Popular hired-car service Uber has opened its arms to Windows Phone and BlackBerry today, unveiling new mobile apps for users of these platforms. The new offerings join Uber’s existing Android and iOS applications, which allow people to hire black car or taxi service on demand.
After reworking its iPhone app a few months back, the company has followed suit now with its Android app, introducing major changes to improve its looks and utility. It all falls under the umbrella of Uber’s new design initiative, #TheRideAhead, a concerted and focused effort to make the apps more attractive and intuitive. Not only do Android users get a cleaner interface with redesigned animations, menus and receipts, but they also get some extras under the hood as well — most notably Foursquare integration, so people can still hire cars even if they don’t know the exact pickup or drop-off address. The app can also remember users’ most frequent pick-up locations, estimate fares, provide current rates and explain when rate exceptions like Surge Pricing kick in.
The company is not only looking to expand its app line-up, but also its reach: Singapore was added to the list of covered areas last month, and this month, a test program in Lyon, France got underway.
That’s not to say all is ideal in Uber-land. Execs saw a skirmish land on its doorstep recently, when Uber drivers protested some of the company’s policies on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. One of the major points of contention had to do with the service cutting off driving partners with low customer ratings, regardless of whether the passenger was inebriated or angry over Uber’s pricing. About 30 drivers drew media attention for demonstrating in front of the San Francisco HQ.
Hopefully Uber will figure out a way forward to address these concerns and get its house in order. The apps are looking better than ever, and we’d hate to see such useful tools get foiled because of business practices.