Monday, May 31, 2010

inSing NightOut! is an odd bird

InSing NightOut! is the latest iPhone app by SingTel's inSing.com portal.

According to the app's description, InSing NightOut! is "your ultimate guide to an unforgettable afterhours escapade in Singapore! InSing NightOut alerts you to the hottest supper places, night spots and shops in closest proximity to your location along with user reviews, ensuring you'll be more than well-informed for your big night out."

However, given that its current recommendations for an "unforgettable afterhours escapade" are Keng Eng Kee Seafood Restaurant, MacDonald's Queensway and Jeans On! in Queensway, I think the database needs some work.

This app also allows you to check-in to places. What an original idea.

And that's it. That's pretty much all this app does. It's a shame that the calendar of events that InSing has on its website is completely missing from the iPhone app.

My biggest beef with this app, though, is not with its mediocre content. It is that you have to register to use it, and you have to register with your phone number. (To verify you, it will send a three-digit number via SMS that you have to key-in in order to use this app). I find it somewhat disturbing that InSing has my phone number and I fully intend to change the number I've used to register before deleting this app.

InSing NightOut! is free. Download it here.

(Tip of the hat to Victor for spotting this!)
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Singapore telcos offer micro-SIMs, but there's a catch

According to a Straits Times story, both M1 and StarHub will offer micro-SIMs from Saturday. The micro-SIM will come in handy if you already have a 3G iPad or if you plan to get a 3G iPad before its official launch in Singapore.

The catch is that people have to sign up for a mobile broadband plan first with the telcos. On StarHub, you will have to sign up for the MaxMobile Ultimate plan from May 29. The Ultimate plan costs $36.38 a month and promises download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.

On M1, the micro-SIM will also only be offered for the 7.2Mbps service, according to the Straits Times. This plan currently costs $48.51 a month.

SingTel will offer the micro-SIMs from June 1, but apparently only for its 21Mbps service. This costs $84.15 a month on a 12-month contract or $59.40 for a 24-month contract.

It looks like the cheapest alternative is to sign up for a multi-SIM plan and whittle your second SIM card down to size as some people in Singapore have done. Multi-SIM plans cost $5.35 a month.

Update

The previous price cited for SingTel's plan is for their normal 21Mbps service. I've confirmed that SingTel has the following micro-SIM only plans:

- 7.2Mbps at $37.30 per month
- 14.4Mbps at $44.20 per month
- 21Mbps at $53.80 per month

(All the above are for 24 month contracts and come with a cap of 50GB)

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Singapore government looking for a few good men (and women)

If you hanker for a job in the public service, Careers@Gov is the app for you.

This app consolidates all available job openings in Government. You can search by job title, skill, agency or other relevant keyword. You can also browse through the different categories to find something that fits.

I had a quick look at the app and it appears to be well-designed and relatively responsive.

The existence of this app seems to suggest that the Singapore government is finally embracing the iPhone as a platform. This is the second app from the government this week.


Careers@Gov is free. Download it here.

(Tip-of the hat to Victor!)

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PropertyGuru teaches you about buying a home

Local property website PropertyGuru has just released an iPhone app called PropertyGuru Singapore.

According to the description, they have 80,000 properties in their data.

The app allows you to:

• Search residential and commercial properties for sale/rent
• Search properties near you
• View the latest new project launches
• Find property agents specialising in your area/project
• Save your search for future use
• Shortlist your favourite properties & add viewing notes
• See nearby amenities, transport details and schools for each property
• Contact the agent directly for viewing
• Read about the latest property news on the go!
• Know your loans with the Mortgage Calculator

PropertyGuru is free. Download it here.

PropertyGuru is the fourth local property app for the iPhone. The others are ERA Singapore, SG Property, and ProxiHomes.

(Thanks to Ravindu Atapattu for the tip-off!)
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iWork now available in Singapore store

If you have an iPad, you'll be happy to know that Pages, Numbers and Keynote can be downloaded from the Singapore store.

(Thanks to Thye Chean and Mugunth for the tip-off!)
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Avoid going postal with sgPostal

If you spend a lot of time at the post office, this app is a must-have.

sgPostal is a simple shipping rate calculator. It allows you to check the cost of postage for sending a letter or parcel from Singapore.

