable for Android 2.5 Has Arrived!

We’ve been hard at work on improving our Android smartphone experience. Today, we have a terrific update to share in the form of OpenTable for Android 2.5. In addition to bug fixes, here are the savory bits, along with a screenshot slideshow (below).

Maps have been completely overhauled to leverage Google Maps v2. This provides a much richer maps experience while reducing pin clutter (Thank you, measles!). You can now also use the maps when looking at a location other than your current one. Easter egg: drag the map to another area and tap to initiate a new search.

Also, you’ve begged. You’ve pleaded. You’ve protested outside our offices. Well, no, you didn’t actually do that last part. Despite that, we’ve (Finally!) added the ability to add your reservations to your calendar!* There’s now no excuse to miss your dinner with mom.

Navigation, too, is improved and major actions (favorites, my OpenTable, and map view) have been moved into the top bar. You can now navigate to previous screens by tapping on the icon on the upper left.

Finally, we’ve taken another pass at the restaurant profile pages. Improvements include:

* You can now modify your date, time and party size directly on the page – no need to hop back and forth!
* Restaurant menus and reviews now load faster than before.
* Overall restaurant rating has been added.

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Even better than all of this? We’re not done yet! Keep an eye out for more updates coming to an Android near you.

*Add to calendar functionality is supported on Android 4.0 phones and higher.

Josh Garnier is the Mobile Product Manager for Android and Windows Phone.

Siri Personal Assistant: A Voice App That Lets You Speak to OpenTable

Siri-on-OpenTable-MobileMobile makes a great proving ground for testing new usability concepts. Two years ago we pondered our own: showing you OpenTable restaurants with availability around your current location, beating the traditional phone at its own game. Since we started on OpenTable Mobile in 2008, we’ve seated more than 2 million diners via our mobile applications. Concept proven.

Over a year ago, we were approached by Siri, who wanted to take a fresh approach to voice recognition. Their goal was to make voice search contextually relevant (more so than the “Call home.” cliché) and actionable with third-party services. Siri wanted to tap into the vast network of OpenTable restaurants and prove their model through a use case everyone can understand – making a reservation. I have to admit some of us here were a little skeptical and thought we’d have to speak like a robot to make it work. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we spoke a natural but complicated phrase — “Find a table for two at Bambino’s this Saturday at 7PM,” — and Siri came back with a relevant response. From there, the reservation was confirmed in no time.

Siri took this usability concept one step further by responding to your queries on screen, rather than reading it back to you in monotone, which we all know would be an embarrassing experience in public. (By the way, if Siri makes an Auto-Tune version, I’ll go from being embarrassed to insisting it speak back to me.)

You may be wondering if Siri can do more than just search for a specific restaurant (incidentally, our forthcoming iPhone update will let you type in the name of a restaurant and reserve it right then and there). Try saying, “Show me Italian restaurants around here with tables tonight,” and feel a smile cross your face when Siri does just that. Siri is leading the field in voice recognition, and OpenTable is proud to be part of proving this incredible concept.

Have you tried Siri yet? Let us know what you think here or over on Facebook.

Josh Garnier is an OpenTable Product Manager.