New App Could be the Future for Retail

It’s been described as the Tinder of the retail world and now a new app will enable users to swipe left or right and then click on an image to buy a new outfit.

Bijou Commerce says its app will enable beauty and fashion apps to offer single image browsing with users swiping right if they are impressed with the product and swiping left if not.

The firm says that the app will make shopping more engaging and simpler for retail customers.

The issue is that most apps for retailers place between four and 12 products on a screen and these look too small on many mobile phones which being some products will struggle to stand out from the crowd.

Google apps verification simplified

Google has made the verification process for its Gmail and Apps simpler by enabling users to approve a sign-in request with a single tap on their phone.

Currently users have to look up a six-digit code and type it in elsewhere – that is if they enabled two-step verification – for their apps and online accounts.

Now a pop-up will appear asking for verification which the user will just have to tap.

To enable the system, users need to visit their Google account and follow the instructions but users should appreciate the new system only works for Google accounts.

The new method follows in the footsteps of Microsoft which enabled the simple form of verification for its Account app.

Mobile phone apps could ‘treat’ mental health patients

The NHS has announced that it may begin using mobile phone apps to help treat mental health patients to help ease pressure on the service.

Those behind the move say things like Fitbit activity trackers and iPhones can help ease pressure on primary care services with high-tech mobile phone apps being used to determine a user’s state of mind.

The app will work by analysing the user’s breathing pattern, facial expression as well as tone and inflection of their voice to determine how well, or poorly, they are.

In a report to NHS chiefs about the potential of using more mobile phone apps, the researchers say that people appear to be willing to disclose information to a virtual psychiatrist or a computer avatar rather than to a real one.

In addition, mobile phone apps could form a new primary care approach, particularly to improve mental health.

Ghostbot helps relationships

A new app aimed at ending relationships has been launched and will analyse messages and work out how to respond to a persistent texter.

Ghostbot is described by its creators as a text messaging bot to help users ‘ghost away’ from a fleeting relationship without having to deal with the emotional baggage.

The bot may reply that the user is too busy for meeting up or simply send a thumbs down emoji to give them a more obvious rejection.

It works by detecting messages that have been marked as a ‘ghost’ by the user and the responses can be anything from a few minutes to a few hours and eventually, the bot will stop replying.

Users will be able to create links in their phone apps

Part of the frustration of using mobile apps is finding information that has caught a user’s eye but is then lost but this may come to end with a new uLink experiment being unveiled Microsoft Research.

When users trawl through several pages on a mobile app and then cannot find what they were looking for will find the new system to add bookmarks which will make their life easier.

The operation is rather similar to the deep app linking idea from Google but doesn’t involve going online for it to work.

Also, the new bookmarking system only works on Android but the ability to see and revisit specific and favourite spots within a mobile phone app looks like taking off.

Android Pay available in the UK

Android Pay enables users to pay for items and services with their NFC equipped mobile phones and it’s now live for UK users without any fanfare being made.

Androind Pay went live in America shortly after its 2015 announcement and has proved to be popular.

To help the new payment system grow in the UK, Google is promoting special offers particularly discounts on one day of the month for the increasing number of outlets that accept Android Pay.

However, Google has also announced which banks and cards in the UK will support the system including MasterCard and Visa debit and credit cards from most of the country’s financial institutions.

Most will offer the service except for Barclays which is renowned for being one of the last to join Apple Pay.

The new payment system will work anywhere where contactless payments are accepted including Costa, Boots and KFC.

In other mobile phone app news…

Microsoft has released its Flow iOS app which enables a firm’s employees to carry their corporate intranet with them so they can access key information whenever they need to. The SharePoint mobile app is for users with Office 365 and SharePoint online.

In last week’s Miratrix mobile phone app news, we highlighted that the new iOS 10 would allow users to delete the apps that come already built-in but we were wrong (and, as it turned out, was everyone else) since users can hide the apps but not delete them.

Nearby Will Alert Users to Local Offers

Mobile phone app users with Android phones will soon be using a new feature for the system called Nearby which alerts the user to apps that may be of interest based on their current location.

There aren’t many apps supporting the function currently but they do include an in-flight entertainment app for an airline and a photo printing app when close to a High Street chemist store.

However, Google believes there is huge potential for the service as it could offer users discounts at their favourite stores by responding to a Nearby alert to download an app and claim a discount for using it.

The idea is that the user not only saves money but then uses a shop they would probably walk past.