Supported rates include SingPost, Air Parcel, EMS, Fedex, DHL, UPS, Air Mail, Registered Mail. It also shows the weight and dimension restrictions of a package using various modes of sending. It also shows the estimated delivery time for each of the postal or courier methods.

sgPostal is free. Download it here.

(Thanks once again to the sharp-eyed Victor for this.)
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iBooks now available on Singapore iPad app store

I'm not sure when it happened but you can now download iBooks for the iPad from the Singapore app store.

Unfortunately, the only books currently available are out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg. Great for fans of Shakespeare but if you want the latest Dan Brown, hang on to your US iTunes account.

(Thanks to Thye Chean for the tip-off!)
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Engadget: Next iPhone to have video chat, confirmed.

Engadget has a nice story confirming video chat on the new iPhone. Sam Mendes, director of American beauty is apparently doing the commercials.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Improve your odds at blackjack with BlackjackUni

Gambling has been described as a tax on the mathematically challenged. Don't believe me? Ask yourself why Singapore Pools is able to donate so much money to charity every year. The house, as they say, always wins.

But while the house always has the edge, there are some games where the gambler has slightly better chances of winning. Blackjack is one of those games. If you pay very close attention to all the cards being dealt, you can calculate the odds of high-value left in the deck, and thus the likelihood of being dealt a good hand. (The MIT blackjack team won millions at blackjack thanks to the application of mathematics).

Buy an app and help the Children's Cancer Foundation!

Want to help the Children's Cancer Foundation? Buy The Nurse with the Red Clown Nose for just US$0.99. All proceeds from the sale of this app will go to the foundation.

The app is a storybook which is narrated by a child with cancer. The child talks about life in the children's cancer ward and about a friendly nurse who puts on a red clown nose to cheer kids up.

“We were inspired to create a meaningful book about kids with cancer as it’s such a difficult topic to talk about. So we came up with the idea for the e-book and pitched it to the CCF as a fund-raiser.” said Hoa Vu, Managing Director of SkyVu Pictures, the developer of the app.

“SkyVu Pictures will donate all of its sales proceeds from the StoryBoy app as a sign of its support for the CCF’s mission to improve the quality of life of children with cancer and their families.”

You can buy the app here.
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MICA leaps into information age with iPhone app

If you've been pining to read Singapore government press releases, pine no more.

The Ministry of Communications, Information and the Arts has just released an iPhone app that consolidates press releases and has a calendar of events. The app, somewhat unusually named "www.gov.sg", also has links to various online forms to send feedback or report problems back to the Government.

This is the third iPhone app released by the Singapore government. The first was iHealth SG by the Ministry of Health. This was followed by Singapore Medicine by the Singapore Tourism Board.

You can download this app here.

(Thanks to sharp-eye iMerlion reader Victor for spotting this!)
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NavFone provides cheapest turn-by-turn GPS solution

Local company NavFone has just released a voice-guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation solution called the NavFone Singapore GPS Navigation. The app, which costs US$9.99, is the cheapest such solution on the market. (The next most expensive solution is PAPAGO Singapore + Malaysia (Lite), which costs US$19.99)

This app allows you to search for locations by postal code, and has voices in English, Mandarin and Malay.

The app will also warn you when you are approaching speed check areas and ERP gantries. 

NavFone can be downloaded here.

1st NTU-related app hits app store

Jeremy Foo, an undergraduate at the Nanyang Technological University, has written the first NTU-related iPhone app. Traversity is a useful app for anyone who needs to rely on the internal shuttle bus or the public bus for getting around the university. It will tell you how long you need to wait till your bus arrives.

The interface is simple and the data itself loads very quickly.

Traversity is free. Download it here.


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Free app helps you find the cheapest beers in Singapore

Singapore is well-known for many things but cheap alcohol isn't one of them. That's why this app is must-have for anyone with a thirst. Happy Hours Singapore does exactly what you think it does -- it tells you what the happy hour promotions are at bars around Singapore. You can also use this app to find the cheapest beer near you.

This app is the ideal companion for your nights-out with the boys (or girls as the case may be).

