This app exchanges your free time for mobile credits, and it just raised $2.5M

pocket money pokkt india start

Indian startup Pokkt (Pocket) has come up with a unique way to enable mobile payments in emerging markets, where credit card penetrations are low.

Essentially, it has created a marketplace for consumers to get apps, games, and other digital content without paying a single cent. Instead, they pay with their time by consuming content from some 100 advertisers, who pay to plug into the platform.

Pokkt wants to achieve two things: besides giving consumers easier access to digital content, it also provides developers a way to monetize from users who use their apps for free.

To do that, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone developers get access to Pokkt’s software development kits (SDKs) which allow easy integration between their apps and Pokkt. Part of the money coming from advertisers goes to developers.

Now, the Mumbai-based startup is kicking its operations into a higher gear. It has just raised a US$2.5 million series A round led by JAFCO Asia, a Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm, along with SingTel Innov8, Jungle Ventures, and serial entrepreneur Ganesh Krishnan.

Serving time

It also launched a new product this month: Pocket Money, a consumer-facing Android app in which users consume advertisers’ content in exchange for credits. They can then use the money to redeem mobile recharges on India’s major telcos like Aircel, Airtel, and Tata Docomo.

Pocket Money differs from Pokkt’s current products by offering users a dedicated app to consume and redeem items. In the past, consumers could only receive content by using specific apps made by Pokkt’s developer network.

The startup has seen increased usage. It now has between 8,000 to 10,000 transactions a day – defined as completed redemptions – up from 500 a day in the first quarter after it launched in October last year, says Pokkt founder and CEO Rohit Sharma. It aims to grow to 100,000 transactions a day within the year.

Sharma will use the new cash infusion to push further into Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Thailand. Right now, most of Pokkt’s consumers live in India. He also plans to add between five to 10 developers to the platform a week.

Pocket Money is a stepping stone to the startup’s vision of fluid digital payments in developing countries. While users can only redeem mobile credits for now, the status quo won’t stay for long.

“Now it’s just mobile top-ups. Eventually, we’ll let users redeem games, movies, and even stuff that’s offline,” says Sharma. For instance, consumers could eventually get cash on Pocket Money, paid for by advertisers, and use that to redeem a special item in his favorite Pokkt-integrated mobile game.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Pakistan startup hopes for a global win with 2014 World Cup scoring and text commentary app

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

One Pakistan startup believes that since people can’t get enough of the World Cup, they want more apps related to it. And so Pantera Engineering has come out with 2014 Football Cup Companion, which it touts as the most useful and comprehensive scoring, tables, and text commentary app for the 2014 World Cup. It’s available in English and around the world.

Yes, the app’s name isn’t sexy, which is due to the inevitable legal issues in using words like FIFA or World Cup.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

Pantera Engineering specializes in mobile app development. The team was part of the second batch of startups that graduated from the Plan 9 incubator in Lahore. Farooq Saeed, the co-founder Pantera Engineering, explains his motives behind building the free – and ad-free – app despite there being a number of others, including one from FIFA, already out there.

We noticed that a lot of things were missing in those apps and there was no single comprehensive app which provided all the information in one single interface. Especially the live feed during the match was either non existent or was not up to the mark.

The team was further motivated by the news that the official football for the World Cup, the ‘Brazuca’ was made in Pakistan. They wanted to make an app which would not only be the best available but would also help in building a better image of their country.

Saeed tells us that the app is seeing healthy traffic from Europe and South America, as well as interest from at home.

2014 Football Cup Companion is free for Android and iPhone.

2014 Football Cup Companion app for World Cup scores and live text commentary

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Android Lollipop 5.0? – What to Expect from the Next Version of the OS?

 

There is no stopping Google from “accidentally” leaking its upcoming devices and software. The tech giant leaked the supposed Android version 5.0 through an image posted in the company’s Twitter account.

Android-LollyPop

According to the International Business Times, the screenshots show three phones with the match scores and schedules for the 2014 World Cup.

