The giving of Red Packets or Ang Pows is a traditional custom in the Chinese New Year celebrations. Just recently, instant messaging service WeChat had experimented with the concept of Virtual Ang Pow where users can send credits between 0.10 to 100 Chinese Yuan (approximately RM0.05 – RM55). What’s more interesting is that a sender can specify a total amount to be given out with a list of contacts. Then the app will randomly create different “ang pows” values that are distributed randomly like a lucky fortune cookie.
The results were rather astonishing. Just between the eve until 4PM on the first day of Chinese New Year, a total of 75 million virtual ang pows have been transacted across more than 5 million users. It was estimated about 9,412 virtual ang pows per minute have been transacted during the peak holiday season. The biggest winner is WeChat as they have managed to get even more users to link their bank accounts to their WeChat profile. That gives them a bigger base to enable long term micro transactions over its network. The overnight success have sent some shock waves across the industry and even Jack Ma from Ali Baba had compared the virtual Ang Pow phenomenon like a Pearl Harbour attack which came without any warning.
Will mobile phones replace the Chinese New Year tradition of giving? Certainly not for now but who knows in future when there’s little need of carrying physical cash.
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Google Malaysia today announced that it has added Bahasa Malaysia, Traffic and Transit support for Google Maps users in Malaysia on both the desktop and mobile versions of the application.
With the Traffic feature, you can now track traffic conditions in real-time right in Google Maps with colour-coded indicators showing whether a stretch of road is congested or free-flowing. However at launch, the service is available for roads in Klang Valley only.
The Transit feature on Google Maps provides step-by-step travel directions to travel using the public transportation system in Malaysia including bus, LRT, monorail and Komuter. Transit also gives users information on where bus stops and train stations are located.
Google says that the data used for the Traffic and Transit features is gathered from a variety of sources including the Department of Transportation, private data providers, and users of Google Maps for mobile who contribute anonymous speed information through Google’s traffic crowdsourcing feature.
We’ve tested the feature briefly and while Transit is not perfect, it does provide a good general guidance if you have no clue as to which bus or train to catch to head to a particular destination. Traffic on the other hand is spot-on, the real-time traffic update is immensely useful as a traffic monitoring tool giving you accurate information on traffic conditions allow you to plan your travel in advance.
Traffic, Transit and BM language support are much welcomed but we’re kind of disappointed there’s still no support for Google Navigation here in Malaysia. In any case, the three new enhancements is a good start. Here’s hoping that other cool and useful Google Maps features will make it to Malaysia very soon.
In the meantime, you can check out Traffic Transit and BM language support on maps.google.com.my
A few examples of Google Maps Transit in action after the jump.
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Google Docs has introduced a new enhancement which allows you to create and make edits on your mobile device. So now it is possible to get things done while on the go at anytime as long as you have mobile internet connectivity.
This will be rolled out in the next few days for English users worldwide but it is only limited to Android 2.2 Froyo and iOS devices version 3.0+ such as the iPhone and iPad. To get started, access docs.google.com from your mobile browser.
Check out the demo video after the jump.
Battery information on your device is very critical especially if you’re heading somewhere without any charging source. Knowing what’s using your battery also helps in identifying what activity is sucking the most juice. There hasn’t been a proper way of finding out apart from gauging roughly with those battery bars.
To manage your battery resource, Nokia has released an application called the Nokia Battery App. Developed together with VTT Technical Research Centre, this app will help you understand your battery usage in the most simplest terms by giving you a estimated time remainder for different uses such as Talk, Music and Web Browsing. You can even add this as a widget on the home screen too. Apart from that, there’s even a nice little statistic feature which shows you how you’ve been using your battery so far. This is pretty much similar to the battery usage found on Android devices today.
With this app, you could possibly plan ahead your next charge and learn how to conserve your device energy better. Of course like any monitoring app, its accuracy may not be 100% but at least this gives you some form of reference for your usage. It is available for Nokia Symbian^3 and S60 5th edition devices which is downloadable from the Ovi Store here.
Check out our screenshots from a Nokia N8 after the jump
Just as announced earlier on, Opera Mobile is now available for Android. You can find it at the Market, just search for “Opera Mobile”.
First you’ll notice that the Opera Mobile installation file is 6.4MB, which is substantially bigger than its Mini’s 800KB. Running Opera Mobile for the first time doesn’t feel much different from its Mini counterpart. However when you start browsing, that’s where you feel the difference of its full rending engine.
Pages load immediately as they come and you can now pinch to zoom instead of the previous stepped zoom in/out views. We noticed that while pinch to zoom, the text does take a while to rerender itself as if the text was a progressive JPG image which is pretty weird. For those who regularly surf on slower connection, you can always hit the Opera Turbo feature in Settings for server side compression of web pages.
Still confused with the difference between Opera Mini and Opera Mobile? Opera has a better explaination here.
Earlier on Opera had announced on its blog that an Android version for its Opera Mobile would be coming soon. Now it has been announced that 9th November will be the release date. Not to be confused with Opera Mini, Opera Mobile offers true web browsing experience without the need of external compression technology. We’ll see how does it fare against the likes of preloaded WebKit browser and FireFox 4 for Mobile.
Several months back, Antoine Dodson became an accidental celebrity on the internet over a news report on an attempted rape on his sister. Although it is a tragic story, somebody had a creative twist on the way Antoine warned the rapist on national TV. If you haven’t watched the original “Bedroom intruder Song”, check it out here.
Now obviously trying to milk the most of the fame, there’s an app called Sex Offender Tracker that uses Augmented Reality to track down registered sex offenders in the states. From the video, it has a database of location and addresses of sex offenders which you can keep an eye on.
We are quite doubtful on its effectiveness but you can buy it from the AppStore and Android Market.
Head right after the jump for the demo video.
WhatsApp Messenger is now officially available on Android Market and it is FREE for the first year. As comparison, Blackberry users pay US$1.99/year with 90 days free trial while iPhone users pay a one time US$0.99. Nokia users however are also paying US$1.99/year but they similarly get to enjoy it free for the first year as well. So it is quite likely Android users will pay $1.99 after that.
So what are you waiting for? You can search it up on the Market or download via AppBrain here.
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If you’ve been using Opera on your android device, that is actually Opera Mini which is different from Opera Mobile. Opera Mini is a lightweight browser that relies on external servers to compress and deliver web content to your phone. This makes it appealing for lightweight mobile device and slow connections like GPRS or EDGE. In other words, the actual web engine is done off site and not on your phone. This compromises on usability as what you see is an post-compressed product of the real web.
For more powerful smartphones and adequate 3G speeds, that’s where Opera Mobile comes in. It has a real web browser engine and takes full advantage of the power on your phone.
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TweetDeck for Android is now official with its 1.0 release. This comes after several beta release and presumably tons of bug fixes. Tweetdeck for Android offers the ability to view and update your Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Google Buzz in a single app.
To download, search for “Tweetdeck” in the market or click here.
If you’ve installed the beta, please uninstall it first.
Check out the walkthrough video after the jump.