Facebook to buy virtual reality goggles maker for $2 billion

Reuters

Facebook Inc will acquire two-year-old Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion, buying its way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena with its first-ever hardware deal.

The acquisition, which comes hot on the heels of its $19 billion deal for messaging service WhatsApp, marks a big bet by Facebook (Menlo Park, CA, USA) to anticipate the next shift in an evolving technology industry, at a time when consumers are increasingly abandoning their PCs for smartphones.

Ray-Ban maker Luxottica to bring Google Glass to wider market

Reuters

Google has teamed up with Ray-Ban maker Luxottica in a bid to turn its Internet-connected Glass spectacles into a widely-available, stylish consumer product.

In a statement late on Monday, Luxottica (Milan, Italy), the world's biggest eyewear maker, said it had agreed to design, develop and distribute Glass eyewear, which so far has only been available as an expensive prototype in the United States.

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.

IMS Health could raise $1.36 billion in IPO: Reuters

Healthcare IT player IMS Health is expecting to price its initial public offering at between $18 and $21 a share, which would value the company at $6.97 billion, according to a report from Reuters.

The company, backed by TPG Capital Management (Fort Worth, TX, USA), is hoping to raise as much as $1.36 billion from the sale of 65 million shares.

According to Reuters, IMS (Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, USA), will sell some 52 million shares during the offering, with the remainder being put up for sale by shareholders.

Fitness, mobile-health gadgets rated popular wearables in Nielsen survey

Fitness bands and mobile health gadgets were rated as two of the three most popular types of wearable device in a recent survey conducted by Nielsen.

Some 61% of respondents chose fitness bands when asked about their wearable-device preferences, with 17% picking mobile health devices.

Meanwhile, 45% of respondents opted for smart watches.

Most fitness band owners (57%) said the ability to self-monitor was a major factor in their decision to purchase the technology, along with concern about their health.

TeleHealth International Partnership aims for global telehealth access

A group of telehealth and scientific experts has come together to form a new telehealth company calling itself the TeleHealth International Partnership (TIP).

The TIP (Atlanta, GA, USA) says its mission will be to deliver worldwide access to healthcare through the innovative use of technology, including telemedicine and health information exchange.

Xchanging invests in MachineShop to fuel IoT development

Technology services provider Xchanging has made a $1 million investment in enterprise middleware provider MachineShop aimed at supporting product development and sales and marketing activity in the Internet of Things (IoT) area.

Xchanging (London, UK) says it has partnered with MachineShop (Boston, MA, USA) since January 2013, but is keen to “penetrate the burgeoning IoT market further”.

Ryder offers mobile maintenance, telematics at new Texas facility

Logistics and supply-chain management player Ryder System says it has opened a new truck maintenance and rental facility in Schertz, Texas that will provide mobile maintenance and telematics services to its customers.

According to the company, the facility will offer a rental fleet equipped with GPS telematics technology, making Ryder the “only company in the market with a facility offering both vehicle rental and mobile maintenance”.

Rand McNally to make Drivewyze available on fleet-management devices

Rand McNally says it has enhanced its fleet-management service through a deal with Drivewyze that will help commercial truck drivers to bypass weigh stations.

The Drivewyze (Edmonton, Canada) PreClear service allows drivers to clear weigh station requirements before reaching the location, and Rand McNally (Skokie, IL, USA) is to make that service available on its suite of mobile fleet-management devices.

The technology works by communicating safety-related data in real-time as a truck approaches a weigh station.

GE, Quirky launch connected air-conditioning unit

GE has taken the wraps off a new connected air-conditioning unit developed in partnership with engineering company Quirky and aimed at lowering energy costs for US consumers.

Branded Aros, the unit represents Quirky’s (New York City, NY, USA) first major connected appliance but the fifth product that has been launched in collaboration with GE (Fairfield, CT, USA), which announced a tie-up with Quirky back in April 2013.

In a statement, GE said that Aros is immediately available through Amazon.com and will be sold through major US retailers from May.

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