However, the system clock time was set to 5:00. In some previous Android OS releases, Google teased 2.3 with a phone that had a clock time of 2:30, and all devices listed on Google Play Store have 4:40 on the clocks; they ship with Android 4.4. KitKat.

Whether it’s Android 5.0 or 4.5, there is no real indication of the dessert-based name that will follow it. Having surprised everyone with its decision to go for Android 4.4 KitKat, speculation suggests Google will revert back to its generic naming convention by calling the next installment Android Lollipop.

Expected Features

Google will have its annual Google I/O developer conference later this month. The company may reveal Android Lollipop then.

Its expected features may be a major update from KitKat. Smart phones right now run on Google’s Android KitKat 4.4, the latest update in the line of candy-themed mobile operating systems. Every year in June the Google developers’ conference releases updates to its products and this year is no different. It is expected that updated features to Google Glass, the smart watch line and the range of Nexus smart phones will include Android Lollipop.

After collaborating with Nestle to release Android 4.4 KitKat, in September, last year, minor updates were released to correct bugs and fix issues with the operating system and apps. Rumored to be revising the approach it takes to web apps, images have been leaked showing what Lollipop looks like.

Project Hera, Google’s effort to unify the Chrome browser with Android and Search is also set to debut in June. The project is designed to revamp the experience for Android users who run Google’s Search and Chrome apps on their smartphones, and a major user-interface revamp is also expected.

Google is also expected to integrate HTML 5 in the software that will enable users to multi-task or open and run apps and widgets at the same time.

The next version of Android OS also plans on making OK Google, its voice search assistant, as competent as Siri, calling it Ok Google Everywhere, but integrating it deeply into the OS itself.

Reports added that the next version of Android OS will definitely support new processor and graphics chipset. Support for 64 bit-processors makes running Android smooth on devices with 2 to 4GB RAM. Android 4.4 KitKat currently runs on 512 MB RAM and Google plans to add a few additional features to make the next version better. With cross compatibility in case of mobile networks, improvements in camera features, and better audio and video experience, Google’s Lollipop is aiming to be better than KitKat. The gaming community will experience smoother multi-tasking, while an improved battery life increases performance, allowing users to support and write data on micro SD cards.

As Apple gears to launch the iWatch, Google has plans to integrate Lollipop with its wearable range of smart wear. Google Glass and the smart watch range are expected to run on Android Lollipop, but reports suggest that there may be a new wearable application that monitors devices that are connected to the smart phone. With Lollipop, these features will work better without draining the battery and data.

Security also seems to be an area of focus for Android. It is currently being targeted by mobile malware, making security its biggest concern. Apps from the PlayStore usually are loaded with bloatware, making users vary of the store itself. Preferring to use the .apk (install-able) files instead of downloading the apps, Google is losing customers who download apps from the PlayStore. Android Lollipop aims to fix this issue by setting up a rigid app selection system. Handling data with fingerprint sensors and face unlock will make Lollipop better than KitKat. More features are expected to be included in Android Lollipop, but users will have to wait for a few more days to hear more of it.

We may also see the announcement of Android Silver which will replace the popular Nexus range of products. That’s a little less likely than the Android Wear announcement but it’s all on the cards. Google I/O 2014 takes place from June 25 and 26 in San Francisco.

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

Intellistats, An Android App To Monitor Your Phone Usage

Just recently, I came to know that almost 70% of my calls were outgoing, all thanks to Intellistats, an Android application developed by Arbisoft, a Lahore-based software house.

Intellistats is an app that collects information about your phone usage on voice, SMS messages and data. Then it organizes the collected information and statistics in different categories, ready for analysis in the form of graphs. In its main screen, it gives a quick overview of your phone usage.

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You can set different kinds of time filters – for example, monthly or weekly filters – in order to analyze the stats according to your specific needs, or you can find out about your all time phone usage statistics in just a glance. However, the main screen of the app only tells you a small version of the story. Select any category and you’ll be presented with detailed stats and finely designed graphs with a very simplistic approach.