Another proposal is that a growing number of local taxi companies are providing apps for their users and for someone new to a particular town or city then Nearby could flag up an app for a taxi firm close by.

There’s also the opportunity for using it when going abroad to find apps for museums as well as downloading apps to help translate while visiting the country.

Nearby is currently limited but the potential for the system is huge and offers mobile phone developers incredible opportunities to meet demand from local firms and organisations.

Ransomoware is on the rise

According to a report, ransomware is on the rise and 21 popular mobile phone apps could be a gateway for the activity.

The report from McAfee says it found 5,000 different versions of just 21 mobile apps that are being used to target victims; the hackers use two or more apps in a bid to launch a sophisticated attack.

The most popular apps that hackers are using are those for health monitoring, video streaming and travel planning. One reason for the rise in attacks is that app users are not regularly updating their device software.

Mobile phone use to access the Internet will rocket

Researchers have revealed that the amount of time mobile phone users spend accessing the Internet is set to skyrocket in 2016.

The news from Zenith Media reveals that mobile phones have overtaken desktop computers as the preferred device when accessing the Internet. The trend is set to jump by 28% this year.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Desktop use for Internet will fall by 16% this year and 70% of all Internet use is now carried out on a mobile phone.”

On average, mobile phone users will spend 86 minutes a day accessing the Internet from their phones, compared to 36 minutes using a desktop computer.

Safari apps could be curtailed

The South African government has announced plans to curb the use of apps which help safari park visitors to find wild animals since there’s been a huge increase in animals being killed by cars.

The mobile phone apps help give to give visitors tips in real time about where to find animals – but this is leading them to speed to the areas and they are killing wildlife on the way. There’s also been a rise in road rage as well as traffic jams.

A spokesman for the National Park Service said: “Mobile phone apps are inducing visitors to break the rules so we are exploring legal ways to curtail their use.”

Best new mobile phone apps featured

The Gizmodo website has published an interesting feature on the latest mobile phone apps available including, for Android, a facility to add security to apps by using biometrics.

The Applock Face/Voice Recognition system recognises a specific passphrase and the user’s face to help keep mobile phone apps secure.

The Notify app is a floating bubble which enables a user to respond to a notification more quickly and easily without having to switch on another app such as WhatsApp or Gmail.

The new Android Pay also gets a thumbs up and enables users to pay for items using a contactless card reader.

Among the apps being highlighted for iOS is Sorted which utilises sticky-notes to place into a calendar and add reminders.

Gizmodo also flags up Battery Share which will switch friends and contacts when the user’s phone is about to run out of battery power – it also enables users to see how much battery their friends have left too.

There’s also Opera VPN which is a free mobile phone app aimed at unlocking the Internet and getting around digital geographic blocks. The app also blocks ads and prevents trackers.

New apps for Windows Mobile include Facebook messenger, You-Doo which is a to-do list app and Tiles to enable users to access their calendar on their home screen.

In other mobile phone app news…

Message app developer Wand Labs has been snapped up by Microsoft with the firm’s work on chat bots and intelligent agents boosting their appeal.

Apple is promising users of the new iOS 10 that iPhone users will be able to delete apps that they do not want to use. Of the 23 apps preloaded as standard, this is the first time users can delete the ones they don’t like including Stocks, Tips and Compass. However, iPhone users will not be able to delete among others, Safari and iMessage.

Users of the Instagram app on Windows 10 Mobile are apparently unable to install it because the system does not meet the app’s hardware requirements.

NHS Considers Heart Attack App

The NHS is considering a mobile phone app that can detect a heart attack a week before it occurs.

The smart phone app works by analysing the tone of the user’s voice to tell if they are in danger of having a heart attack; in trials the app predicted accurately those with congestive cardiac failure a week before they became ill.

The app is one of several currently under review with a view to revolutionising personal health care. Other apps include peak flow meters for asthma sufferers and a blood pressure monitor.

The NHS’s clinical director for innovation described Cordio, the voice monitoring app, as being among the ‘most brilliant’ creations he had ever seen.

Windows 10 Mobile gets a boost

Microsoft says the Windows 10 Mobile platform will get an update to pitch it as a better rival to iOs and Android.

Apps on the phones will now be allowed to access the phone’s notifications, as users of IoS and Android can do. Users can now enable apps to receive notifications and access new features.

Some mobile phone apps need access to a phone’s notifications so they can work as the developer intended but until now the Microsoft platform has prevented this from happening.

The new feature is set to be part of the firm’s big planned Anniversary Update which should take place in July.

