Back in 2011 I posted about how a team of students from Kuwait came second place in the GCC Microsoft Imagine Cup. The idea that got them there was the creation of an App that would use crowd sourcing to inform the authorities of various problems around Kuwait. Using your phone you could snap a picture of overflowing garbage, large pot holes, accidents etc.. and then send the photos to the proper authorities with a GeoTag of the location.
Fast forward a couple of years and the Riyadh municipality just launched an iPhone App that does all of that. The screenshots above are in Arabic but the App also has English. Another example of a great local idea that gets implemented by another GCC country. [Link]
The Regional Center for Development of Educational Software (ReDSOFT) have created a pretty amazing iOS App which allows you to download all the books for all grades required by of the Ministry of Education in Kuwait. You just have to tell the App which class you’re in and then you will then have access to all the books that are required by the Ministry for that year. The App is called “كتابي” but if you don’t have an Arabic keyboard setup on your iPhone or iPad then you can search for “nader marafie” in the App store and you’ll find the app or even better here is the direct link to the App Store [Link]
With the last update to Google Maps on the iPhone they added a new feature for traffic conditions. I originally thought these were based on estimates or general traffic conditions in that area but I now believe the traffic conditions on Google Maps is actually live.
I was on the Fahaheel Expressway heading south earlier today using Google Maps for navigation and there was traffic just before the 6th Ring Road bridge. Turns out there had been an accident and debris was spread out all over the highway causing congestion. To my surprise the traffic was showing on Google Maps. No idea how they’re getting the traffic data but I’m going to be using Google Maps a lot more now when trying to figure out which road has less traffic.
The Gulf Cup starts on Saturday and local iPhone App developer Mobibus have released an App for the tournament.
Gulf Cup 21 mobile application allows you to stay up to date with the Gulf Cup Tournaments , News and Standings.You can check scores for live matches, latest results and upcoming matches. Also you can check all the Teams information (Squad , Ranking, Coach, … etc)
The App is free and if you’re interested you can download it from the Apple Store by searching for Gulf Cup 21 or by clicking [Here]
Desert Tycoon is an iPhone game created by two guys one of whom is Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Zabin. The game is similar to SimCity but in this case you are based in the Gulf and you start off as a humble Bedouin. Step by step you build your business empire of real estate, business, energy, and tourism assets with the aim of basically turning your city into an Arabian metropolis like how Dubai is today.
Update: I got an email from Abdullah with some details regarding who they are. This is what he had to say:
A brief background about us. Myself and my business partner Ali Diab started Lumba in January of this year with a simple premise: build the next generation Arab mobile entertainment company. We are based in San Francisco, actually in the same shared office where many of the [now] large mobile game developers (Pocket Gems, SuperCell, Kabam, etc.) started over the past 3 years.
Our team consists of:
– Product Managers that worked for AdMob, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Bain
– Artists and Illustrators that worked with Pixar, Dreamworks, Fox, and Disney
– Software Engineers that worked for Google
– Music composer and producer who scored music for console game titles on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. He also produced music for Kelly Rowland, Rick Ross, Black Eyed Peas, and Nicole Scherzinger
We are taking it upon ourselves to tastefully fuse Silicon Valley tech with our Arab cultural roots for all our mobile games. We hope our first, Desert Tycoon, is representative of that.
Google released Google Maps for the iPhone today and other than the fact it’s a lot better than Apple Maps its also a lot better than the older Google Maps that was built into the iPhone software. The new version of Google Maps is using vector based graphics which makes it a lot smoother than the older version and it also has new features like traffic and turn by turn directions. You can download Google Maps right now from the Apple Store by simply searching for Google Maps.
According to Arabian Business, Apple will officially be launching the iPhone 5 in Kuwait and the GCC on December 14th. So if you were planning to purchase an iPhone 5, put it on hold until it’s officially out. My guess is the 16GB version will end up costing around KD220 when it’ officially launched here. [Link]
Xcite dropped off the new iPad mini for me to play around with earlier today and I’m honestly surprised that I like it. I really wasn’t interested in the iPad mini when it was first announced and didn’t think it made sense until I took it out of the box and held it in my hands. Now I’m wondering if there is a purpose for the regular sized iPad. The new iPad mini feels a lot lighter and slimmer than my now huge iPad 3 and I really LOVE the black anodized aluminum finish on the back.
Once I downloaded Zinio and the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine I realized why I’d rather have my iPad 3 over the mini. The problem with most of the magazines on Zinio is that they were originally intended for print in sizes similar to that of the regular iPad. Since the iPad mini is smaller, all the text in the magazines become smaller as well and makes it a lot more difficult to read. The fact the iPad mini doesn’t have a retina display isn’t helping its case either.
But for a first impression, other than the issue I would have reading magazines on it the iPad mini does make sense. I’ve stopped carrying my iPad when I travel and instead have been carrying my 13″ MacBook Air and my Kindle because it didn’t make sense to carry iPad 3 and MacBook Air at the same time. If I had the iPad mini on the other hand I wouldn’t mind taking it along since it wouldn’t be adding that much weight or size.
If you want to check out the iPad mini yourself, Xcite have them on display right now at their Avenues and Al Rai locations.
Update: Arab Times also confirms the approved frequency is 1800 MHz [Link]
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