Mobile Apps Can Boost Child Health

A review of medical research has revealed that parents can help improve health outcomes for their children by using mobile phone apps as well as text messaging.

The review has appeared in a leading American medical journal and focuses on the effectiveness of using apps to tackle childhood obesity.

The researchers say that apps enable children to become healthier by boosting a number of behaviours and ensuring the eat a healthy diet and get the medicines they need.

Researchers wanted to analyse the previously conducted reviews for statistical evidence that proves there is a change in health behaviours for those who are 18 years old or younger if they use apps.

Those behind the study say the use of apps offers a chance to improve public health by utilising ‘mobile health interventions’.

Why Millennials get lost

If you have ever wondered why satnav users do silly things by abandoning their common sense, there’s an explanation.

Researchers have revealed that when people use handy devices, particularly satnavs, they switch off a part of their brain that we use for navigation.

They say that when we navigate, we exercise the brain in a different way to when we follow orders.

As part of the study, researchers looked at the street networks for major cities around the world and found most people struggled to navigate their way around small streets.

Essentially, researchers say that while brain training exercises will improve tasks for a given task, they do not improve performances for learning other tasks.

This is why young people particularly who do not use maps and follow satnav directions are more likely to get themselves lost without having phone apps to help them.

Charities boosted with new a donation app

Charities could benefit from a new platform that enables donations to be made by mobile phone.

DonateToday allows phone users to add a charity donation to their phone bill and also have the option to Gift Aid them.

The donation facility works while the donors are online using the app rather than asking them to make a donation through text messaging or entering credit card details.

The app also has a number of suggested donation amount buttons and whether they want to give a regular donation or a simple one-off donation.

Brits still using apps behind the wheel

Despite the punishments for using mobile phones behind the wheel of a car being increased recently, Brits are still using their phones.

The fines for using a phone while behind the wheel have increased to £200 and the penalty points have been increased to six.

However, a car insurer has now found that one in five drivers admit to checking social media apps while driving since the new punishments were brought in.

Topping the list for most used is WhatsApp with 51%, though 44% of drivers are still making phone calls and 9% of drivers are streaming videos.

In addition, drivers are also posting on and browsing Facebook as well as Twitter.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Corporations looking to make their cyber security better are faced with staff having at least one app on at least one mobile phone which means they have access to 1,427 cloud services. The findings from CSO say this provides employers with a cyber security challenge and it’s not just down to malware infected apps but also staff using legitimate apps because they enable various permissions as result.

The rapid growth in the number of apps available for gambling on mobile phones has led to a big increase in the number of gambling addicts, says the National Centre for Problem Gambling. Campaigners say the apps make gambling too easy with more than half of those seeking help from one charity admitting to being addicted to gambling on their mobile.

Researchers in India say that the popularity of mobile phone apps in the country has rocketed by 43% over the last 12 months.

Malaysia and Japanese theme park guests say they want queue busting apps to make their day out more enjoyable. The findings reveal that 91% of respondents want to buy time specific slots with a fast-track pass.

What Brits Use Their Phone For

A survey has revealed what British smartphone users are using their devices for and it’s not for making phone calls.

The research from an online retailer reveals that just 27% of respondents said they used their phone for making phone calls every week which is the 11th most popular use.

However, the use of apps is popular though in first place is texting with 88% of smartphone owners regularly sending messages, in second place is emailing and in third place is using Facebook.

Users also use their phone’s camera, in fourth place, and reading the news is in fifth spot.

The top 10 is made up with online shopping (56%), checking weather reports (54%), WhatsApp (51%), banking (45%) and watching YouTube videos (42%).

Android phones hiding pre-installed malware

There are 38 Android phones that are apparently being shipped with malware that is pre-installed during the manufacturing and supply chain process, says Checkpoint Security.

Among the phones included are the Samsung Galaxy A5 and the Asus Zenfone 2.

Checkpoint says that the threat from the malware for users is ‘severe’.

They say they have uncovered the infections on 38 devices using Android that belong to a multinational tech company and a large telecoms firm.

A spokesman explained: “While this isn’t unusual there is one detail of the attacks that stands out which is that the malware was not downloaded a result of the user’s use and arrived with the phone.”

Checkpoint says users should not download phone apps from untrusted or unusual places and to avoid ‘risky websites’.

The Israeli-based firm has also highlighted that several lines of insecure code can be used to hack the WhatsApp application despite the firm saying its system offers users a tight encryption system that cannot be hacked.

Checkpoint has revealed a technique that bypasses the encryption method by hiding code in an innocuous image.

Smartphone owners tend not to secure devices

Research has revealed that most smartphone owners do not take the steps needed to secure their mobile devices.

The survey reveals that users do not update their phone’s apps or the operating system regularly and they don’t use a pass code to restrict access.

According to Pew Research around 28% of US smartphone owners do not use a screen lock or any other security feature.

