App-based ride services like Uber and Lyft have begun to dominate the taxi market in the USA, but in Asia, Grab is the app to have. Grab, which was formerly known as GrabTaxi, is an Uber-like service that offers rides, lifts, and on-demand taxi service with flat rate fees based on the car, the city, and waiting times. Unlike local taxi which can be unreliable in many cities, Grab allows you to quickly book a ride from your app, wait for it, and then pay through the app or use cash. This feature makes it safer for foreigners to travel, simply because you would not have to worry about hailing an illegitimate taxi. Grab vets all of its drivers, and with flat rate payments, you would not have to worry about being charged more than you owe.
History of Grab
In 2011, Anthony Tan, then a Harvard Student, drew out an idea for an Uber-based taxi booking app after a classmate complained about the difficulties of hailing a taxi in Malaysia. Tan eventually drew up a booking service, which he pitched at the 2011 Harvard Business Plan Competition, placing second, which helped him to earn angel investors. The service launched in 2012 as MyTeksi, and quickly expanded as GrabTaxi, and then as Grab.
Today, Grab operates in 30 cities throughout Malaysia, Philippines, India, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
How it Works
Grab allows you to book a taxi up to 7 days in advance using their app and GPS services. You can choose the starting point, drop off point, time, and select whether your travel is for personal or business reasons. You can also leave notes to the driver to specify what you will look like or where you will be. You just simply need to download the Grab app (Apple and Android), sign up (Google, Facebook, Mobile Number) and verify your mobile number.
Start Using Grab
Once you input your starting point and drop off point, you can continue to choose your car type, will see your flat rate fare. The app also shows you how many drivers are in your area. Grab will choose the closest driver to your pickup location (even if you are booking from another country) and you can choose Cash or GrabPay, which you will have to set up before using.
From there, all you have to do is wait for your ride. The driver will mark you as picked up when they get there and mark you as dropped off when you arrive at your stop, which you can confirm in your app. After your ride, Grab will automatically bill your credit card using GrabPay, or you will pay in cash based on the option you chose in advance. It’s so simple!
Grab Car and Taxi Options
Grab offers a variety of car and taxi options intended for most types of users. It allows you to choose the best option for your needs and budget.
GrabCar is the standard unlicensed car service offered by Grab, which operates similarly to Uber. Drivers must register to use their car or rent one, verify their information, and purchase commercial insurance. From there, they can offer rides through the app, and show themselves as available when they are out to look for a rider. GrabCar offers a great deal in terms of ride and car options.
GrabTaxi is a service that pairs with many licensed taxi services in most of their cities, allowing you to get a professional, licensed taxi through the app. GrabTaxi includes Citicab, Premier, Trans-Cab, SMRT, and some other services depending on where you are, and you can choose between the standard GrabTaxi or the LimoTaxi.
GrabHitch is a social ride-sharing option offered through Grab that you can use to book cheaper rides. GrabHitch works by connecting you with another driver who is going in the same direction, allowing you to get a ride from private drivers who are conducting personal errands. GrabHitch has longer wait times than GrabTaxi or GrabCar, but does typically cost 20-40% less per ride.
Grab also offers GrabBike (motorcycle), and GrabExpress (courier service) depending on the area. However, service availability depends on the country and the city.
Advantages of Grab
Grab has a lot of benefits, most of which include easy booking, insured drivers, rider ratings, and low or at least confirmed wait times.
Licensed and Insured Drivers – Grab drivers are required to register as a local business, convert their car to a commercial business, sign up in person at the Grab office, and purchase commercial insurance to cover you and your belongings. If you choose GrabTaxi, you are also connecting with licensed Taxi drivers, not with inexperienced drivers. However, GrabHitch does not include this protection.
Flat rate fees – Grab uses flat rate fees that you can see upfront before your ride. This feature takes the surprise out of many taxi fares, and allows you to choose a ride that best suits your economic means.
Shorter wait times – With over 30,000 drivers in 30 cities, Grab rides are typically readily available.
Rated Drivers – Just like Uber, Grab allows you to rate your driver after riding, which means that drivers who are difficult to ride with have a bad rating.
Grab and Uber are two very similar services, and both of them operate in almost the same regions. This similarity also means that consumers have options to choose between them. Grab is an easy to use on-demand car and taxi service that you can use to hail licensed taxis or business driving services in Malaysia, Philippines, India, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. If you’re planning to use it, all you have to do is remember to verify and set up your account, and set GrabPay up in advance of booking a rental.
