Craig Wilson | Apps
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Uber X: now available in Johannesburg, too

Uber logoUber, the mobile application that connects individuals with private drivers, has launched the budget version of its service, UberX, in Johannesburg. UberBlack originally launched in South Africa late last year and now operates in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

UberX connects users with drivers of lower-end vehicles (typically Toyota Avanzas or Corollas) rather than the luxury BMWs, Mercedes and Audis used by the UberBlack service and costs substantially less. For example, the minimum fare for UberX is R20, compared to UberBlack’s R50.

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Popcorn Time: The latest movies and series for free

Popcorn_Time_logoDespite numerous attempts to shut it down, Hollywood’s worst nightmare, Popcorn Time, just won’t die. It’s little wonder it’s been the target of studios’ ire: the service lets users stream high-quality movies and series for free, and its attractive and intuitive user interface means its popularity grows daily.

It’s been called the “Netflix for pirates”, but Popcorn Time offers even more for even less. A wider catalogue, more recent content and a price that can’t be undercut — free. Originally the service only offered movies, but last month it added TV series. Frankly, the only thing it lacks is a recommendation engine, but for that one can always turn to the likes of IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes.

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Telegram: The (possibly) secure WhatsApp alternative

Telegram_MessengerTelegram is another in a string of competitors hoping to unseat the reigning champion of mobile instant messaging, WhatsApp. Promising unprecedented security and protection from prying eyes, it also claims to be speedier than its rivals and assures users it will remain completely free and devoid of ads, forever. But with WhatsApp promising to add voice functionality in coming months, can Telegram realistically compete with the current darling of the tech world?

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Readability: readers’ dream, publishers’ nightmare

Readability_LogoTo the detriment of online advertisers and publishers there’s an ever-growing number of apps designed to strip online content to its bare bones — nothing but body text and inline images — whether for reading later or simply to cut out the clutter of ads, links and widgets.

Readability has plenty of competition, but its simple, elegant interface and integration with third-party apps makes it my pick of the bunch, for now.

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Rando: one picture, one person

It’s Rando‘s contrarian premise that first led me to download it for iOS in June (it’s since added versions for Android and Windows Phone). You take a picture (cropped to a circle) and it gets sent to another, random Rando user. In exchange for each picture you send you receive one, also from a random user. That’s it.