Also, just 40% will update their apps and operating system, while one in 10 say they never update their device’s operating system or apps.

Google unveils parental control software

Google has unveiled parental control software for its Android system called Family Link.

The system will enable parents to limit their child’s use of mobile devices and which apps they can have access to.

The controls will also enable parents to track and manage screen time so they can impose daily limits and bedtimes for devices so they cannot be used.

Google says that while most mobile device providers offer parental controls, their Family Link differs because it operates like a third-party parental control to monitor software use.

In other Miratrix mobile phone news …

The latest WikiLeaks release offers a good reason for smartphone users to regularly update their apps, says Columbia University’s Steven Bellovin. He says the CIA’s work will inspire ‘low-end hackers’ and Europol is also urging users to update their phone’s apps.

Wishbone, the popular quiz app aimed at teens has, apparently, been hacked with users’ personal information being stolen.

The most popular phones targeted by thieves in the UK are: the HTC M8, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Apple iPhone 6, Apple iPhone S6.

Market research firm Statcounter says the dominance of Windows 10 to access the internet is coming to an end with the rapid popularity of Google’s Android OS being used for mobile phones, tablets and desktops and laptops soon to overtake the Windows platform.

Survey Reveals Mobile Apps are Best Practice for Small Firms

Researchers have revealed that growing numbers of small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) are moving quickly towards adopting mobile apps to boost their business.

The survey by Clutch reveals that 42% of SME’s have already built their own mobile app because they say the app is an important tool to boost their operations.

The survey also reveals that 67% of SME’s say they will have a mobile app in place by the end of this year.

The firms say their need for an app must also provide a worthwhile return on investment and one of the main purposes for having an app developed is to improve customer service.

Those firms who have not created an app is down to the age of management personnel and the company size and also the resources they have to devote to developing an application.

The survey found that larger SME’s with younger managers are more likely to have mobile apps to help the business while the SME’s with owners below the age of 45 are twice as likely to have a mobile app than those aged over 45.

Apps boosted on Android Wear 2.0

It’s a few months late but the new Android Wear 2.0 release has a big impact on apps.

Previously, the smart watch would sync automatically with apps on the user’s smartphone whether they wanted the apps to do this or not.

Now, however, the user will download specific apps to the watch and choose whether they want to sync the app with their smartphone.

In addition, users can also download standalone apps for their wearable tech that do not need a companion app for the user’s smartphone.

McDonald’s reveals ‘pay ahead’ app

Fast-food chain McDonald’s has unveiled plans to launch an app that enables customers to order and pay for food ahead of arriving in a restaurant.

Starting in the US, they will be rolled out around the world’s 20,000 restaurants and industry watchers say this is the first step for the firm to begin home deliveries.

The new service will connect directly with the McDonald’s current mobile phone app.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Drivers in the UK who use a mobile phone at the wheel of their car will now be fined £200 and handed six penalty points on their licence. However, some are still confused about being able to use apps, particularly sat nav apps, though the law states they must not touch their phone when behind the wheel.

Rugby league players in New Zealand have been told to delete betting apps from their smartphones to avoid gambling on matches; betting on games is against their code of conduct and several players have fallen foul of the rules.

Research has revealed that the time US phone users spend on their apps is now five hours every day, says Flurry, an analytical firm.

The data tracking app Glasswire is now available for Android phones. The app shows users which of their phone’s apps is using the most data and when.

Automate EVERYTHING!! …or die. | MTX59

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hello, welcome to this week’s study.

This week, we’re going to ask the question why even create a marketing budget, is development budget rarely included in that. We’re moving to a world of automation, lot of machine learning, getting rid of everyday kind of tasks, things that are just kind of rinse and repeat, and yet marketing budgets still don’t include development budget in order to build (inaudible) for your business.

And I’m not saying going out and build tools that already exist, you’ve got tasks that are very specific to your app and your business.

You should be building tools to do this for you. The efficiencies in doing that and the time that it creates for you as a marketer or people on your team instead of doing mind-numbing jobs that you feel (inaudible).

What I’m basically saying is when you’re creating a marketing budget, build in thing for development. We’re not going to be able to escape this automation. It is coming, it will replace people and jobs. That girl in marketing.

That’s this week’s video, it’s a bit of a rant the way I see things going. Ciao.

Business App Use is on the Rise

App usage in the UK has rocketed by 28% over the last 12 months as people increasingly turn to their smartphones for professional and social tasks, according to a report.

Flurry Analytics has examined mobile app activity for global trends and reveals that there are now more than 940,000 apps being used on 2.1 billion devices and these generate around 10 billion sessions every day.

In the UK, mobile phone users are turning to their devices for social and messaging app sessions which grew by 46% while productivity and utilities app sessions grew by 45%.

In France, the use of sports app rocketed by an impressive 190% in 2016.