Happy Hours Singapore is free. Download it here.

(Thanks to iMerlion reader Victor for the tip-off!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

New in the App Store: Food, Glorious Food

It's been a crazy week workwise and as a result, I've completely fallen behind on tracking new apps. Sorry about that. Here's a quick list of new additions:

SoShoik (Free)
SoShoik is back in the App Store. Is it better than the original version? For their sake, let's hope so.


ion Orchard (Free)
A directory of food outlets at ion Orchard.


imHungry@SG (Free)
Too lazy to walk out for dinner? Get them to deliver. This app is a phonebook of local fast food delivery numbers. It also has delivery hours as well. It's a nice idea by the hungry students of the School of Information Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic. Pity there are only eight restaurants in their database at the moment.

shu uemura (Free)
Find the matching image and race against other players. The top 10 win a puRENovate hamper worth S$272.

iCall-018 (Free)
Cool app that appends 018 in front of numbers in your Contacts so you can use this prefix to make phone calls. Great if you're a subscriber to StarHub's 018 service.

Library SG (US$0.99)
Track the books you've borrowed and renew books via this app. It will handle multiple accounts, which is useful for families.

Tour4d Singapore (US$3.99)
3D models of famous landmarks in Singapore. Seriously?

(Thanks to iMerlion readers Augustus Chang, Hendra and Vitotor for various the tip-offs!)
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

iPad store for Singapore now available

Good news for local iPad users: The iPad store for Singapore is now available. 

Previously, only the US iPad store was available and any direct downloads to the iPad had to be done from the US store. For people in Singapore, that meant getting an account on the US iTunes store, and getting iTunes gift cards to pay for the apps.

With the availability of the iPad store in Singapore, you can now use your Singapore account and buy the stuff you need using your normal Singapore credit card.

However, don't ditch your US account just yet. A number of apps are still only available in the US store, including Pages, Keynote and iBooks

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Prototype iPod Touch with camera leaked in Vietnam, again

Ho Chi Minh City appears to be the place for secret Apple stuff. The Vietnamese website Tinhte, which had photos and video of the iPhone 4G prototype, and then followed it up with an unreleased MacBook, now has video and photos of what appears to be a prototype 64 GB iPod Touch with a 2 megapixel camera.

If you can read Vietnamese, click here for the original story. Alternatively, here is a Google Translate version of the page.

Below is a video walkthrough of the device. Sadly, no Bee Gees music this time.

New in iPhone 0S 4.0 beta 4

Gizmodo is tracking the new features available in beta 4 of the latest iPhone OS.

Changes include:

1. A new folder for utilities (clock, compass, calculator, voice memo)
2. Better wallpaper
3. View photo roll in landscape mode
4. Tethering (relevant to US iPhone users)
5. It's snappier!

For the full details, click here.
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Reminder: Free beer today for iPhone developers

Just a quick reminder: It's free beer day for iPhone developers at Brewerkz. This is a nice opportunity to drink free beer, meet other developers and maybe find a way to make some cash for when the free beers run out.

Chlkboard is hosting an event today to introduce its mobile advertising network to iPhone (and Android) developers. Chlkboard runs a location-based network that delivers targetted ads to iPhone and Android phones, which, the company says, can help developers monetise their apps better.

Details: Wed, May 19. 6 - 8pm. Brewerkz Restaurant.

Send an email to invite@chlkboard.com to RSVP. Include your company name and the name of the app you've developed. Even if you haven't RSVP-ed yet, there is still time to do so.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Citibank app for Singapore users now available

Citibank now has an iPhone app for its customers in Singapore.

The app, Citibank SG, is quite a full-featured. Apart from allowing users to do banking on the move, it also helps them to track down Citibank ATMs in the city as well as locate retailers and restaurants which offer discounts for  Citibank cardholders.

Citibank SG is free. You can download it here.

Citibank is the latest bank in Singapore to offer banking on the iPhone. The other banks that offer this service on the iPhone are DBS/POSB, OCBC and Standard Chartered. The big players that are glaringly missing from this list are UOB and Maybank.