Nexon’s MapleStory M: Nostalgic World of MapleStory on Mobile
MapleStory, launched in 2003, is a free-to-play 2D side-scrolling MMORPG where players can choose from many exciting job classes and explore different worlds within the Maple Universe. MapleStory M, on the other hand, is an all-new mobile adventure spinoff based on the original MapleStory. When launched in Korea in October 2016, MapleStory M quickly became the #1 ranked free game on both iOS and Android. Now, after its global debut, Nexon has announced that it has been downloaded over three million times, becoming one of the top games in 2018 on Google Play.
In MapleStory M, players can relive the same experience that they get from the original desktop franchise, through their mobile phones. Nexon did a great job of transferring the game’s interface onto a phone, making it more user-friendly and intuitive, without differing much from the original gameplay. In the game, players can quickly view and access the controls, menu, quests, chatroom, and health and magic indicators at any time, in or out of battle. Unlike the original MapleStory, where there are a large number of hotkeys attached to the game’s features which may pose a problem for new players. This easy accessibility and visibility of the in-game’s features is a significant improvement.
The game also features the original set of classes, The Explorers, at the same time, players can play and communicate in real-time with millions of players around the world. There are in-depth, immersive storylines, real-time events, and big boss raids. Players can also enjoy endless character customization through hair colors, fashionable items, and accessories.
Other special features of MapleStory M include Auto Quest and Auto Battle. Auto Quest is accessible as soon as players start the game. It allows players to send their characters on a mission to either obtain quests by engaging with NPCs (non-player characters) or fulfill the quest’s requirements like killing a certain number of golems or collecting a particular mob drop. This feature decreases the amount of time needed to fulfill tedious quests, and more time can be dedicated to hanging out with the guild or exploring the worlds. Auto Battle can be unlocked when the character reaches level 20. Every day, players will receive a free “2-Hour Charge” for Auto Battle, which allows the character to automatically attack and kill whatever mobs that are on the map. When Auto Battle is turned on, the character will automatically navigate within the map, attacking mobs, getting experience points, and consuming pots to maintain optimum health and magic points.
MapleStory M Key Features
Five Classes – Players can create up to five characters and choose among Dark Night, Night Lord, Bishop, Captain, or Bowmaster.
High-quality Graphics – Immersive effects and superb graphics.
Endless Customization – Create a unique appearance and style for your characters using accessories and outfits.
Party and Guild System – Explore dungeons and grow stronger with a party or by joining a guild.
Auto Quest and Auto Battle – Level up and complete quests via the in-game AI.
MapleStory M Trailer
Credits to: 넥슨 모바일
Pixel Perfect: Kairosoft Mini Pixel World
After unboxing your new mobile smartphone and being mesmerized by its glory, you’ll probably want to test its potential with the latest graphic-intensive games. Smartphones today are equipped with the best processors and graphics capabilities such that they can even be better than most hand-held gaming consoles. However, there are still a handful of gamers that are obsessed with 8-bit games despite this advancement in technology.
8-bit or pixel art games were initially used to display characters and levels in a manageable way for gaming consoles, arcades, and home computing titles of the 80s. Pixel art usage saw a rapid decline during the era of the launch of 3D-capable gaming consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64. They have since made a comeback, and many pixel-art titles have been released for Android and iPhone in recent years. Some games were inspired by the 80s dungeon crawlers, while others were pure addictive titles generously sprinkled with pixel dust. The extent of how pixel art is used now is different as it’s not retro, but it’s innovation, bringing new techniques and gaming style to modern gaming genres.
Founded in 1996, Japanese game developer Kairosoft (カイロソフト) are known for developing game titles with unique gameplay and distinctive pixelated art style. With the release of Game Dev Story on iOS and Android in 2010, Kairosoft became a large hit and reached the top ten in iPhone app sales during the first week. Since then, Kairosoft grew its roots in this niche market in the mobile gaming scene.
Here are some of the best 8-bit games by Kairosoft for your smartphone:
1) Game Dev Story (Last updated April 26, 2017): Game Dev Story is a simulation video game by Kairosoft that allows you to manage your game company with the goal of making hit titles and consoles in order to make money. It features the ability to manage the quality of games released by hiring staff, controlling the direction and speed of game development, and using items which provide additional boosts for workers or change their jobs.
