7 Sri Lankan Apps for ye Aunty and Uncle

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Aunty/Uncle(Noun): Those elders in our society (family, friends) who are not technology savvy yet have all the latest gadgets and no idea how they work. Usually followed by a nephew or niece teaching them HOW to use said gadgetAre sometimes known for yelling during a phone call because they think the other person can’t hear them.

So we decided to help all the uncles and aunties by coming up with a few apps that have a local flavor to them. The perfect blend of apps for your – I mean, their – new gadget.

1. YAMU (Colombo City Guide) – YAMU (Pvt) Limited

This is basically your tour guide for places to see, eat and drink in and around Colombo and Sri Lanka. If you’re a tourist visiting our little island or a citizen here who wants to know more about places to see and things to do, this app will make your life a tad easier. This is basically the smartphone friendly version of www.yamu.lk developed for both Android and iOS. The app gives you locations of places that piques your interest, and reviews and user comments and a basic rating out of 5 stars. Constant updates to improve stability and features such as pizza for delivery (via Harpos Pizza), Taxis, and even events happening around Colombo are included in the app. You can also search via advanced criteria such as places nearest to your location, newest places etc. Overall a very well thought out concept and quite nicely delivered; an application suited to the general populace of those in and around Colombo.

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Download links: For iOS

2. Sinhala Dictionary Offline – Sachith Dassanayake

How often have you struggled during the time to find the Sinhala word for an English term? Or vice versa? The term is literally what’s the phrase? “On the tip of your tongue” but you can’t seem to grasp it. Well fret not, the Sinhala Dictionary Offline will put an end to your worries. Developed by Sachith Dassanayake, the app is by far the smoothest and most stable Sinhala to English dictionary I’ve used so far. Available for Android devices, the app is extremely easy to use. Just enter in the word you want and the app will generate the meaning of the word along with synonyms that can be accredited to the word as well. The action can also be reversed with the word being typed in phonetically and the Sinhala translation given so that the word is spelt out properly.

Simple to use and very efficient.

SDO

Download links: For Android

3. SL Calendar 2014 – Kodagoda.com

With all our running around and travelling and setting up appointments etc., it’s hard to keep track of all the holidays we have. Usually it means carrying around one of those pocket calendars but those get very bothersome later on especially if you happen to misplace it. This app takes care of all that. Available for both iOS and Android, it gives you a full breakdown of all the public, bank and mercantile holidays for the year. The interface is easy to use and events can be displayed in either English or Sinhala. Holidays can also be displayed on a per month basis or as a list for the entire year via the advanced settings of the app. It also includes the “Nekath” or auspiciuous times for the Sinhala-Tamil New Year. In addition, long pressing a day allows you to add a custom reminder too. Quite the neighborhood friendly app I must say.

SLC14

Download links: For Android

4. Sri Lanka Train Schedule – ICTA Sri Lanka

This another app for those travelers out there, especially the ones who travel by train. Developed for ICTA Sri Lanka by Bhashitha Nandun Gamage, the app displays a list of all trains available for a given time and route along with the ticket price information directly from the Sri Lanka Railways. The user simply needs to enter the “From” and “To” information and the app will display the results. They can be viewed as a train by train result or in a daily schedule format. Those living near coastal areas or generally away from the Colombo city limits usually are train commuters as when traveling to and from Colombo is tedious, other methods of transport either take too long or are hectic due to congestion and traffic.
It should be noted that the schedules listed here are in accordance with the information given by the Sri Lanka Railways. Any delays or cancellation of train routes is not to be reflected on the app developer and he/she cannot be held responsible for such an occurrence.

SLTS

Download links: For Android

5. Colombo Bus Route – Pirinthapan

Another app for the traveling Sri Lankan or tourist. This time for bus routes. Works in a similar fashion to the Train Schedule app. The app has 4 basic modes to choose from:

  • Route number – where you can get details of a particular route by the number (e.g.: 154,101).
  • Place to Place – Set a start and end point to get the details of the bus route between the two points.
  • From current Place – Uses your device’s GPS to find your current location and gives you the relevant bus route from your location.
  • Through current Place – Again uses GPS to get available bus route information via your current location.

CMBBR

Download links: For Android (update: app no longer available)

6. SETT Sinhala Tamil web browser – Bhasha Lanka (Pvt) Ltd

This is an interesting app. As you would have figured out by now, most smartphones regardless of their operating system cannot display Sinhala or Tamil text in their respective browsers. As a solution we have SETT Sinhala Tamil Web browser; a simple, easy to use fully functional web browser that can read any Sinhala/Tamil web content
The Browser is equipped with a rendering engine that enables text of either Sinhala or Tamil to be rendered via Unicode web fonts. According to the developers, its data friendly too with the apps internal coding not using bitmaps the way Opera Mini does,
Also Note that this is a trial version of SETT Browser which can tried for 30 days upon which activation is required. Additionally according to the developers, Sinhala and Tamil rendering won’t work on Android devices running in Jelly Bean. Android KitKat (4.4.X) is recommended.

STB

Download links: For Android

7. Bhasha Puvath – Sri Lanka News (Bhasha Lanka (Pvt) Ltd)
The last app on our list of apps for the Sri Lankan Aunty or Uncle is a news aggregator. With the sheer number of newspaper publications present, one needs quite a number of time to go through them all and sometimes you just don’t have time to read them all. Developed by the same individuals who brought you the SETT Sinhala and Tamil web browser, this app takes care of all your newspaper whims and fancies by being an aggregate for all major news publications in Sri Lanka.
It’s fairly simple to use. Just open the app and you’re presented with an entire list of newspapers from all three languages (Sinhala, English and Tamil) to choose from. Select the ones you want and the list of newspapers will be displayed. They can be sorted alphabetically or according to an order you feel comfortable with. In case you wish to add more papers or edit existing ones, you can do so via the settings menu in the right hand top corner of the app.

BN

Download links: For Android

The Wrap Up

Well, there you have it folks. These are the apps that I feel should be on any Sri Lankan person’s smartphone. The list is fairly well spread out and all the apps stated here are available for free the perusal of the uncles and aunties of Sri Lanka.
Got an app worth mentioning? Have experience with any of these apps? We would love to hear your feedback.

Ciao people.

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