The voice and SMS usage categories have the same layout. You have the liberty to see the stats of incoming and outgoing calls and messages separately or in combined form. An hourly graph illustrates the hours at which you most actively have voice or text conversations. This is the best feature of this application because it helps you select the right voice/SMS plans, which can in turn help you in cost-cutting and realizing what’s taking all your credit away. You can also find out which mobile networks you are most frequently communicating with. Making calls on networks other than yours is usually more costly, so you can find out if you are making too many off-net calls. Finally, you can also see the people you communicate with the most (in case you’re getting too attached with someone).

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The data usage screen is primarily helpful for identifying the applications that consume most of the data. This way, you can decrease your usage of those applications that consume a lot of data and delete the ones you don’t even use anymore because some applications keep getting synced in background.

All in all, Intellistats is the app for you if you want to control your spending on your phone usage, or just keep track of your budget. We find the application very insightful and its graphical illustrations very helpful in comprehending the usage statistics. The only drawback is that when you specify your own billing period, you can’t set it to any of the previous months. Overall, the app is beautifully designed and well thought-out. Our rating would be 4 out of 5.

We at The AppJuice hope that its future updates will bring more insights of phone usage to the application. Let us know your opinion of the app in the comments below!

 

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

 

Runtastic Pedometer – An Android App For Your Daily Workout!

It is recommended that one should walk 10,000 steps daily to stay fit all round, so how would you switch to an active lifestyle and track your workout? Well, Runtastic Pedometer is the answer. It is a pedometer app, which tracks your steps, while you are walking. It can work while your device is in your pocket, purse or bag, as long as you are carrying it with yourself. The app uses accelerometer for the tracking of steps. The app tracks your daily goal of 10,000 steps and the steps you have walked; also it keeps a record of your daily workout, syncing it with your online Runtastic account or MyFitnessPal account.

The app also notifies you of the speed you are walking at, as well as the distance you have covered. The workouts are tracked in the form of sessions. Each session is initiated and terminated by the user itself. The app starts the timer, noting the time of the session and starts tracking the steps you have covered, the distance you have travelled and the speed at which you are travelling. At the end of every session, the app asks you for certain information, which includes information like the temperature of surroundings, the weather conditions and the surface on which you were walking, your mode and your average heartbeat. Then it gives you an overview of the whole session and syncs it to your Runtastic account. Details of the sessions can be recalled at any instance from ones account.

Social network integration in the app is quite good as well; it would let you share your workout session details on Facebook, twitter or Google+. There is pro version of the app also available, which unlocks even more features which include the details of the calories you have burned, the frequency of your steps (basically the average number of steps you walk per minute), and no ads of course.

To sum up this is a great app, as I am a University student and have to walk a lot around the campus, I love to track my steps and tell myself that I have walked enough steps for a day to keep myself fit. Also, many people simply love to walk as well, this app can be great for them as well and after all it is a great app for those who are health conscious and want to track their workout sessions.

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-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

Spin It is the new Pakistani iOS Game in Town

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Made to impress, Spin It, the new cool matching game is now live on iOS App Store. It is simple, fun and if you have what it takes to solve deceptively easy puzzles, almost addictive. Apart from its uncomplicated game strategy, Spin It is a step in forward direction where developers are beginning to focus on simpler games which are clutter-free and pleasing to the eye. The recent success of Flappy Bird has led many to rethink extremely difficult and complicated game strategies as many now feels that the audience’s attention can also be captured using relatively easier techniques provided they are witty enough. Spin It combines the ease of playing with some cool, flat design graphics that look great.

Spin It is Easy Enough to Play

Remember those laborious levels of Candy Crush where you had to devise intelligent methods to to bring down the all powerful candy? Well, Spin It is similar and it depends on your attention to detail. Featuring a four tier wheel with color blocks, Spin It asks the users to match three or 4 color bits to score but there is a catch: the colors flip quickly. You barely bring the same colors together when the colors flip and the matching is gone, taking your score with it. The interesting thing about Spin It is that it tests whether you can visually put together similar images in a rather short amount of time or not.