2) Mega Mall Story (Last updated February 2, 2018): Mega Mall Story is a mall management simulation game that allows you to manage a small mall, which you can expand by adding new stores, building more floors, providing new modes of transportation, and making your customers happy. The aim of the game is to increase your establishment’s popularity to make money.
3) Anime Studio Story (Last updated November 10, 2016): Anime Studio Story is similar to the “Anime Studio Story” as a “Developer” style simulation game. In the game, you manage your own anime company to develop the best anime available in the market in an attempt to become the best anime company. Speaking of the company, you can equip it with a library or even a theater. You can also upgrade your staff to craft a classic that will echo through the generations.
4) Pool Slide Story (Last updated September 13, 2018): Pool Slide Story is a management game where you can create and manage a wonderful and dazzling water park. Expand your water park by adding exciting facilities to become the talk of the town. You’ll be spoiled for choice when comes to customizing your water park with a wide selection of attractions to build.
5) Home Run High (Last updated June 6, 2018): Home Run High is a management simulation game that places you in charge of a high school baseball team. It might be a small after-school club now, but with the right management, this team will climb to world-class standard. It features the ability to train your players, install batting cages and other facilities to make life better for the team.
6) The Ramen Sensei 2 (Last updated September 10, 2018): The Kairosoft’s Ramen Sensei 2 is a simulation game that allows you to start and manage your own ramen restaurant. In order to make the best ramen, you will need to create your own noodles and soup. New soups and noodles are unlocked as you progressed through the game. Win over customers at ramen festivals, which you can play together with friends and face off rivals at ramen arena contests and make your Ramen Hall prosper.
7) Dream Town Story (Last updated June 26, 2018): Town simulator games are a dime a dozen, and they all seem to follow the same cookie-cutter format. Dream Town Story is a town building simulation game that breaks the mold of the city-building genre by allowing you to build your town from scratch. You can build houses, shops, and lots of other facilitiesto make your town a vibrant, lovely place to live in. Once you settled into your town, you may also try co-op mode, which enables you to team up with other players to build towns together.
8) Dream House Days (Last updated June 5, 2018): Dream House Days is an apartment management simulation game, where you can furnish apartments, and slowly grow your property into a place anyone would be happy to live in. You play as both an architect and a landlord in this fanciful title, and it’s up to you to furnish your ideal apartment with anything from arcade games to saunas to convenience stores. As you rise up the rankings of real estate fame and you might reel in celebrity tenants, ranging from popular singers to soccer stars, making huge profits.
Lazada Birthday Festival: Celebrating 6 with Great Deals and More!
Lazada is taking this year’s Birthday Festival a level higher as they celebrate their 6th birthday in Singapore, starting 24 April, with discounts of up to 90% off with 600+ flash deals and up to $120 worth of vouchers.
What’s more, you can further stretch your budget by using code (6LAZBDAY) and Citi Credit Card at checkout during 24-26 April from 9 am daily to get $12 off with minimum spend of $100.
If you are unsure what to buy and wish to be surprised, you may also try out Lazada’s Surprise Boxes ($29/$49) which they have worked with 74 different brands to bring you specially-curated boxes. These boxes comes in limited quantity and are up for grabs for a limited time only. They also contain goodies worth more than $100.
Who is Lazada?
Lazada is an online shopping & selling platform in Southeast Asia that features more than 2,500 brands, serving 560 million consumers across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, the e-commerce company aims to establish an Amazon.com business model within the region. They aim to achieve this by taking advantage of the untapped online consumer market and Amazon’s weak presence here.
In recent years, Lazada has grown to be a force not to reckon with as they get acquired by China’s Alibaba in 2016 as Alibaba expands into Southeast Asia with a US$1 billion Lazada deal. Subsequently, Alibaba also boosted its stake to 83 percent in 2017 with an additional investment of US$1 billion. Then, further investment of extra US$2 billion and tapping a top executive (Ms. Lucy Peng) to run the business. This move strengthened Alibaba’s vision of taking on rivals such as tech giant Amazon in the region. The latest funding will double Alibaba’s total investment in Lazada at US$4 billion which it said will “accelerate the growth plans” and help further tie the Lazada business into Alibaba’s core e-commerce service.
Lazada and Razer also announced this month the launch of a new digital game store on the online shopping platform, offering consumers access to thousands of digital games as well as reward customers with every purchase.
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