(Thanks to iMerlion readers Dennis Kow and Ervin for the tip-off!)
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Get Toto results quickly

If you want to get Toto results fast, SG Live TOTO is the app you want.

The results are updated in the app at 6.33pm every Monday and Thursday.

Other features include:

- Results history, so you can check the previous results;
- Choice of English, Mandarin or Hokkien announcements; and
- Information about how many tickets share the winning prize and where the winning tickets were sold.

SG Live TOTO is brought to you by the same people who did SG Live 4D.

This app is free. Download it here.
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Free beer for iPhone developers

If you're interested in monetising your free apps better, meeting other iPhone developers and chugging free beer, here's something that might interest you.

Chlkboard is hosting an event at Brewerkz to introduce its mobile advertising network to iPhone (and Android) developers. Chlkboard runs a location-based network that delivers targetted ads to iPhone and Android phones, which, the company says, can help developers monetise their apps better. More importantly, Chlkboard says that it will be paying for the beer! (See an earlier story on Chlkboard on iMerlion here.)

Details: Wed, May 19. 6 - 8pm. Brewerkz Restaurant.

Send an email to invite@chlkboard.com to RSVP. Include your company name and the name of the app you've developed. (Note: This event is for developers only.)

The full invite is below:

Dear Developers,


Hola from Chlkboard (www.chlkboard.com). 



Chlkboard is real-time local mobile ad network helping retailers to generate more walk-in traffic. A retailer can communicate promotions, today’s specials, and sales all through the mobile phone. In return, we help app developers, like yourself, to monetize on your efforts with a more reliable and local income stream.

You want to know more? We also would like to know more about you and your efforts in this space. So join why don’t you join us, on Wed May 19th, to learn more on how we have built a next great piece of web-mobile 2.0 company in literally 21 days or how we have signed up 180 retailers? And of course, how you can start monetizing in literally 20 mins or less (we promise!).
Most importantly: have a few free beers on us and meet other geek peers from Singapore. Booze & schmooze— so cant lose!?

Not convinced yet—we will be inviting one of biggest retailers in Singapore and the best iphone developer to share with you why they are convinced about us.

We look forward to seeing you.
The scoop:
Date: Wed May 19th
Time: 6p (sharp) – 8p
Location: Brewerkz Restaurant, 30 Merchant Road #01-05/06 Riverside Point, Singapore 058282

PSS: RSVP to invite@chlkboard.com with your Name, the app you have created and your company by 17 May 2010, Monday. THIS IS AN INVITE ONLY PRIVATE EVENT.

The Chlkboard crew:
Saumil Nanavati (www.linkedin.com/in/saumilnanavati)
Dr Bernard Leong (www.linkedin.com/in/bleongcw)
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Turbo-charge your chances of getting a free iPad

Want to triple your chances of winning an iPad in Hoiio's latest iPad giveaway? Here's how to do it:

1. Go to iPad.Hoiio.com
2. Register for the contest and you will be given a unique six-character referral code (for example, 88AA88)
3. Tell your friends to download Hoiio from the App Store and ask them to sign up for a free account. Make sure you tell them to use your unique referral code when they register (by registering, they get one chance to win the iPad).

Here's the important bit: When you give your friends your referral code, add an M infront of it. ie, they should type in M88AA88, not just 88AA88.

With the M in front, you are telling the system that you’re an iMerlion reader and you should be treated differently. When it comes to the draw, you will have three times as many chances compared to other participants. So if 10 people cite your referral code (which has the M in front), you will get 30 chances to win. A referral code without the M in front will not enjoy this turbo-boost. Without the M, every referral is just a single chance to win.

Note that this deal is only available to people who read iMerlion and thus find out about the secret key. No one else knows about it. We negotiated this special deal with Hoiio because we wanted to find some way to reward you for reading iMerlion regularly.

We hope one of you win. Good luck!

(Note: To be able to join this contest, you need to have a Hoiio account yourself. If you don't have one, you can download Hoiio and sign up for a free account from within the app).
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Guy who recorded video of iPhone 4G in Vietnam tracked down

In a nice little follow-up story, Tran Van Minh of the Associated Press managed to track down the guy who recorded the video of the iPhone 4G in Vietnam.

