By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — The price of smartphones in Brazil is high, especially for the country’s socioeconomic environment, however the burgeoning middle class are becoming increasingly avid consumers. Mobile broadband accounts for 42 percent of all broadband access in Brazil with 3G service, and for these smartphones and tablets come scores of “apps” aimed at the upcoming World Cup.
The official World Cup app is from FIFA, which will provide up-to-date news on all the games, scores and time tables as well as alerts for when a favorite team is playing. The app is free and compatible with iOS and Android devices.
A similar app is the SporTV: FIFA World Cup app which provides news on all participating teams, scores and time tables and is also free for iOS and Android devices. There are specific apps for Brazil fans including the official app from the Brazilian Soccer Confederation or CBF, Seleção and another app called Torce Brasil.
Both have news focused on the Brazilian team and players, real-time scores, time tables and alerts for when the team plays. These apps are free and available for both iOS and Android devices.
Another app category that has seen impressive market penetration are those created to help find a taxi in some of Brazil’s larger cities. There are free taxi apps that make scheduling a ride home easy and all compatible with iOS and Android devices.
ZipTaxi allows the option to “express call” a taxi, which sends out a message to all available taxis in proximity and also gives an option for taxi driver preference. With ten thousand registered taxis in Rio and São Paulo, the Taxi Beat app allows the selection of an available taxi in proximity and sends the taxi in the direction of the user.
The Easy Taxi app uses GPS to locate the user and confirms the exact address to order a taxi in the area. Easy Taxi has about 30,000 registered drivers and is present in eleven Brazilian cities.
“I mostly use 99Taxi and Easy Taxi. Depending on the time of day, it can be impossible to get a taxi on the street, especially in São Paulo, so using a taxi app makes it easier and allows you to plan ahead,” said Pamela Granoff Simon, founding partner of Brazil Founders, a set of business leaders and CEOs who are shaping the Brazilian technology community.
“I usually use Waze, an app that combines GPS functions to show traffic along with social media to find out what’s happening to show the cab driver which direction to go and which to avoid.”
Ordering food online can be faster and more practical than a conventional telephone call (especially for those in Brazil that do not speak Portuguese) and, in some cases, you can get discounts on menu items. iFood and Hello Food are the best-known in Rio and São Paolo. By locating restaurants through GPS, the system recognizes the user’s location and suggests nearby restaurants.
Another function of both apps is the display of price range of the restaurants with symbols. The cheapest restaurants are accompanied by a “$”, while the most expensive exhibit a “$$$$”. Payment is made through the app and with Hello Food the user receives the order confirmation through text message.
“Personally, I highly recommend using iFood for delivery. I use it regularly and they have the best selection of restaurants and food is always delivered in a timely manner,” says Simon. “I have tried other apps but iFood provides the best user experience both online and as an app.”