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, 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.
Kickstarter is expanding its crowdfunding reach by launching a mobile app. It’s for iOS devices, and it lets users catch up on projects they’ve already invested in and find new projects to back. Those with existing Kickstarter projects can also use the app to manage their pages, including uploading status report videos. The redesign of the website’s interface for the app is aimed at smartphone ease and access. Kickstarter is blazing the trail for crowdfunding projects, with peers like Indiegogo close behind. Mobile net use, meanwhile, is skyrocketing, along with mobile commerce.
Read the full story at Fast Company.