That person is Tran Manh Hiep, a mobile phone accessory salesman in Ho Chi Minh City.

He had heard that someone was flashing the new iPhone in a cafe and rushed down to check it out. He took pictures and video of the phone and posted them to the Tinhte.com forum where he is an administrator.

Check out the full story here.

If you missed, the video, here it is again:

Father of world's youngest iPhone developer becomes full-time mobile developer

With his family's help, Lim Thye Chean is poised to invade China's mobile market.

Because of a promise he made to his son Ding Wen, Lim Thye Chean has quit his job as a Chief Technology Officer with a Malaysian technology company to become a full-time mobile developer.

Thye Chean promised his son that if they were able to clear US$1,000 a month from their part-time mobile development efforts, he would set up a company to focus on mobile development. Thanks to apps like Space War HD (US$0.99), Kids Paint (US$0.99) and Doodle War HD (US$0.99), that goal was reached in March this year, and Thye Chean kept his promise.

BuUuk updated. Now handles video

Restaurant guide and locator buUuk is now video-enabled.

You can now upload a video to YouTube to accompany your review of a restaurant, and simultaneously post about it in Twitter and Facebook via the buuuk app.

(Note however that you will need to sign in to Twitter first to use this function or this app will crash. The developer has already submitted a fix to the App Store.)

You can also view videos within the app itself.

Other new features include:

- push notifications for replies;
- a form for adding a place, and letting users specify the coordinates;
- a local and global ranking for buUuk users based on their participation in the app (only applies to users with Facebook);
- opening hours of restaurants;
- ability to suggest opening hours if not available. Suggestion goes live immediately;
- suggestion of description goes live immediately;
- a more obvious scrollable bottom bar; and
- the ability to see top rated restaurants nearby.

BuUuk is free. You can download it here.
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M1 AppStore Fail

May 11. M1 announces that it will launch an app store the next day. Promises that "applications will be available on various operating platforms including iPhone, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Java."

May 12. M1's AppStore is launched. Unfortunately, when you choose Phone Brand "Apple" and Phone Model "iPhone" you get the following message: "Sorry, there are currently no applications available for your handset."

Fail.


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How deep is your love for the iPhone 4G?

A Vietnamese website has somehow managed to get its hands of an iPhone 4G. The original page in Vietnamese currently appears to be unavailable (I'm guessing it melted under the sudden load) but you can click here for some photos that Engadget saved. Alternatively, here is another Vietnamese website with different pictures.

This version of the iPhone 4G appears to differ slightly from the one that Gizmodo paid for. There are no screws at the bottom of the case, suggesting that this is much closer to the final shipping version. In addition, a teardown reveals that this phone sports what appears to be the A4, the same chip used in the iPad.

Check out the video below (and enjoy the Bee Gees soundtrack!) (And if anyone can understand Vietnamese, a translation of the key points the guy is saying would be nice!)

StationAlarm now works when closed

The latest version of Mugunth Kumar's StationAlarm app is a major upgrade from the previous version.

StationAlarm SG will now work when it is closed. The app will use push notifications to inform you that you are approaching your stop. It will also sound an alert. In addition, the app uses the badge to indicate the number of minutes to your stop.

These changes have the app much more useful than it was previously. StationAlarm is designed so that users do not miss their stop on the MRT. Input your starting station and end point and the app will sound an alarm one minute before the train reaches your destination. The app is also smart enough to handle routes where you need to change trains and will sound the alert when it approaches the interchange station.

StationAlarm SG is free but Mugunth is only enabling push notifications during off-peak hours. If you want push notifications during peak hours (7am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm), you can purchase it for US$2.99.

(If you own the previous version of the app, you get the peak hour notifications free. You have to run the old version at least once in order for the StationAlarm servers to recognise that you own the older version.)

This new version of StationAlarm has been released as a new app rather than an update. If you own the older version, you will have to download the new version manually.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

OCBC releases online stock trading app

If you have a trading account with OCBC Securities, you will be happy to learn that you can now do your trading via an iPhone app.

OCBC Securities has just released iOCBC TradeMobile. This free app allows you to trade on the Singapore Exchange as well as foreign markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, the US and London.

