Sure, UberX might get you to your destination for less money than a taxi, but do you want to arrive safely? That will be an extra dollar. Not really, but sort of. Uber has added a $1 surcharge to UberX rides. Called a "Safe Rides Fee," the company says the cash will help offset the cost "an industry-leading background check process, regular motor vehicle checks, driver safety education, development of safety features in the app, and insurance." You know, basic stuff that Uber needs to do to make sure you're not being picked up by a serial killer or in a car that's going to lose a wheel once you get on the highway. Uber's been doing that stuff already, but taking on the cost itself – a move that's ultimately made it lose cash on every ride. It's not unreasonable that it might pass the buck literally on to its customers, but it could have probably come up with a name for the charge that doesn't sound like you're going to die if your don't pay up. Our only question: If our Uber starts texting while we're on the road can we have our dollar back?

Image source: Flickr/Adam Fagan

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Twitter beta on Windows Phone

A handful of those eager to install the Windows Phone 8.1 preview just got an additional perk for being early adopters. NokiaNewsIreland has discovered an unannounced (and now unavailable) open beta for Twitter's Windows Phone 8.1 app that makes much better use of Microsoft's mobile OS than the regular client. For a start, it now ties into the Photos Hub -- it's now easy to browse the pictures you've tweeted, even if they didn't come from your phone.

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When it comes to being fit, it's really the small stuff that counts. You can go to the gym as much as you want, run five miles every morning -- but if you eat like crap, drive yourself to the corner store and take the elevator every morning to your 2nd floor office, it'll be all for naught. RunKeeper can already help track each training session as you make your way from couch to 5K, now it's trying to motivate you to keep moving between runs with Breeze. The iOS-only app uses the iPhone 5s' M7 chip to track your movements and count the number of steps you take. Of course, pedometer apps are quickly becoming a dime a dozen. Breeze attempts to set itself apart through simplicity and minimizing user interaction.

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Slingbox has pushed out a handful of updates for SlingPlayer on iOS and Android, adding new features on both platforms. On the Android side, Slingbox joined forces with sporting-app Thuuz. Now if you have to skip watching the Giants game for work, SlingPlayer will let you know Tim Lincecum is using his secret mustache powers to pitch a no-hitter . If you can sneak away from your meeting for a "bathroom break," a link within the app will instantly tune you into the hair-raising action. The sports app won't be integrated into the iPhone version of SlingPlayer until this summer, but iOS users can still download it on its own to try out now.

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KnowRoaming review: This SIM 'sticker' makes it easy for travelers to save on data

Thanks in no small part to T-Mobile's free global data initiative, US carriers have begun to lighten the fee load when it comes time to roam. But you'll still pay an arm and a leg in many countries, and discounted plans from AT&T and Verizon, while more reasonable than they once were, require a monthly subscription that can be a hassle to add and remove. If you're expecting to use gobs of data abroad, KeepGo's disposable-SIM program is probably your best bet, but an intriguing alternative from KnowRoaming will keep leisure travelers and other casual users connected in 220 countries without the need to worry about coming home to an enormous bill. That solution, an incredibly thin card with passthrough leads and an adhesive back, simply sits atop your existing SIM, springing into action whenever you arrive in a foreign country. Join me as I travel to Europe and beyond to see how well this sticker works.

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If you're of the sort that likes to plan those otherwise impromptu encounters, Facebook has just announced a optional new feature that will certainly help with that. Nearby Friends will show you if your friends are close by, so you can reach out about meeting up. This isn't automatically turn on inside Facebook's apps though, as you'll have to toggle it on and your friends will have to decide to share their location for it to work. However, there's the ability to broadcast coordinates for a certain amount of time -- the hour or two that you plan to be at your favorite bar, for example. You can also see when folks that have opted-in are traveling, giving you the opportunity to send any ramen or burrito recommendations their way. As you might expect, the feature will beam push notifications to your mobile device to alert you when your best mate is nearby. This news is certainly interesting in the context of the outfit's push for its own location services, along with recent news of Instagram testing the in-house Places for tagging photos. While there's no official arrival date, Nearby Friends is rolling out to both Android and iOS in the weeks to come.

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​Today Yahoo is rolling our Flickr "3.0," a completely redesigned approach to its photo-sharing apps on Android and iOS. In addition to offering improved sharing through Dropbox and Google+, Flickr on mobile now features Instagram-like filters and in-depth editing tools. We especially like the new option to view each photo's metadata, including which camera an image was shot with, aperture setting and more.

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Eyefi Mobi SD card

There are plenty of cameras that send their photos to your phone, but you frequently have to transfer those pictures yourself -- and it's another hassle to get the pics to other devices. Eyefi thinks it can solve these headaches by launching its own online service, Eyefi Cloud. If you're using one of the company's WiFi-equipped Mobi cards in your camera alongside new Android and iOS apps, any photos go both to your mobile device and Cloud right after you've hit the shutter button. You only need a browser to manage your shots, so you're not stuck if you want to see your photos on a new PC.

