Updated: 23 January 2013
Uber, a San Francisco based on-demand limousine service, has soft launched in Singapore today. The mobile app is available for download on the iOS App Store.
The service enables users to engage a chauffeur at a fraction of the cost. Its secret lies in streamlining payment and booking services, as well as utilizing a limo driver’s downtime. The end-to-end service — which includes an app for drivers — handles booking, payment, and even the giving of receipts.
To kickstart its “test mode”, it has begun engaging Singapore’s influencers to try out the app. They include Lesley Tay, owner of food blog ieatishootipost, as well as Theresa Goh, a star Paralympic swimmer.
An Uber blog post describes how the company’s black Mercedes S vehicles, which come from fully-licensed local limo operators, would drive to the user’s location with the push of a button, bringing them to wherever they wish to go.
SingTel’s NewsLoop, a Flipboard-like news reader app for the iPad, is off to a strong start. Since its launch in July 2012, it has been downloaded 17,000 times and obtained strong reviews. For a time, it was also number 3 for free iPad apps in Singapore.
Now, it has just launched an iPhone app in the hopes of capturing more users in the country. The smartphone version of NewsLoop, optimized for the iPhone 5, has the following features:
- Synchronised profiles between iPad and iPhone
- Preview of hot topics on iPad and iPhone
- Add LinkedIn and Tumblr feeds
- Share articles via SMS Read more
Imagine buying a cup of coffee, an iPod or an airplane ticket online, and each purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar. The difference goes directly to charity. One Cent Movement is a not-for-profit organization that makes this possible.
Neither a company nor a charity, the organization turns everyday transactions into charitable opportunities. It works with online merchants to implement a round-up system to checkout carts using API and plugins. These businesses are then able to select the charities they want to donate to. Shoppers can opt to round up their online purchases to the nearest dollar.
These transactions are tracked and invoiced to the businesses every month. In turn, charities will report back to them with pictures and progress updates every quarter to account for funds received. Read more
A traffic jam in Bangkok. Rideshare services could help alleviate bad traffic. Photo: Keng Susumpow
A slew of peer-to-peer rideshare services have gained popularity in parts of Asia in recent years, a sign that entrepreneurs are bullish that such businesses can become sustainable in their respective markets.
In Singapore, web portals like TompangBuddy and CarpoolKing have long existed as a meetup point for those who are eager to carpool.
However, the scene there is turning a corner. A second wave of rideshare services have gotten significant press coverage. A departure from Dot-Com type enterprises, many of these new startups are mobile-friendly and offer user interfaces that are more suited to modern sensibilities.
These startups can be categorized into carshare and cabshare services. Some straddle both. Read more
Cherry Credits, an in-game digital currency by a Singapore company of the same name, can now be purchased at 366 EB Games and 650 7-Eleven stores in Australia.
The news was announced last week by prepaid product and transaction services company InComm, which has partnered with Cherry Credits on this endeavor. Read more
My dad loves Fruit Ninja. Yes, my 50-year-old career-soldier father who’s also especially fond of playing slot machine games on Facebook. In fact, he likes slicing bananas so much that he would beg for my brother’s phone just so he could achieve that 5-hit combo.
That’s when you know a game has gone really mainstream.
Although not much of a fan myself (I’ve spent more time on Angry Birds), I was intrigued to hear from the founders of Australian games company Halfbrick Studios, the people behind Fruit Ninja, when they visited Singapore to talk to game developers. The event, aptly called Developer Dojo, was organized by Microsoft Singapore and tech blog e27.
After all, very few game studios have amassed 300 million downloads on one game and then followed that up with another mobile hit, Jetpack Joyride, which is a success in its own right with 14 million downloads.
I had to hear for myself how they did it. Here’s what I’ve distilled from the one-day session on 15th September. Read more
Is Kia Silverbrook history’s greatest inventor? On the surface, it might seem so. He holds 9,700 patents and patent applications internationally. Business Insider calls him the greatest inventor in the modern era. On the other hand, Thomas Edison, the famous inventor of the light bulb, only accumulated 2,332 patents.
Yet raw numbers tell only half the story, a fact which Kia himself was quick to emphasize. Patents, he said, merely gives one the right to prevent someone else from making a piece of technology.
“Having a lot of patents is like having a lot of legal contracts, it’s not something to get excited about,” he added.
Kia Silverbrook was in Singapore for the Distinguished Technopreneur Speaker Series (DTS). It is an initiative that engages the world’s top innovators to share their experience with entrepreneurs, industry professionals, researchers, scholars and students in the country. The dialogue with Kia was held on 13th September at Biopolis, the center of biotechnology in Singapore. Read more
Australia’s industry watchdog Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled that it considers Facebook brand pages and the comments in it to be forms of advertising, stemming from a complaint about sexist, obscene, and racist comments on the Smirnoff Facebook page.
This landmark ruling means the ASB believes brands are responsible for the content written by their fans on branded Facebook pages, and must comply with industry self-regulatory codes and therefore consumer protection laws.
In its ruling, the ASB said: “The board considered that the Facebook site of an advertiser is a marketing communication tool over which the advertiser has a reasonable degree of control and could be considered to draw the attention of a segment of the public to a product in a manner calculated to promote or oppose directly or indirectly that product. Read more
17-year-old Lachy Groom knows a thing or two about running full-fledged, online businesses. At 11-years-old, he started learning to code in HTML and CSS, and by the age of 13, he founded PSDtoWP, a company that turned PhotoShop files into WordPress pages. The company was sold nine months later.
Next, he started PAGGStack.com, a website that sells nutritional supplements to customers around the world. Again, he sold the company in months. By the age of 15, Lachy was already onto his third online business, iPadCaseFinder. Launched in 2010, the site lets users search for iPad cases and find out where to buy them. The website was successfully acquired.
He then moved on to his next two ideas, which he still owns today. The first is Cardnap, which is a site for visitors to buy and resell discount gift cards. The second one is TheWP.co, which builds WordPress sites from scratch and also offers Photoshop file to WordPress conversion.
Lachy now has his eyes set on Silicon Valley. He has visited regularly to absorb the culture and interacting with entrepreneurs. He has also kept a keen eye on Dev Bootcamp, a startup that turns total noobs into novice web developers in 10 weeks. Passionate about education, he hopes to one day start a company in the industry.
But one thing stands in his way. Read more
Two weeks ago, we featured Cooliris, an iPad app that aims to improve the way users view and share photos on the tablet. Now, the team has shared a major milestone with us: Cooliris is now number 1 for iPad apps in 63 countries for the lifestyle category. Read more