With iOCBC TradeMobile you can:

1. Access multiple trading accounts with a single ID and Password
2. Access Top 20 stocks by volume, gainers and losers
3. Monitor your favourite stocks in your Watchlists
4. Access Sectorial Indices and Market Summary
5. Access the latest price quotes
6. Check the latest status of your orders
7. View your past orders up to six days and
8. Search for a stock using the Advanced Stock Search function

iOCBC TradeMobile is free. Download it here.

If you don't have an account with OCBC Securities, this app is certainly a good reason to open one.

It's good to see OCBC innovating. It may be Singapore's smallest bank, but at least in the mobile space, it has shown itself to be a leader. iOCBC TradeMobile is Singapore's first online trading app. OCBC was also a pioneer in Internet banking. It was also the first local bank to release an Internet app to enable banking on the iPhone.

(Thanks to iMerlion reader Ruifeng for this tip-off!)
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Bug fix for MeRadio awaiting approval

MeRadio, the free Internet radio app for Mediacorp radio stations, has shot up the charts and is now number one on the list of free downloads for the Singapore App Store.

However, while MeRadio is a great app that allows you to listen to the radio in the background, it is plagued by a bug that causes it to crash while running.

Fortunately for MeRadio fans, a new version is on the way.


"It's with Apple now," says Drew Crothers, the managing director of RADIOactive, the developer of the app. "If your iMerlion readers can keep us in mind during their daily chants/prayers/exercise routine that would help!"


Further down the road, we can expect more from the app, according to Drew. Mediacorp is likely to add podcasts and video updates delivered via the app. In addition, RADIOactive is working on features to boost interactivity.

In an email interview with iMerlion, Drew reveals that RADIOactive isn't just responsible for delivering the iPhone app, it is also handling the entire mobile streaming infrastructure. All this was thanks to the company's original app, Laylio.

"Laylio obviously put us on their radar and we started chatting about working with them pretty soon after that. Flo (Florence Lian, MD of Mediacorp Radio) really understands mobile devices as a key part of radio's future so we came to an understanding pretty quickly."

The company is now working on a version for other platforms. The Android version is almost completed and the Blackberry version is on the way.

While MeRadio is an improvement over the original app, Laylio had a charm that was lost when it went corporate. Fortunately, Drew agrees. "We still own the name, and we still love the name. Like everyone else we think it would be a great shame to let the identity and spirit of Laylio die - so we've got plans!"

According to Drew, business at RADIOactive is doing well. "We're really enjoying the ride at the moment. For any startup it's about traction and we're happy to say it's coming around. Aside from business derived from the current product line, we're looking at some unique consumer offerings based on the fun stuff that comes with working in radio."

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iPhone developer course for beginners taking off

The iPhone developer course put together by CHORDiCA developer Joash Chee is taking off. The original May 13 course has been sold out. As a result, they have started a night class, over two nights (May 17 and 18).

In addition, there is a course with Epicentre that will run on May 15th from 11am. If you are an Epicentre member, you can sign up for the course for $349 instead of $449.

The iPhone developer course is aimed at people without a background in programming. It uses a workflow that Joash has used to develop some of his own apps.
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

US vs Oz iPad prices. A comparison

How much will the iPad cost when it comes to Singapore in July? Apple has not revealed prices for Singapore yet, but judging by Australian prices, which it has released, it will probably be more expensive to buy the iPad in Singapore than in the US. Based on today's exchange rate, Australian iPads are up to S$144 more expensive than US iPads.

Below is a comparison of US and Australian prices:

WiFi only models

16GB -- US$499 (S$697) vs A$629 (S$780). Difference = S$83
32GB -- US$599 (S$836) vs A$759 (S$942). Difference = S$106
64GB -- US$699 (S$976) vs A$879 (S$1,090). Difference = S$114

WiFi+3G models

16GB -- US$629 (S$878) vs A$799 (S$991). Difference = S$113
32GB -- US$729 (S$1,018) vs A$928 (S$1,151). Difference = S$133
64GB -- US$829 (S$1,157) vs A$1,049 (S$1,301). Difference = S$144

Update: As Gremlin notes in the comments, the US prices are before sales tax while the Australian prices include GST. This will narrow the difference in prices.
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Singapore to officially get iPad in July

Apple has just announced that the iPad will hit Singapore shores in about two months.

