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Mobile App Use Rockets for Olympics

The US TV viewing figures for the Rio Olympics may have dropped when compared to the London Olympics but there’s been a huge leap in the number of people watching events with mobile phone apps.

Flurry Analytics says TV watching dropped by 18% though the number of sessions on mobile devices rocketed 24-fold and mobile apps dealt with eight million sessions every day.

Their report reveals that the mobile sessions grew in most countries and the global figure increased while the games were on.

The global growth saw an increase of 42% overall, while US use grew by 14% and in the UK it was 60% but Canada recorded an astonishing 156% increase.

Most of the mobile apps being used were mainly for live streaming of events though there was a big leap in navigation apps for tourists to use while in Rio.

Flurry says the figures highlight the trend of users moving away from traditional media and towards their mobile device.

When testing mobile phone apps consider the weather

Mobile phone app developers should take the weather into account when it comes to testing their apps, according to a report.

Apteligent says that mobile apps run more slowly in the summer.

The actual figure is about 15% and, according to the report, it’s down to the science in the propagation of radio waves.

Essentially, humidity, or in this instance water vapour, causes slight delays because it weakens the radio signal strength.

Researchers in Lithuania have also found that the radio signals also weaken in moisture, sleet and snow as well as rain.

iPhones could catch thieves

Apple has patented a system for the iPhone which utilises its sensors that could identify, and potentially catch, a thief by tracking their fingerprints as well as photos.

The feature works along the lines of some third-party apps which will take a photograph of someone who enters an incorrect password.

With the new system, the iPhone will also capture the user’s fingerprint and gather other data including the phone’s location, time and video.

Parents don’t know what ‘generation app’ is doing

Research has revealed that parents have no idea what ‘generation app’ are doing on their mobile devices, says the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

In a report they say that 60% of teenagers now have an online account their parents do not know of and 57% of parents say they don’t know what their children do whilst online.

The research is aimed at understanding the lives of teenagers and the issues and problems faced during their digital daily life.

There also appears to be a growing disconnect between parents and their offspring with 67% of parents saying they have asked their teenagers to report online instances that made them uncomfortable or scared.

However, just 32% of the teenagers questioned in the survey said that their parents had asked them to follow a rule like this.

Dutch FA wants to use apps for football thugs

The Dutch FA has announced that its working on a fingerprint app to help ensure convicted thugs do not sneak into football matches.

So far, system testing has been effective and the organisation is now looking to local authorities to help support the project.

The system also utilises GPS to track where the convicted hooligans are to ensure they are not in or near football stadiums.

The Dutch FA says the mobile phone app will be cheaper and more effective than the reporting system currently in place which sees people banned from stadiums reporting to local police stations on match days.

In other mobile app news…

It appears Lenovo phones are about to come preloaded with more Microsoft apps including Outlook, Office, Skype and OneDrive. A formal announcement is expected soon.

A report has revealed that of the mobile device users who were given an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile, just 14% of users did so. The figure comes from promotion network AdDuplex which suggests the platform is struggling to attract adopters.

MasterCard Mobile Payment App Joins the Fray

The number of mobile phone payment apps continues to grow with news that MasterCard has launched a new app in America that is, say users, better than Apple Pay.

The move follows a makeover of its digital wallet and contactless payment offering and its new angle is to bundle several forms of payment methods into one that works in shops, online and in-app.

MasterCard says it wants to be the one-stop shop for all payments anyone wants to make and banks will be able to implement the new card service within their own apps.

While it has been launched in America, it will not be coming to the UK until 2017.

Fans of Apple Pay will not be left behind since its users will be able to pay online when the iOS10 and macOS Sierra updates are rolled out later this year.

Windows 10 Mobile gets a boost

Mobile phone app developers have received a boost after a major hardware manufacturer revealed a new phone utilising Windows 10 Mobile.

The SoftBank 503LV from Lenovo will immediately become the most powerful smartphone running Windows 10 mobile when it’s launched.

Microsoft is also looking to push the software onto an ever growing number of devices.

The new smartphone is aimed at businesses and will give access to a user’s documents, PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets as well as incorporating several key apps including Cortana.

Essentially, should a user make any updates to documents on their smartphone, all other devices such as tablets or PCs will be immediately updated as well.

Rubbish app to remind people to put bins out

A council has created a free mobile phone app to remind people when they should put their bins out in time for collection.

Oldham Council says it is the first to offer its own ‘rubbish app’ for tablets and smartphones and users will be reminded which colour bin needs to be put out and on the right day.