Measure consumer activity across application portfolios

The data generated by Flurry helps marketers and developers to analyse and measure consumer activity across application portfolios.

The latest report reveals that app usage sessions in the UK grew by 28%, in Germany the numbers rose by 25% and in France by 16%.

When the figures for the UK’s usage are broken down, sessions for sports apps grew by 31%, for photography by 22% and travel by 15%.

However, business and finance apps saw a 2% increase, while lifestyle and shopping apps grew by 1%.

In comparison, sessions for games fell by 9%, apps for music, media and entertainment fell by 18% and personalisation apps fell by 46%.

Flurry says the most popular apps for mobile devices are sticky apps that are tied to the user’s daily habits; for instance, these are generally apps that rely on live data such as finance and business as well as sports.

Viber ends Windows apps work

VoIP and instant messaging service Viber has announced it will no longer work on Windows mobile phone apps.

The client for these is still available to download but there will be no new features or updates released for it. The app is still available in Windows store and functions problem-free.

Viber says it will focus on the more popular platforms for mobile devices: Android and iOS.

It’s not been a good week for Windows phone users with the BBC sending notifications that its iPlayer app will be closed from April.

Users can still stream BBC audio and video through the Microsoft Edge browser but this only works for a Windows phone that runs Windows 10 Mobile.

Mobile apps boost retail sales

Research has revealed that mobile devices helped deliver around $2 trillion last year in off-line retail sales in the US which accounted for two thirds of shopping in the category.

The study by Forrester points out that while the numbers are impressive, they could be higher.

Indeed, they say that American consumers shopping with smartphones has yet to peak and within four years, shoppers there will be spending $152 billion on their mobile phones or 24% of online sales.

In addition, mobile phone sales will account for $1.4 trillion in off-line sales over the same period.

However, despite the heavy influence of mobile phone apps in retail sales, the study reveals that retailers are still under-investing in their mobile applications.

Their findings also reveal that shoppers are increasingly using apps as a tool to find a product locally but retail firms need to invest in their digital platforms with loyalty offers, store maps as well as digital inventory to help boost sales.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Users of the Skype Wi-Fi service will find their app will no longer work from March 31 after Microsoft confirmed this service is being discontinued. The app for iOS and Android will also not be available for users to download.

App developers may be interested to know that the latest LG flagship smartphone is able to show two apps at the same time. The elongated display has been unveiled at a leading trade show in Barcelona and, the makers say, it no longer supports slide-in enhancements.

Apps Create Second-Hand Car Security Risk

It has been revealed that a leading IBM researcher could continue to track, unlock and control his old car by using his mobile app several years after trading it in.

He says that the security shortcomings for so-called ‘smart’ vehicles means new owners need to take special steps.

Indeed, the same security flaw is present in apps that are operated by the four biggest car makers and raises questions about other apps used for smart devices that have been bought second-hand.

The IBM worker said when he sold his car he removed all of his personal data from it but could still access the controls remotely from a smart phone app.

Industry experts are now pointing to potential security flaws in everything from home security systems to fridge freezers.

It appears that the ‘internet of things’ is essentially storing information on external cloud servers so while a factory reset in the car will have wiped personal data, the information may have been retained on the cloud.

The news follows an announcement from a Russian security firm Kaspersky who say Android car control apps have other security flaws as well.

These flaws could enable a hacker to take control of a vehicle or even steal it.

One in three UK retailers do not have an app

Research has revealed that one in three retailers do not have a mobile phone app and shopping app users are not keen on apps that do not enable them to interact with other brands.

The findings from Episerver also found users do not want to scroll through pages of icons looking for a suitable app to use.

However, the firm also says that those retailers who do not currently have an application to access their goods and services may actually understand mobile marketing and app fatigue hitting consumers.

Their survey also reveals that most retailers are now focusing on mobile web marketing and pouring money into content creation, search and advertising for their offering to be discovered via a browser.

The exceptions to this are for consumers who want to access a favourite brand by using an app including checking bank balances, flight times and booking train tickets.

Banking apps show security vulnerability

An analysis of 50 of the world’s leading banking apps has revealed they all have several security vulnerabilities.

The research by Prado Lab highlighted security flaws which could put around 500 million people who use these apps at risk from hackers.

A spokesman for the firm said the biggest worry was for the number of banks that are involved and not one banking app managed to pass the firm’s access test.

The survey looked at the world’s top 50 banks and their apps and the security firm says they now need to address these major security issues urgently.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Pakistan’s meteorological department has unveiled an app to help people there get the latest weather reports directly on their smartphone.

According to insiders, Google’s AI messaging app Allo is heading to our desktops. So far, there have been up to 50 million downloads of Allo to smartphones.

The Indian government is offering smartphone users free anti-virus software to help protect them from malware hidden in apps.

Watching porn on your smartphone could be a serious mistake since thousands of users are, apparently, downloading a malicious Android app for using Pornhub that locks their phone when used.