According to the press release: "Apple plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. Apple will announce availability, local pricing and pre-order plans for these nine additional countries at a later date.

Click here for the full press release.

Local developer starts course in iPhone development

If you've always wanted to develop your own iPhone app but lacked the knowhow, a solution may be at hand.

Joash Chee, the developer behind music app CHORDiCA, has started a one-day iPhone development course that is aimed at non-developers. The course, which will run on May 13, promises to teach the neophyte how to develop an iPhone app. The course will also explain why most apps fail and reveal what is needed to get the app into the top 30 charts. The course will run for seven hours and will cost $349.

Joash says that this idea started because he wanted to be able to program his own apps without relying on a programmer. He found a development workflow that was very easy to learn and which he has used to make apps such as Mozart To Infinity, Vocal Slide Timer and the most recent iPad-only app Free ABC Songs. Not only is the process easy to learn, it is also fast. It took him between 24 and 48 hours to develop those apps.

"The ease of this development workflow was the key factor which allowed me to rapidly submit Free ABC Songs to the App Store in time for the iPad launch," says Joash.

The course is currently aimed at adults who might be interested in pursuing a hobby in app development to earn passive income. "After having some success with adults, we would like to bring this course to teenagers and those having holidays during the June period," he says.

But can a one-day course really turn a complete beginner into an actual developer? Joash says it can. "Unlike some other similar courses that will have to cover some pretty dry topics like Objective-C coding and syntax, our topic promises to enable every attendee to create the obligatory "Hello World" app just after a one hour introduction to the tools they will be using," says Joash.

"It's very possible that the actual time spent coding to make that "Hello World" app for all attendees will actually not be longer than two minutes from the point they open a new project file.

"Creativity plays a big roll in what you finally achieve and the workflow we will teach shows that your imagination will be the chief limiter to what you can produce, not your technical ability."

Course details

Date: 13 May 2010, Thursday
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Venue: 20 Upper Circular Road, The Riverwalk, #01-13, S(058416)
Fees: $349

To find out more, check out their website.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Laylio is back again, as MeRadio this time

Laylio is back with a vengeance. Now known as MeRadio, it may have lost its catchy name but in return, it's got a boatload of new features. Most notably, MeRadio now has all 13 of Mediacorp Radio's stations, making it the most full featured local radio app in the app store.

In addition, this app will now play the music in the background so that you can have it running while you are checking your email or your Twitter feed (you can't listen to the radio and use Safari at the same time though because MeRadio uses Safari to deliver the audio feed).

MeRadio is now rightfully shooting up the charts. If you're a fan of Singapore radio, this is the app to get. (Pity about the name though. Does anyone really think that MeRadio sounds better than Laylio? Seriously?)

MeRadio is free. Download it here.

(Thanks to iMerlion readers Alvin Lim and zhenzhouyy for the tip-off!)
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Did you just win a free iPad?

Newsflash!

The winner of the free 16GB iPad is Hoiio user Drawdeo, whose mobile number ends with "2122".

Congratulations! Someone from Hoiio will be contacting you shortly to tell you how you can pick up your prize.

For the rest of you, don't be too disappointed. The good news is that Hoiio will be running a second contest soon to give away another iPad so keep watching this space.

Note: The video of the drawing will be up on the Hoiio site shortly. If you are interested in knowing how we did it, read on.

In total, people racked up 168,093 calling minutes to qualify for the draw. Each person was allocated as many chances as they had racked up in calling minutes. For example, if you were a Hoiio user and you used up 100 calling minutes, you would have a 100 chances of winning.

Your name would then occupy 100 rows in a spreadsheet, randomly scattered throughout the entire 168,093 rows, so that people would not occupy blocks of numbers.

My job was to push a button that randomly selected a number between 1 and 168,093. We then looked up the spreadsheet to find out which lucky person occupied the row of the winning number. That person turned out to be Drawdeo, whoever he or she may be.

And the winner is ....

