Mobile 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."

App connects bike owners with renters

Reuters

As the bicycle makes a major comeback in cities across the globe, a new app is making sure that no bike collects dust in a garage.

Cyclists in more than 500 cities worldwide have access to rentals thanks to the growing popularity of city bike sharing services that provide convenient and affordable access to bicycles, according to the environmental group Earth Policy Institute.

But a new iPhone app called Spinlister is aiming to connect bicycle owners with people who want to rent different types of bicycles and for longer periods of time.

Nokia Siemens and CDNetworks partner on content delivery

Nokia Siemens Networks has signed a memorandum of understanding with CDNetworks, a provider of web services, that will see the two companies collaborate on the development of a new content delivery service for mobile broadband operators.

The two companies are to work on improving an existing service from Nokia Siemens Networks (Helsinki, Finland) called Liquid Applications, which allows operators to tailor content and applications depending on a customer’s service preferences and usage profile.

Deutsche Telekom seeks to attract developers of cloud-based M2M apps

With the cloud and M2M both integral to Deutsche Telekom’s growth strategy, the German operator is keen to publicize its launch of development kits for cloud-based M2M applications.

The kits consist of Arduino or Cinterion boards with GSM chips, SIM cards and access to the M2M Developer Platform.

Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) is also relaunching its M2M Developer Community – its portal for developing M2M products and services – with new functionality.

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