As announced in the rail budget this year, Indian Railways is starting its free WiFi service in trains starting today. The first train to offer this service to its passengers is the New Delhi – Howrah Rajdhani Express.
The train will have a 4 Mbps connection which will be shared amongst all the passengers on the train (which is very low in our opinion). Passengers will have to provide their mobile number or PNR number in order to get the password over SMS to access the free WiFi service.
Users will be able to browse, check emails, chat and even watch YouTube videos (if the speed allows) on the free wifi connection. However, the service will block access to all porn sites and illegal sites.
Indian Railways plans to offer the free WiFi service to 50 other trains by the end of this year which includes all the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express in addition to other trains. We hope that they also plan to increase the speed as 4 Mbps will be too low, especially on Shatabdi trains which will have passengers sitting during the day (as opposed to sleeping on overnight trains).
[via BGR India]
TOI is reporting that the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India has asked the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security to enable airline companies to issue barcoded boarding passes on mobile phones. The ministry wants to implement this system in the coming weeks, so that the domestic airline companies in India will soon be able to send mobile boarding passes to travelers on their email.
This is a welcome move and will surely benefit a lot of travelers and save a lot or trees. This will also result in shorter lines at the check in counters at the airports. Most smartphone vendors offer apps for such purposes which were otherwise useless before in India. Apple has Passbook app on the iPhone and Samsung has the wallet app on its Android based smartphones. After this move, these apps should be of some real use to India consumers.
Imangi Studios surprised everyone by releasing Temple Run 2 – the sequel to their wildly popular game, Temple Run. The original game was a huge hit because of its immersive and thrilling, yet simple gameplay. The sequel is no different. It improves upon the prequel with astoundingly better graphics (which are, apparently, built using a much better graphics engine this time), new power ups, new stunts, yet using the same simplistic controls.
You can download the iOS version from here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/temple-run-2/id572395608?mt=8. The Android version will be released in some time.
Gaana.com has launched its mobile apps for all major platforms which let you stream unlimited music over 3G or WiFi. The apps have been developed by Times Internet and are available at the App Store, Google Play Store, and also for Blackberry, Nokia and Java based phones.
The iOS app offers a neat and simple player design which is pretty intuitive and smooth in operation. The player includes all the features from the gaana.com website such as playlists, search, music discovery, favorites etc.
The apps lets you enjoy gaana.com’s huge catalog on the go. The only thing we found missing in the iOS was AirPlay support in the app. Although you can beam the music to AirPlay devices at the system level by double pressing the home button and swiping left twice.
The apps put gaana.com neck to neck with their competitors like saavn and Dhingana. Hopefully the next round will be on the quality of the streaming audio.
Cleartrip is famous for its neat and simple, yet amazingly powerful UI. Oh, and seamless ticket bookings as well . When it comes to user experience, cleartrip clearly is one of the best case studies. They are always on their toes to keep innovating and setting new standards.
Keeping with the tradition, cleartrip is now supporting Apple’s passbook format for all your bookings. Users can now send their bookings to their iPhones & iPod touches (with iOS 6 or above) and keep all the tickets, and passes handy. Apple’s passbook is a nifty app that serves as a digital folder for all such things. Think of it as the digital equivalent of your document kit. Learn more about it here.
Unfortunately, airports in India currently do not support paperless boarding passes. So you will need to collect one from a counter. However, the pass should work as a paperless ticket, which, apparently, the airports are beginning to accept now. Pretty good move by Cleartrip.
[via Cleartrip blog]
Google has finally released its maps app for iOS giving relief to a lot of users around the world. After many embarrassing turn of events for Apple, it was inevitable for Google to work on and release an awesome app to users facing too much inconvenience. And they have delivered well.
The new app is beautifully designed and has all the elements one would need from a maps app. The app looks slick and minimalistic, however, it is feature packed with turn by turn voice navigation, transit directions, walking directions, live traffic view and reviews for restaurants in addition to some personalization features. I tried turn by turn voice navigation in India and found it to be pretty accurate.
However, the distance units are not in metric which is a bit inconvenient. To make the distance units show up in metric system, go to Settings -> General -> International and change the Region format to India. Also, there seems to be lags here and there when the app speaks out directions. Even with all these quirks, the app is a welcome for anyone who was used to using the native Google maps apps before iOS 6. The app has already replaced the native Apple maps app on my home screen.
Download the new app from the app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-maps/id585027354?mt=8
The XUV 500 is the flagship car from Mahindra. People are mad about it and rightfully so. It looks great, performs well and is priced competitively. The only issue is that you have to wait months before you can get one.
The XUV 500 is also probably one of the technologically superior cars. And Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has launched an Android app for the owners of the XUV 500′s W8 model to monitor their car’s stats and control the audio system. Pretty cool eh?
The app connects to the vehicle over bluetooth and lets the owner monitor vital stats like tyre pressure, fuel statistics in addition to providing alerts for door open, low fuel, distance to empty etc. Furthermore, the app can be used to control the infotainment system and the vehicle’s climate control system.
This is huge. Epic. Apple has launched its iTunes music and movies store in India. Customers in India can now buy legal high quality music and HD movies from iTunes at a very reasonable price. They can also rent movies in HD on their iPad, iPhone, IPod touch or Apple TV. The music collection seems to be huge, however, the movie collection is limited to few Bollywood movies and a handful of Hollywood movies.
Songs from new and popular albums are priced around INR 12 each which is lower than flipkart’s flyte’s pricing for same tracks. This makes a complete album to be priced around INR 100 (assuming 8 – 9 songs in an album on average). This is a very decent pricing and considering the fact that it is lower than flipkart’s price, it is a huge deal. The biggest advantage with iTunes store is that users can buy content directly on their devices. This was not possible with flyte as Apple does not allow in app purchases without cutting a 30% share. Another big plus is the ability to download purchased songs any number of times on any device.
A lot of us ask questions on twitter. And a lot of them go unanswered. A new service called youasked.it lets you answer strangers’ questions via twitter.
The service gives you 30 seconds to answer a random question. The tweets containing a question are identified by determining if there is a question mark (?) in them. However, you can also specify any word which you might want to add to the filtering criteria.
The service can be fun for people who have a lot of free time and are interested in answering strangers’ questions.
HDFC bank has become the first bank in India to launch a mobile banking app in Hindi. The app is available on the Google Play store and can be used by HDFC bank customers to bank in Hindi and perform various other banking operations like payment of utility bills, credit card payments, funds transfer and more.
Here is how the app looks:
The app is a good move to tap a lot more customers and get them used to mobile banking practices. Majority of population in India is Hindi speaking and this move should make it easy for them to get on board.