Brag About it on Facebook

The game includes feature which allow you to incorporate your existing social media circle in the game. You can brag about your scores on Facebook or challenge your friend to do better. There are also global ranking boards where you can see your position in the charts. Thus you can compete with people all over the world and show off your gaming skills!

Flat, Minimalistic Interface

This game doesn’t feature heavy graphics. Instead it uses the Flat design and basic colors to bring to life a simple user interface. The options are limited, preventing cluttering. The wheel itself dominates your game screen with simple bonus meters on top and a score counter below. It loads fast and runs smoothly.

The Review

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Spin It is the latest product from WeRPlay, a Pakistani Game Development company that has many amazing games to its name. Most of their games feature mind-blowing graphics and complex strategy but this one is completely different, showing that the company isn’t afraid of venturing into new areas. While the attempt is to be appreciated, Spin It is still no Flappy Bird. Indeed, the pressure to be the next internationally addictive game increases with each game release. There is no telling what will take the world by storm. From levels of Temple Run to those of Candy Crush to simple scores of Flappy Bird, if anything can be taken as an indicator, it is that trends in viral gaming are largely unpredictable. However, Spin It is a good attempt and we hope it is received well in the App Store. The change in game strategy can helpWeRPlay learn more about its audience and gather valuable data about gamers’ preferences. Who knows, the next viral game may be made by a Pakistani Developer…

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

Pijjit, Get anything, anywhere – Socially!

Pijjit

It isn’t unusual to request a family member or a friend to get something from abroad. However, they aren’t always a reliable option. Asim Zubair faced the same problem and his personal experience forced him to come up with an appropriate solution to the problem.

“It occurred to me at that time that in today’s world where people are easily connected through social media, there has to be a friction-less and more efficient way of shopping for things outside country other than through friends and family.” – Asim

In 2013, he finally founded Pijjit, an app that solves the problem using social connections. With hundreds of people travelling to various destinations, there are carriers all over the world who wouldn’t mind bringing a certain product that you need in return for a reward. All you need to do is list what you want and select a social carrier headed in your directions. Pijjit allows you to read the user profiles and their rankings so you can choose a reliable person to bring the product you want. You can then transact from within the app and have the product in your hands within no time.

“The Pijjit App provides people the means to list their shopping or shipping needs, travel plans, and available space. It connects them through an in-app messaging system and enables them to transact over a secure booking engine. Verified social profiles, transparent reviews, and earned reputations come together to build a community that makes social shopping and shipping a reality for anyone, anytime, anywhere.” – Asim

What this means is that you don’t have to be sweet to extended relations just to get your hands on the latest gadget or accessories from your favorite international brand. Pijjit is a smartphone solution that will allow shoppers from all over the world to shop for you while you sit at your home. Been missing your favorite brand of chocolates for a while now? Wait no more! Get connected to Pijjit and find a person who can bring it to you.

What Makes Shopping through Pijjit fun?

Nowadays, it isn’t very difficult to get your hands on something that you wanted. There are lots of places that sell imported goods. Many online shopping websites host a large variety of the latest gadgets. Why then would you need something like Pijjit? What makes the idea cool is that as a buyer, you can skip the excessive shipping rates and you don’t have to deal with inflexible couriers or pay the additional charges that local vendors take for bringing imported goods to you. Plus, as a domestic commuter you can make money while still helping people in your social circle.

The application was recently featured at OPEN Forum’s Silicon Valley event and received a positive response. Applications like Pijjit help solve social problems, no matter how trivial and are thus a great idea.

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

 

Run Sheeda Run, A Truly Desi Game

A while back it was cool to play Angry Birds and Temple Run. Fast forward to today and you will find that the recent trend leans towards ‘desi’ games, games flavored with a touch of local culture. The fad is catching on, it seems, because only recently we covered Oye Flappy, a Flappy Bird Variant with a twist. We now present another interesting smartphone game – Run Sheeda Run. Meet Sheeda!