Here's a quick heads-up about the Hoiio iPad giveaway. Hoiio and I have already picked out the winner of the 16GB iPad and we will be announcing the name of the winner shortly. (In fact, I was just at the Hoiio office this afternoon recording a video of the event).

I will wait for Hoiio to make the official announcement of the winner for that contest. However, I can reveal who won the 1,000 Singapore calling minutes that Hoiio was giving away in the Hoiio-iMerlion contest. If you recall, in this contest, we wanted you to conclude the sentence, "I want to use Hoiio because...."

We received numerous creative entries from iMerlion readers, which demonstrates that iMerlion readers are smart, creative, good looking and undoubtedly very sexy people. 

David Lee came up with "I want to use Hoiio becaue I want to Hoiio-uat Ar!! :)" which I thought was very clever. Jason Tay said tried to turn Hoiio into an acronym with "I want to use Hoiio because H-ow O-ften I-s I-pad 0-dollars!"

One person decided that flattery was the key. Boon Ching's effort ended with "and best of all the software runs on iPhone, the best smartphone on Earth, and is created by dearest Singaporeans, a very handsome and young and talent CEO...."

However, after many hours of debate, we decided that the best entry was by Hung Yi. He came up with: "I want to use Hoiio because even if I do not win the iPad contest, the money I save using Hoiio will be enough for me to buy an iPad myself!!!"

Nice work Hung Yi! If they haven't already, someone from Hoiio will be contacting you shortly about the 1,000 Singapore calling minutes they are going to give you.

For the rest of you, stay tuned. We will be announcing the winner of the 16GB iPad very soon!




Cutting SIMs down to size

Not surprisingly, enterprising local iPad users have already gotten their hands on the 3G version of the iPad, even though it was only released in the US less than a week ago. These brave souls have shown that it is possible to cut your existing SIM card to micro-SIM size so that it will fit into the 3G iPad.

If you feel up to a little DIY, there are instructions online to help you cut the SIM card to the right size. There's even video if you need the extra help. All you need is a pair of sharp scissors and a steady hand.

If you decide to take this route, you should sign up for a multi-SIM plan with your telco. Currently, all three telcos charge S$5.35 a month for a second SIM card. (You will still have to pay additional one-time registration charges).
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Is HD video capture on the cards?

Apple has just released OS4 beta 3 and people have already uncovered new features like file sharing and a multimedia player widget. The OS also hints of new capabilities in upcoming hardware like video capture at 1280 by 720 resolution. See the Boy Genius Report and MacRumors for details.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Singapore apps: Shopping as a sport and actual sports

As the economy powers on, Singaporeans are returning to their favourite pastime — shopping. Two new apps exemplify this trend, PromoGo and BrandSalesSG.

PromoGo is a great idea. I have credit cards from three banks and I have no idea what promotion each bank offers (mainly because I don’t bother to look at the little booklets they send me together with my bill). This free app solves that problem by putting together a list of credit card promotions from the different banks. Look for discounts in categories like dining, shopping, beauty and travel. It also enables you to find promotions near your current location. PromoGo currently covers the following banks: DBS, Citibank, HSBC, RBS, Standard Chartered and UOB.

Taking a different approach is BrandSalesSG. This free app tracks promotions around Singapore. It covers fashion, department stores, dining, beauty and health, home appliances and electronic gadgets. It's not tied to a credit card so in theory, there should be more offers in here. However, this app currently does not allow you to locate promotions near you.

Contrary to popular opinion in Singapore, shopping is not a sport. For those who believe in sweating it out (or who enjoy watching people sweat it out), the Singapore Sports Council is the app for you. This free app by the Singapore Sports Council (who would have guessed?) gives you local sports news, dates of major (and not so major) sporting events in Singapore, results of local competitions and information about sports facilities.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

What's new about the iPad 3G?

Details are slowly emerging about the iPad 3G. iLounge reveals the YouTube app downscales both standard and HD videos when delivered over 3G. Some apps won't work at all, such as the ABC Player (though this is irrelevant to Singapore users since the player will not play at all if it detects that you're outside the US). Battery life when delivering data over 3G is also not as good compared to delivering data over WiFi.

For the adventurous amongst you, BGR reports that a jailbroken iPad 3G can handle SMS too.
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