App-solutely essential

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Want to book a cab? It’s easy… just download Malaysia’s very own MyTeksi app, key in a few details and you’ll even have peace-of-mind knowing that cab details are being tracked (Photo credit: Sunlight Taxi)

Want to book a cab? It’s easy… just download Malaysia’s very own MyTeksi app, key in a few details and you’ll even have peace-of-mind knowing that cab details are being tracked (Photo credit: Sunlight Taxi)

By Palau Shavin

Globally, smartphone users are becoming more and more addicted to their apps, which begs the question: which app should you have on your smartphone?  Many users are perfectly fine with the apps that come preloaded on their phones, namely Facebook, Twitter, Skype, a weather and alarm clock app, and perhaps some games such as Angry Birds or Asphalt.

Others download up to a hundred apps or more from Google Play, Apple’s Apps Store, or Windows Marketplace on their phones (using up valuable memory space), mostly just to try them out, or to keep them around just in case.

With so many apps to choose from, here are a couple which I believe are really useful for Malaysians.

1)      Waze – available on iOS, Android, select BlackBerry and Windows Mobile

Waze is the world’s fastest-growing community-based traffic and navigation app. It won the Judges Choice – Best Overall Mobile App at the Global Mobile Awards 2013. There are over 30 million drivers who are on this platform, sharing real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and petrol on their daily commute. This turn-by-turn navigation app is easy to use. Once you launch it, the app collects and disseminates traffic info, such as jams, road blocks, etc. to your smartphone. It also allows you to calculate the quickest route, tells you if traffic cops are about, and if there are accidents up ahead. There are also social and gaming elements in Waze, allowing drivers to pick up road treasures for extra points or prizes.  For more information about how Waze works, check out this guided tour: http://www.waze.com/guided_tour

2)      MyTeksi – available on Android, iOS, Windows Marketplace

Ever been stuck in a strange place, hoping for a taxi to turn up? Never get caught out again with this app. Founded by two Harvard Business School Malaysian graduates, MyTeksi is a Malaysian startup that aims to revitalise the taxi industry here. The aim is to make it easier for customers to get cabs, and for cabs to find customers. So far, MyTeksi has recruited about 2,500 drivers covering Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. The app is easy to use – just key in some details, including address, email, and it will use GPS to tell you how many cabs are around your area at the moment. You can book a cab with the app, and be safe in the knowledge that the cab details are being tracked. The company is also planning on expanding their operations to other cities.

3)      OpenRice – available for iOS and Android

Malaysians favourite pass time is food hunting. And this app caters to the adventurous foodie. OpenRice is a food and restaurant guide website which claims to be the most comprehensive dining guide in the country. Users can submit photos and reviews in English, BM or Chinese. Using the advanced search function, you can check by area, or cuisine, or even dishes or pricing. The app has some bugs to work out (the map function is an on/off thing) but overall, if you are stuck wondering where to go for vegetarian chap fun in PJ, OpenRice can lead you there. You can also sign up on their website to win points and prizes, and trade reviews with other OpenRicers.

4)      Airbnb – available for iOS and Android

Thanks to budget airlines, Malaysians have taken to travelling in a big way. But who wants to spend hundreds for sterile hotel accommodation when you’ve paid just a couple ringgit to fly to your destination? Airbnb offers a great alternative, offering a platform that connects travellers seeking authentic experiences with hosts offering unique, inspiring spaces around the world. You can rent rooms, homes, castles, even islands from over 34,000 cities in 192 countries around the world. The app shows you potential places to stay, with photos, and allows you to book or contact the host directly. Very often, your host may end up being your guide in a strange city. You can rent a couch in someone’s apartment from as low as US$10 a night, or splash out US$100 for a sailing barge in Barcelona. The choices for the thrifty traveller are unlimited.

5)      Malaysia News Plus – available for iOs

This is a news app that brings you the latest news from 53 local news providers, including New Straits Times, MalaysiaKini, Free Malaysia Today, Berita Harian, Sinar Harian, the Star, the Malay Mail, theSun, Bernama, Borneo Post, etc. The app also allows you to bookmark your favourite article to read later, and share articles with your friends. The interface is clean, and it offers a comprehensive collection of news providers that you can access from one app.  Unfortunately, this app is only available on one platform at the moment.

Also recommended: Lookout, Evernote, Juicedefender, Dropbox, Business Calendar, Flipboard,

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