Sheeda, don’t let the name deceive you, is a man on a mission. Think of him as the Superman of chickens, or at least one chicken. The game involves Sheeda trying to save a chicken from the evil intentions of a ‘Qasai’. What that means is that poor Sheeda is running for his life. In principle, the idea is similar to tens of running games that are available in the App Store and the Play Store but we are really excited about this one. Here are some reasons why:

The game theme is creative. The graphics feature the local streets of Lahore and the music is the ever favorite, Punjabi mix. The Qasai is a proper, old school villain with muscular build and twisting mustaches. Our protagonist is a puny, tender-aged boy already weak and exhausted by the heat and hours of loadshedding. The team behind this creative venture is WeRPlay, one of Pakistan’s best game development centers. After developing many different successful games, this team is shifting towards new dimensions in creativity. We also featured SpinIt a simplistic, flat design iOS game. Clearly the company is diverging towards new ways to create more interesting and innovative games.

Run Sheeda Run is due to be released in the upcoming weeks for Android Users and you will soon be able to play the game on your smartphone but for now, you can take a look at the game trailer. 

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk

BookMe wants to dominate online ticketing in Pakistan, starting with movie tickets

BookMe wants to dominate online ticketing in Pakistan, starting with movie tickets

Pakistan’s BookMe does pretty much what Fandango does in the US – make it easy for people to book movie tickets. BookMe started from the Pakistani capital of Lahore and now covers almost all major cinemas in Islamabad and Karachi as well.

Accessible via a website, an Android app, or even SMS, BookMe is the first of its kind in Pakistan. It doesn’t take online payments yet, so users still have to pay in cash.

Faizan Aslam, the CEO of BookMe, says the startup is receiving about 50 orders per day right now. This is promising considering that it only launched about a month and an half ago.

Aslam is very optimistic about the future of his startup as well as the prospects for the online ticketing industry in the nation. He plans to offer packaged movie deals for BookMe customers once the startup goes mainstream and has more clout in the cinema ticket booking sector.

Aslam and the BookMe team are now expanding the site and apps to offer transport booking and event tickets. Bus ticketing is an area with a lot of potential, as seen by the success – and subsequent acquisition – of India’s RedBus. 

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Quirky Taking Social Entrepreneurship to Next Level

Ever wanted to invent something but did not have the resources to back your idea? Ever felt bogged down by the corporate sector capitalizing on their enormous budgets to develop a solution that was originally your idea? Ever felt too incompetent in the modern world to provide the world with something of value just because you got the blueprint but no team to put that into action?

Not any longer. Quirky has it solved.

All you need to do is to come up with that one great idea to satisfy a consumer need in any way possible, and sit back and relax. If your idea is selected, it will be polished further and Quirky’s team made of creative artists, engineers, financiers, distributors and suppliers will do the rest for you. You will get paid for the idea and the world will benefit too. Ever thought about how magic works – take a look at Quirky’s product development to know.

As a social products development company, it has revolutionized the entire notion of developing custom-made consumer-oriented products. Or if you are on the other side, then you probably have never quite been satisfied by any of the consumer products that many companies have been providing you. You want something that is just right to fit the bill and meet your exact requirements, right? Sounds impossible to fulfill, doesn’t it?

Not any longer. Quirky has it solved.

Shop for any product that suits your purpose and it will be shipped right at your doorstep. Just for instance if you are tired of squeezing fruits to release the juice out of them and resultantly getting your hands dirty, but have to get the juice out anyhow, Quirky has a solution for you. It has developed a product it names ‘Stem’ which you put on top of the fruit. The juice is easily sprayed over whichever food item you like by simply pressing the button just like you would do with a deodorant. And of course it’s affordable! What’s the point of social entrepreneurship if it’s not accessible by those who really need it? Talk about an easy world!

What’s fascinating is the way Quirky has taken social entrepreneurship to a whole new level. With products developed by ordinary people for ordinary people, it has reaffirmed to the world that the only way mankind can progress is if it maintains this symbiotic relationship strong.

-Courtesy: Techjuice.pk