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Samsung seems to be on a roll with bagging media partnerships for its Galaxy line of phones and tablets. First music streaming service Deezer, and now it's getting a custom-built Kindle book store in a deal with Amazon. Announced this morning, the service also gives Galaxy owners referred to the service (starting with the GS5, but more to follow) 12 free books a year. Users will get four "prominent" titles a month to choose from, which have been "chosen specifically" for Galaxy owners (whatever that means). Samsung's already laden with bespoke services, such as its Milk internet radio platform, its own custom app store, and there's even an existing Samsung Books app. Of course, let's not forget the existing Kindle app for Android. However, if you want to snag yourself those free libros, Kindle for Samsung launches in the next two weeks.

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Shazam for iPhone

It's easy to track down iPhone apps that name catchy tunes, but it now looks like Apple wants to spare you from having to search in the first place. Bloomberg sources claim that a future version of iOS will incorporate Shazam's song recognition in the same way that the existing mobile platform integrates Facebook and Twitter. While built-in music detection wouldn't be a new idea (just ask Windows Phone users), you could ask Siri to tell you what's playing rather than hit a button. There aren't any clues as to when the feature would reach iOS. However, Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference begins in early June -- if the rumor is accurate, there's a good chance we'll get the full scoop in a matter of weeks.

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One of the big promises that came out of Microsoft's Build conference this year were apps that'd work across a number of Windows devices with a single purchase, and Redmond is using Halo to lead that charge. The first group of applications includes Halo: Spartan Assault and Skulls of the Shogun, both of which recently made the conversion to universal games -- making them playable across Windows Phone, Windows 8 and RT devices for one price. If you'd rather not pay for your entertainment, though, Microsoft also converted the likes of Wordament, Minesweeper and Hexic too. However, as Windows Phone Central notes, buying the universal version of Skulls doesn't grant access to the Xbox 360 version, nor does Spartan Assault's universal purchase unlock the Xbox 360 or Xbox One versions. Given that the Xbox division is still pretty separate from everything else though, that isn't exactly surprising.

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Cheesy moniker aside, Sprint's newly minted Framily plan is not one to be ignored. It allows you to save money by sharing an account with, well, friends and family, all while being billed separately on up to 10 lines. Following in similar footsteps, AT&T's prepaid subsidiary Aio Wireless has now announced Group Save, which allows users to get a maximum monthly discount of $90 per account. It's simple, really: the more lines you add, the more cash you save every month on your bill total, not per line. With Aio's Group Save, you can have up to five lines; the first two get you a $10 discount, while lines number three, four and five knock off $30, $60 and $90 per month, respectively.

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SONY DSC

With all the modular phone concepts, balloon internet projects, robots and drones it can be easy to forget Google's main business angle: search and advertising. Google reported its first quarter earnings today and didn't have much to say about our favorite topics -- we'll hear more about those at Google I/O in June -- or even its pending sale of Motorola to Lenovo. Responding to an analyst's question, Google execs Patrick Pichette and Nikesh Arora mentioned the need to "keep evolving (search) results," as it increasingly serves up info (sports scores, TV listings, restaurant menus) on its own website instead of just providing links. That's probably also behind its push for Google Now results that bring up relevant info before the user even asks, on the desktop and mobile. In a brief reference to the Chromecast, Pichette called the $35 device a hit, mentioning the over 3,000 developers had signed up to build apps since the launch of the SDK.

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We already know Apple is working on improving Siri, but gosh dangit, the folks in Cupertino just aren't moving as fast as some would like. That's why a quartet of freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania decided to try making Siri do more on their own... at a hackathon, no less. They wound up taking third prize for the hack -- called GoogolPlex -- and after some fine-tuning, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta are ready to help you make your virtual assistant do more. The setup process is trivial: you just have to change your WiFi connection's proxy settings (seriously, it'll take five seconds). Once that's done though, you can invoke Siri and ask GoogolPlex to play tunes in Spotify, crank up the heat on your Nest thermostat or even start your Tesla.

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Cortana on Windows Phone

Don't despair that Windows Phone 8.1's signature virtual assistant, Cortana, doesn't officially work outside of the US -- as it turns out, there's a fairly easy way to try it in other countries. Pocket-lint notes that early adopters can chat with Cortana by choosing US language, region and speech in their phone settings. Provided you can live with American spelling across the interface, everything works as expected -- you can find local shops, call friends and set reminders using only your voice. You'll still have to wait until later in the year to get a truly localized version of Microsoft's digital companion, but you can at least see what all the fuss is about right now.

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