Amid Uber controversy, taxi-hailing app Flywheel raises $12M, adds new management

Flywheel

At the end of Uber’s first full day of PR wreckage on Tuesday, one of my bosses announced she was downloading taxi-hailing app Flywheel and deleting Uber’s app — like many have tweeted they have done.

But while ride-sharing competitor Lyft has likely received a publicity bump from Uber’s massive fumble, it’s likely no one’s benefiting more from this right now than Flywheel. Today, the company is announcing a new round of funding, to the tune of $12 million, which it will undoubtedly use to maximize on this opportunity Uber has given it.

The company also has a new chief executive, Rakesh Mathur, as well as a new chief technology officer and chief financial officer.

Unlike Uber, or even competitors Lyft and Sidecar, Flywheel is not an alternative to taxis. It merely outfits licensed taxis with the same technology. Cab drivers join Flywheel’s network, and in exchange for 10 percent of their proceeds, enjoy the benefits of access to Flywheel’s customer base.

And Flywheel can be a fairly easy sell to consumers — just as with ride-sharing apps, users can call, or hail, a car from their smartphone, track when and where it will arrive, and pay within the app without having to worry about carrying cash (as a San Franciscan, I can say that’s one of the biggest conveniences, as many cab drivers here refuse to take credit cards).

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Dangerous Ivan

What is Dangerous Ivan?

Dangerous Ivan is a 2D platformer and shooter where you play as a character named Ivan. You’ll regularly interact with bad guys, challenging platforms, bears, vodka, and other stuff. It’s currently free to play in the Google Play Store with in app purchases.

The game is your classic 2D platformer with shooter elements. You’ll have to jump up and down various things, shoot bad guys (and bears), and avoid obstacles. The game play is a little slow but that actually comes in handy when things get a little chaotic. The graphics are bright, colorful, and give the illusion of 3D which makes the game look pretty good but not amazing.

There are two game modes: story and survival. In story mode you’ll break into a mansion and explore it. It’s a pretty typical premise with the usual array of traps and bad guys to avoid and kill respectively. There is Google Play Games support with leaderboards so you can go on speed runs and compete with your friends which adds a little bit of depth. Continue reading

Singapore Will Introduce New Regulations For Taxi Booking Apps In 2015

Singapore will next year introduce new regulations to manage the numerous taxi-booking app services that are available in the country.

The country’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) today outlined a framework to “safeguard commuter safety and interests” in response to the rapid rise of apps like Uber, Hailo, GrabTaxi and Rocket Internet-backed Easy Taxi. The organization expects the regulations to be effective within the first half of next year.

Singapore may be a relatively small country with a population of around five million, but there are nearly 30,000 registered taxi cabs and car ownership is expensive. In a recent interview, Hailo’s Ron Zeghibe told TechCrunch that it was “pretty clear” that taxi apps have taken off in the country.

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Autumn Leaves in HD Live Wallpaper

What is Autumn Leaves in HD Live Wallpaper?

Autumn Leaves in HD Live Wallpaper is, obviously, a live wallpaper that shows you autumn leaves. It uses parallax effects along with your gyroscope and home screen scrolling to show you a bright, colorful autumn scene that look really good. There are free and paid versions in the Play Store. The paid version goes for $0.99.

It works like pretty much every other live wallpaper. You download it, install it, and then change your wallpaper to start it up. In the free version you get three background images and two foreground themes which lets you try out the app to see if you like it. The paid version contains nine background images and six foreground themes. The app also boasts being 100% ad free and requires no permissions to run in both the free and paid versions.

The live wallpaper itself is quite gorgeous. It uses a little bit of camera trickery, your gyroscope, and home button swiping to create a parallax effect that is surprisingly enjoyable. There is a gentle wind that will move the leaves for you which adds a sense of realism you don’t generally see even if other well done live wallpapers. Most of the effects can be adjusted in the settings on both the free and paid version. Continue reading

Instabridge Free WiFi

What is Instabridge Free WiFi?

Instabridge Free WiFi is a crowd-sourced application that shows you where WiFi hotspots are and connects you to them automatically when you’re in range. This not only includes public places like coffee shops, but other Instabridge users as well (if they opt in). It’s currently free to use in the Google Play Store.

Here is how the app works. Users of the app find free WiFi hotspots and then connect to it with Instabridge. That hotspot enters into their database and shows other users where it is. Then, when you’re in range of that WiFi, you can have the app connect automatically. You can also use it to find hotspots if you don’t know where any free WiFi is located and it does work offline. It generally acts like a WiFi manager and can actually replace the stock Android one if you let it. Continue reading

WearMail

What is WearMail?

WearMail is an email client built specifically for Android Wear. This is in stark contrast to other email apps which are build for smartphones and include Wear support. It’s currently free in the Google Play Store with no in app purchases.

Here’s how the app works. You sign into all of your email accounts and you can then manage all of your emails from your Android Wear device. It shows the full email if you want it to along with the sender and subject and it stacks notifications for easier management. You can do things like read, reply, delete, and mark as priority or mark as read. You can also use quick reply. It’s a very simple app but the developer seems to want this to be a Wear-first experience and you can definitely tell. Continue reading

Appdicted

appdicted review

What is Appdicted?

Appdicted is a productivity application that looks at how often you use each of your apps and for how long. There isn’t any real use for it other than having data about yourself but it can be fun to see where you spend all of your time. It’s currently free in the Play Store.

Here’s how it works. It uses the device and app history permission to keep an eye on you and what you do on your smartphone. This sounds like a breach of privacy but the app doesn’t have an internet permission so it can’t transmit any data about what you use anywhere. It accumulates information such as which apps you use, how long you use them, how often you check your phone, and other usage stats. It then gives you a read out of which apps you use the most, how long you use them, and how many times you’ve used them.

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