Mobile Applications

Ride service Uber dials into courier business

Reuters

App-based ride company Uber will start delivering on its promise of expanding its business into logistics on Tuesday when it launches a trial courier service, Uber Rush, in Manhattan.

"Better, faster, cheaper," is how Uber's (San Francisco, CA, USA) general manager in New York, Josh Mohrer, described the service in a tweet to Reuters. Customers will be able to watch the progress of their packages in its transportation application, much as they can track the progress of the cars they order up on the service.

Apps in car dashboards aim to make vehicles smarter

Reuters

Searching for that elusive parking spot or a nearby attraction? Forget about consulting your smartphone, just look at the car dashboard.

Whether it is streaming music and listening to audio books, or even ordering a pizza, apps are being loaded into vehicle dashboards as more cars become connected to the Internet.

Only about 10 percent of vehicles have built-in connectivity today, but the number is expected to rise to more than 90 percent by 2020, according to the British consulting firm Machina Research.

Welltok acquires mobile health player Mindbloom

Welltok has acquired mobile health app developer Mindbloom in a move aimed at expanding its capabilities in the fast-developing telehealth sector.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed by Welltok (Denver, CO, USA), which describes itself as a “pioneer in health optimization”.

The company did, however, indicate that it plans bolster its own CafeWell Health Optimization Platform through the Mindbloom (Seattle, WA, USA) takeover, providing customers with access to a range of health programs, content and applications.

Apple to launch Healthbook fitness monitoring app with iOS 8: report

Apple appears to be planning an assault on the fast-growing market for health and fitness tracking, with reports that it is readying an application called Healthbook for launch with iOS 8, the next version of its mobile operating system.

The introduction of Healthbook by Apple (Cupertino, CA, USA) could shake up the entire market for remote health monitoring and deal a blow to smaller companies that have been targeting this opportunity.

Google releases Android for wearables

Internet giant Google has released a version of its Android operating system that has been designed for use with wearable devices, including gadgets that monitor a user’s health and fitness.

Branded Android Wear, the operating system will allow users to receive a host of services they have come to expect on smartphones and tablets, support voice-activated commands and provide access to a number of health and fitness services.

Mobile messenger WhatsApp to add voice calls

Reuters

WhatsApp, the world's biggest mobile messaging service, is to add a voice call service for its 450 million customers, laying down a new challenge to telecom network operators just days after it was bought by Facebook for $19 billion.

Chief Executive Jan Koum said his aim was for WhatsApp users to be able to make calls by the second quarter, just as they can now text messages, in a bid to expand the service's appeal to help it hit a billion users.

FamilyWize, GenieMD partner to lower medical costs

FamilyWize says it has teamed up with mobile health specialist GenieMD to further its goal of providing affordable prescription medicine.

The partnership will see FamilyWize’s (Center Valley, PA, USA) prescription discount card and price comparison service made available through the GenieMD (Pleasanton, CA, USA) app.

That means app users will be able to compare prescription prices at local pharmacies and use the FamilyWize prescription discount card to buy FDA-approved medicines at an average saving of 40%.

Ride service Uber, brash darling of Silicon Valley, stalks new markets

Reuters

Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick knows the value of a good controversy.

After his upstart company, which lets people summon rides at the touch of a smartphone button, provoked a flurry of social media outrage in December over pricing policies that can result in exorbitant fares, Kalanick addressed prospective New Year's Eve customers.

China Mobile courts overseas users with mobile app

Reuters

China Mobile International, a unit of China Mobile, has launched an application it hopes will win business from millions of overseas Chinese and others communicating with China.

The app, Jego, allows anyone outside China with an Android or iOS smartphone and a data connection to receive free incoming calls on a China Mobile (Beijing, China) number, if they have one, or via a rented number if they don't. They can also make cheap international calls using the app.

SoftBank buys $1.5 billion stake in Finnish mobile games maker Supercell

Reuters

Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank Corp is paying 150 billion yen ($1.53 billion) for a 51 percent stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, valuing the small maker of hit games "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" at $3 billion.

Softbank's (Tokyo, Japan) bid to claim a leading role in the fast-growing mobile games market makes 3-year-old Supercell (Helsinki, Finland), with about 100 employees and just two free-to-play games, more valuable than Zynga Inc (San Francisco, CA, USA), the $2.8 billion company behind former hits such as "FarmVille."

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