Category: Cool Apps


Uber Taxi

Uber, the San Francisco start-up that gained something of a cult following by helping people summon a luxury sedan with a smartphone app, is trying something new for people who ride with friends. It said on Monday that it would add the ability to split fares between multiple passengers with a few button taps. The fare-splitting feature will become available when iPhone and Android users download a software update. To split a fare, a user requests a ride and then taps an arrow next to the driver’s information. An option labeled “Split fare” will show up, and the user can select friends from his or her address book. The friends then receive a text message from Uber with a link to tap on. Those who are registered with Uber will be directed to the app, and those who are not will be asked to downloaded the app, sign up for an account and enter their credit card information. The app will take care of the payment at the end of the trip.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging app that eschews advertising in favor of a paid model, is getting ready to bring its iOS app in line with the apps it makes for other platforms by turning it into an annual subscription service. Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, says that the company is planning this year to shift its iOS app to one where new users would pay annually to keep using, taking it away from a one-off download fee and bringing it in line with how it is distributed on the Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone platforms. The comments were made to Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping, and reproduced in part in two Dutch blogs, Tweakers and Techtastic. Klopping also provided us with recording of the interview, in English. The new subscription model would apply to new users, Koum said, and would likely follow the same pricing structure as its other apps.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Best Apps for Preschoolers

As many preschoolers today are younger than the iPad itself (which debuted in April 2010), educational apps to them are as commonplace as pencils, crayons and building blocks were to their parents. Here are five of our favorite apps for the preschool set.

Learn with Homer (free)

Designed with parents in mind, Learn With Homer is a fantastic app for teaching foundational reading skills to children. If you’re looking to prepare your youngsters for the rigor of the Common Core Learning Standards, this is a must-have app! The target audience is children ages 3-to-6. Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the bright and colorful graphics will grab their attention, while the fun characters and easy-to-use interface will keep them focused. For context, Learn with Homer is made for children with little to no foundational skills who are just starting off their reading adventures. Instead of practicing skills they already have, children will learn how to read by learning letters and sounds.

(Curated by: Monica Burns)

Toy Store Delivery Truck (99 cents)

There are toddlers and preschoolers who will stop everything just to watch a delivery truck park, unload and deliver its cargo. This app is for those children. The gentle, methodical pace does not rush as child players have time to imagine themselves as the one in charge of this color coded and inventoried cargo. In this truck company, the inventory is only 0-10 and comes in the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow to ensure clarity. It’s a self-contained kids app with separate online access for interested parents. We would suggest that developers refine one set of illustrations showing inside the loading truck (midway into the game), since these do not offer complete precision, but the rest of this app is “10-4 good buddy”!

(Curated by: Frances Judd)

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week (free)

BrainPop has great videos on topics in many curricular areas, including life science. The video content is very engaging, and the follow-up quizzes provide great feedback on the content. Each week, a free video is provided along with quizzes of different levels. The content stimulates critical thinking skills and provides great topics for discussion. Students are able to make connections between the videos and the related concepts in the real world. Students can enter their names in the quiz results to keep a record of their success.

(Curated by: Julene Reed)

Toca Band ($2.99)

This app is a delight. Children are presented with a stage, and a whole cast of characters appear across the bottom of the screen. When a child places a character onto the stage, the character begins their part of the act. Stage placements higher on the band platform have the character playing at an increased tempo. The starring role is the top center spot. Any character placed here is made into a solo act, which the child can experiment with and control: changing pitch, playing new notes, etc. Children get to play with music and sound in a very fun and engaging way.

(Curated by: Gail Lovely)

Photo Safari! HD ($1.99)

Children adore animals and are especially curious about animals they don’t see very often (or at all). This app gives children a quick introduction to familiar and unfamiliar animals which will lead to hours of great conversation and rich language with you. Having background knowledge and an interest in animals will allow children to make connections to books being read to them and will inspire lots of creative play away from the screen.

(Curated by: Audrey O’Clair)

(This content was originally posted at appoLearning.com.)

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