New East Digital Archive

Best in tech: from instant sex to instant messaging, Russia’s hottest new apps

Best in tech: from instant sex to instant messaging, Russia's hottest new apps

From sex-on-demand to interior design, Russian developers are coming up with creative ways to enter the multi-billion dollar app industry

7 October 2013

Apps, whether mobile or web, have come to dominate our lives. From losing weight to learning to meditate, whatever your need, there’s guaranteed to be an app for it. The result is an economy that’s worth billions. The app economy currently generates around $72bn a year and is expected to more than double by 2017, according to AppNation. No surprise, then, that Russian developers are keen to get a look in. With hundreds of new apps to sift through, The Calvert Journal has handpicked five debuts that will make your life easier, if not more fun.


Readymag founder Anton Gerasimenko has big plans for the online publishing industry. His hope with Readymag, a web platform that simplifies the creation and distribution of online magazines, is to revolutionise the world of digital publishing. With Readymag, he’s not far from achieving his goal. The paid-for web app, out today, is aimed primarily at professionals, allowing users to create slickly designed magazines, portfolios and presentations with minimal effort. The drag and drop interface makes it easy to use and those with more advanced skills can add animated backgrounds. “We’re very impressed by the publishing potential of the iPad but what really annoyed us were the electronic magazines that came out after its launch,” says Gerasimenko, formerly of design bureau Sila. “They were exact replicas of the print versions with static pages that tried to imitate the physical properties of paper. It looked pretty funny considering how innovative the device itself was.”


For those planning a domestic revamp or kitting out their homes for the first time, Fingo will prove an indispensable tool. The mobile app allows you to pick different brands of furniture from a catalogue and create 3D models to view in your home. You simply hold up your iPad against a marker (which you can print from the Fingo website) and watch your sofa or table appear before your very eyes. Sergey Solyanik, CEO and founder of Fingo, says: “It’s a characteristic of mankind to look for simple ways to solve day-to-day problems. Unfortunately, not everyone has good spatial awareness and can imagine how a certain piece of furniture will look in their house … We’re giving people a tool to construct the interior of their own home: they can be creative; it’s like a game.” Fingo is due out this October.


Strictly speaking MyLapka is much more than just an app: it’s a series of domino-like sensors that plug into your iPhone or iPad to monitor your surrounding environment. Each of the sensors works with the app to present data on the levels of radioactivity, humidity and electromagnetic rays in your environment. There’s even one to measure the level of nitrates in your food — a great way of telling if your vegetables are organic or not. With a breathalyser to be added to the pack this month, you’ll have your very own “scientific Swiss Army Knife”. Not only are the white plastic-and-wood sensors an elegant accessory to your Apple device, the data is beautifully displayed on the app’s interface.

The man behind MyLapka is Vadik Marmeladov, a Russian graphic designer known for his work on a number of high-profile projects such as Moscow hipster website Look At Me. Now, thanks to Marmeladov, you’ll have instant access to the once-hidden world of particles, ions, molecules and waves. The only question is what do you do with the information once you have it? Sensors can be purchased individually or as a block of four for $249.

Telegram Messenger

Telegram Messenger is the latest project from one of Russia’s most controversial tech figures: Pavel Durov. His social networking site VK, essentially a facsimile of Facebook, is a treasure trove of copyright-infringing content. With Telegram, Durov has gone down the well-trodden path of taking an existing product and improving it. In this case, WhatsApp, the free mobile messaging service with more than 300 million users. Anton Utkin, interface designer at Moscow-based consulting firm Thalient Interfaces, says: “It’s understandable that the head of WhatsApp is angry, but there’s no basis for it: unlike the pretty ugly and non-intuitive WhatsApp, which has already been responsible for a fair number of scandals about the leak of personal data, Telegram is a good-looking, compact and polished product.”


Forget hook-up app Tinder, if you’re looking to get laid, download Pure (once it makes it past the App Store censors that is). The no-time-wasting app does away with any unnecessary chit-chat and gets right down to the nitty-gritty: can you host or travel? Users simply punch in a few details (gender, mate’s preferred gender etc) before sitting back and waiting for potential partners to appear. Once a match is made, it’s just a case of figuring out where to meet and how soon. And, there’s no need to fret about the details of your dalliance becoming public: the request, the conversation and any pictures are deleted after an hour.

The fee-paying app was developed by GetPure, a Russo-Ukrainian start-up whose founders say they are staunch supporters of the sex-positive movement. Co-founder Roman Sidorenko says: “Our focus is on promoting an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable.” If Sidorenko and co have their way, it’ll be no time before finding a no-strings one-night stand will be as easy as ordering a pizza.

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