A bad date saved?

A new mobile phone app has been released which the developer says can save a user from a bad date.

Bod – bad online dates – goes against the trends of apps such as Tinder and Hinge by offering new matches in real time without the effort of emailing and texting first. The idea is to escape a current bad date by going on a new date.

The geolocation-based app enables a dater to leave their date and meet someone who could be a better match instead. This, they say, will save them from pretending there is an emergency at home to escape the date.

The firm behind the app says around 11% of Americans are using dating apps which means that there are millions of people being stuck in what could be very bad dates so Bod gives them an opportunity to escape.

In other mobile phone app news

Users with Tesco Mobile phones are being offered £3 a month off their monthly bill if they agree to see special offers and adverts every time they swipe to unlock their phone. Available to Android users only via Google Play the idea is that users will get ads local to them for cafes and shops, for instance, and for those who like to receive discounts.

Increasing the penalties of drivers who use their mobile phones while driving will not work, says the RAC. The government is currently looking at plans to increase the penalties for drivers caught using mobile phones while behind the wheel from the current three penalty points and a £100 fine.

Mobile app research firm Nomura says that the numbers of US smart phone users downloading mobile phone apps fell last month by 20%. However, the world’s mobile phone market continues to grow and, along with it, the market for apps as well. The exceptions to the apps seeing a drop in US downloads are Snapchat and Uber.

Sony has ditched its Small Apps feature – the apps for accessing things like email and a calculator – for its Xperia X devices. The feature struggled to attract support and there were only a few third-party apps available in Google’s Play Store to support the feature.

Briton’s in Relationships Use Dating Apps

The growing popularity of dating apps for mobile phones has been underlined with news that around one in four Britons use these apps even when they are in a relationship.

The study by phone maker HTC found that Brits kept their dating app profiles active even when they began a relationship though the figure rises to 34% for dating app users in Northern Ireland.

This survey also revealed that 25% of Brits admit to having at least one or more mobile phone dating apps installed.

It does appear though that mobile phone dating apps do work, with 35% of respondents saying they have met a partner from using an app and 35% of Scots said they found a meaningful relationship from using a dating app.

The report also reveals that the exponential growth of dating apps for mobile phones has seen them overtaking many dating websites that have been popular in recent years.

Unused mobile phone apps recommended for installation

Google’s Play Store will soon be suggesting which of a user’s unused apps should be uninstalled for creating more space on their phone.

Play Store will automatically suggest a list of the apps that are used less frequently so that a big app can be downloaded with sufficient free space.

Women enjoy more time on their phones than men

It’s not going to be the most startling survey you’ll read this week, but apparently women are more likely to use the internet on their phones than men are.

They will spend their time interacting with social media, games and retail sites.

The research was conducted by online audience measurement body UKOM who found that 49% of women’s internet time is spent on a smartphone.

This figure rises to 59% of women who are aged between 18 and 24.

However, just 39% of the time men spend online is with a mobile phone.

The use of a laptop or PC is the device of choice for going online for 48% of men.

UKOM says its data will help advertisers target more effectively the platforms of those they want to reach and it is also useful for mobile phone app developers too.

Google records your conversations

Did you know that Google was recording many of the conversations that users of its products have? They have been doing it for years, apparently, and users can listen to the recorded conversations.

The problem has been highlighted because the Google voice search function is recording conversations in a bid to boost its language recognition abilities.

It’s possible, however, to visit Google’s history page and inspect their list of recordings which will also highlight where users have been on the Internet.

The portal was launched last June and may contain recordings from a user who may have believed what they were saying was private.

A report on the Independent’s website gives details of how to find the recordings and delete them.

Mobile ad blocking use rockets

The numbers of people using mobile ad blocking software has rocketed over the last year, according to new figures.

App tracking firm, Priori Data says that numbers have soared by 90% compared to the same period last year.

From their data, around 420 million mobile users around the world are blocking ads. That’s every fifth person using a mobile phone.

However, the use of ad blockers is more popular in China, Pakistan and India than it is in Europe and North America but, the firm points out, ad blocking is growing in popularity in the West too.

New mobile phone app makes it easy to enrol in clinical trials

The brains behind a new mobile phone app have their fingers crossed that it will now become easier to recruit patients for clinical trials when testing new devices or treatments.

Since it takes around 17 years on average for a laboratory breakthrough to reach a patient, there is huge potential for the app.

The app has been developed by the University at Buffalo with the aim of boosting clinical trial recruitment.