The app also informs residents about which waste items should be placed in bins and whether there are disruptions to the normal collection service and also where residents can take their dangerous or hazardous waste.

Entitled the ‘What Bin Day’, the app is the brainchild of an Oldham councillor who wants to encourage residents to keep their city clean.

Mobile phone app allows doctors to look inside heads

A new mobile phone app is being trialled in Kent that enables doctors to look inside the head of their patients.

By using an attachment that is connected to the smartphone’s camera, the app will take videos and photos of the patient’s ear drum and ear canal which are then sent to a specialist consultant.

The Cupris Health app also performs a basic hearing test with a patient using headphones and the data is immediately relayed to a website for a consultant to analyse.

Lightroom mobile phone app gets makeover

Adobe’s Lightroom mobile phone app has been updated with a range of premium features which will help the app’s continued popularity with enthusiastic photographers.

The app offers raw editing and advance camera modes but some of its best features are only available with a paid subscription.

The app is available for devices running Google’s Android and iPhones and iPads running iOS.

Essentially, the new version of Lightroom is a closer match to what the software on PCs can do and will enable photographers to carry out more work on their mobile devices.

Mobile phone up boosts crop production

A new mobile phone app that can predict rain is helping farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to boost their crop production.

The app helps overcome the issues in predicting weather patterns in the tropics and will deliver a rain prediction with 84% accuracy.

This means that farmers can sow as well as harvest their crops at the best times.

The app has been developed by Swedish firm Ignitia which is now looking to expand into other African countries by using a $2.5 million grant from several sponsoring countries including Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States.

In other mobile phone app news

T-Mobile in America is offering its customers who download the Pokémon Go mobile phone app free data to play the game until August next year.

Microsoft has released an update to fix issues with its Office Mobile apps including Excel and Word in Windows Store.

It looks like Netflix has removed its mobile phone app from the Windows Store though an app for PC use remains. Users in America have revealed that the Netflix app is now unavailable and was only released last December. Apparently, users with a European-based Microsoft account can still access the Windows 10 Mobile app.

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.

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.

Users Want More Mobile Apps

A survey of Internet users has revealed that they expect to use more personalised mobile phone apps over the coming three years.

More than one in three respondents said they are looking for secure and convenient apps that react and adapt to the user’s current location.

In addition, they also expect websites to become more personalised and they believe payment methods will become quicker.

Other apps to improve their lives would be real-time online customer service, ordering products ‘on the go’ and they expect faster delivery times in the years to come.

YouTube launches app to communicate

YouTube is trialling a new smartphone app feature which enables users to discuss and share videos from the platform without using other services to connect with family and friends.

It’s only currently available to a small test group but looks set to be rolled out for use on Android phones and iPhones.

The idea is to keep users on the YouTube platform for longer without them resorting to copying and pasting links into tweets and Facebook messages.

Also, by keeping people using YouTube for longer means they will be able to show more adverts to the site’s one billion regular users.

Phone app to repair potholes

A new mobile app to repair potholes has been trialled.

Entitled ‘Changify’ the idea is for users to photograph a pothole and send it to the private contractor responsible for fixing it and bypassing the local authority’s complaints procedure.

The app has been a success in Plymouth and those behind it say the technology will help better manage our cities.

The apps users can also report where litter is building up and roadworks where no work appears to be done.

Fire hit residents get app

The residents of Fort McMurray where a huge wildfire ravaged most of the city have access to a new smartphone app which enables them to look at the condition of their property.

Launched by the provincial government of Alberta, the app provides satellite overviews of those areas devastated by the wildfire which forced 80,000 people to flee their homes. More than 2,400 buildings were destroyed.

App to find missing children

Police in China have launched a mobile phone app to help encourage people to report where missing children are being held.

Users of the app will receive updates when a child disappears with their details and a description as the police work to encourage the help in fighting child traffickers, which is a growing problem in China.

In other mobile phone app news…

Google says its ‘Project Tango’ will encourage developers to create mobile phone apps that utilise indoor 3-D mapping. The firm says it sees applications ranging from virtual reality to advertising.

Microsoft has announced that users of some Windows 10 mobile phones will soon be able to use a fingerprint scanner.

WhatsApp has launched a desktop app that will link with a user’s mobile app as it looks to expand beyond web-based and mobile platforms. The new app will run on Windows and Mac OS and will, the firm says, offer a new way to stay in touch anywhere and anytime.