Tag Archives: android

  • Quietly, startup Fitabase hits major Fitbit health research milestones

    Since early 2015, investigators have ResearchKit for collecting data from Apple devices. Then, ResearchStack came along for for studying Android users.

    But the research community has been able to pull in information from Fitbits and other connected, wearable devices for four years with the help of a research platform called Fitabase.

    This week, Fitbit announced that Fitabase, made by San Diego-based startup Small Steps Labs, has now collected more than 2 billion minutes of Fitbit data for research purposes. Fitabase also has supported more than 200 research projects since its 2012 founding, the company also disclosed.

    “What we’ve built is kind of the missing piece for research,” said Fitabase CEO Aaron Coleman. The platform collects and de-identifies data from Fitbit users and offers data pools to academic researchers, including many in healthcare. “This removes a lot of privacy concerns,” including those around HIPAA, Coleman said.

    “This is a technology that bridges a consumer device like Fitbit with the needs of research,” Coleman said. “Researchers are loving this new paradigm of research.”

    That’s important because millions have purchased and regularly use activity trackers. The data these wearables collect provide insights about movement, heart rate and sleep patterns that previously had not been available, plus people actually enjoy wearing their Fitbits.

    “It was really difficult to get people to use pedometers,” Coleman noted. That made it tough for researchers and clinicians alike to collect good data and, more importantly, improve health.

    “Devices help people better tailor their activities and their health,” Coleman said. “Interventions shouldn’t be the same for everyone.”

    For example, Fitabit is helping researchers determine how quickly people regain their previous level of activity following surgery. “They can tailor interventions to people who need it most,” Coleman said.

    So what about the “2 billion minutes” of Fitbit data? “We provide the researcher with de-identified data at the minute level,” Coleman explained. Each person’s activity levels can vary at different times in the day. Having this insight allows researchers — and, ultimately, healthcare professionals and caregivers — to schedule interventions when they are most likely to be effective, according to Coleman.

    Coleman pointed to a research project at Arizona State University, where Eric Hekler, director of the school’s Designing Health Lab, is applying engineering strategies to study what Hekler calls “precision behavior change,” a complement to precision medicine. Hekler and research partner Daniel Rivera, director of the ASU Control Systems Engineering Laboratory, are testing “health interventions that are adaptive and individualized, versus static and generalized,” according to a Fitbit statement.

    Coleman himself also has applied individual Fitbit data to control the level of difficulty in an app called Tappy Fit, a Flappy Birds-like mobile fitness game.

    Photos: Fitabase, Fitbit

  • Should Mobile Devs Focus Only on iOS?

    Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.55.11 AM

    Financial-news websites are aflutter this week over news that Apple has seized 92 percent of the mobile-device industry’s total operating income; that’s up from 65 percent in 2014. According to financial-services firm Canaccord Genuity, which generated the data, Samsung and Apple pretty much divide the entirety of the mobile world’s profits between them.

    Those estimates are great for Apple, but what does it mean for the mobile developers and app builders out there? First, Apple clearly has quite a bit of momentum behind it; if anyone ever doubted the long-term viability of iOS, numbers like these should settle that issue once and for all.

    Check out the latest iOS-developer jobs.

    Second, the overall picture for third-party operating systems—including Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS—is bleaker than ever; manufacturers won’t build what isn’t profitable, and clearly iOS and Android are the only platforms at the moment capable of generating significant amounts of cash. Any developers who devoted time to building Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps will likely need to think very hard about whether they want to continue iterating on those products.

    But third, Apple and iOS haven’t outright won the mobile-device wars. Although it swept up the vast majority of the profits, Apple sold less than 20 percent of the actual smartphones on the market. Even if most manufacturers aren’t making very much money off Android, there are millions of people using the OS, which means a massive market for app-builders. The idea of building apps for both iOS and Android remains a powerful one for many developers.

    The post Should Mobile Devs Focus Only on iOS? appeared first on Dice Insights.

  • For Mobile Apps, 2014 Was a Very Good Year

    App Annie Screenshot 1

    App Annie has posted a helpful retrospective of the mobile-app ecosystem in 2014, and some of the data points are interesting.

    For starters, Google Play outpaced Apple’s App Store in terms of total downloads, although Apple remained well ahead with regard to total revenue generated by mobile apps.

    Check out the latest app-developer jobs.

    Second, multiple categories of apps enjoyed explosive growth, with messaging apps (WhatsApp, etc.), mobile video, travel and transportation apps leading that charge. “Super casual gaming,” as defined by games such as Flappy Bird (remember that one?), also had a superb year, with one or more apps in that category ending up in the top 10 downloads for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play for 10 months last year.

    For social networking, photo and video apps, user demographics skewed more female, while gaming remained slightly more male:

    App Annie Screenshot 2

    Worldwide, the top apps of 2014 on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play included Facebook Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, Instagram, and Skype; top games included Candy Crush Saga, Subway Surfers, My Talking Tom, Farm Heroes Saga, and Clash of Clans.

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    Images: App Annie

    The post For Mobile Apps, 2014 Was a Very Good Year appeared first on Dice News.