Following our reports earlier this year that exclusively revealed details and screenshots of Apple’s Healthbook app, Apple today just officially announced the app confirming the details of our reports. Apple’s new platform, codenamed Healthbook, will be officially known as ‘HealthKit’ on the developer side of things, and will come with an accompanying app for iOS 8 called ‘Health’. Read more
I’ve covered App.io a few times in the past. The service, which allows app devs to deploy fully useable HTML5 demo versions of their native iOS apps on the web, first launched under the name “Kickfolio” back in 2012. The goal for the company was originally to let devs bring demos of their apps to promotional webpages and it eventually expanded the platform to include Facebook and other channels. Today, and around 2 million interactive app demos later, the company is announcing that it’s bringing those same app demos directly to mobile devices as interactive ads.
The ads go a step beyond the interactive app-like experience that Apple promised, but never quite delivered, with iAd, and allows users to play a demo of the app before deciding to purchase/download or even visit the App Store at all. The ad starts off as a banner or like any other ad but turns into a demo version of a native iOS app that is fully playable for a set period of time before prompting the user to visit the App Store. The company tells me in its initial tests it saw “3-5x higher conversion rates than normal mobile ads.” Read more
Although BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about 60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.
The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced “social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible. Read more
Research firm comScore is out with its usual monthly report that ranks the top smartphone OEMs and platforms for the three-month period ending in February. Apple continues to grow its lead this month as top OEM in the U.S., jumping 3.9-percent from November to 38.9-percent of the market and increasing its lead on the second biggest OEM by subscribers, Samsung:
Samsung ranked second with 21.3 percent market share (up 1 percentage point), followed by HTC with 9.3 percent share, Motorola with 8.4 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.
It’s important to point out that the shipped vs. sold argument doesn’t apply to comScore’s results, as its data comes from surveys tracking smartphone subscribers and usage and not sales or units shipped. Google grabs the spot as top smartphone platform at the end of February, but Apple continues to close the gap capturing 38.9-percent of the market (up from 35 percent) compared to Google’s 51.7-percent (down from 53.7-percent): Read more
Nuance, the speech recognition company currently powering Apple’s Siri in the iPhone 4S, announced (via TechCrunch) it would be dropping a new voice-controlled TV platform known as “Dragon TV.” Apple is —of course— expected to include Siri-like voice capabilities in the rumored Apple branded HDTV, but Dragon TV has beat them to it with a platform that will enable users to find “content by speaking channel numbers, station names, show and movie names.”
Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today unveiled Dragon TV, a unique voice and natural language understanding platform for TV, device and set-top box OEMs and service operators. Dragon TV makes finding and accessing shows, movies and content in today’s digital living room easy and fun for consumers.
Nuance provided a few examples of what type of voice-control commands might work on the platform, such as “Go to PBS” or “Find comedies with Vince Vaughn,” but a user’s commands could include “virtually anything.” The company also announced the platform will include social and messaging features, such as email, Twitter, messaging, Skype, and Facebook. Those features will also be voice-controlled allowing a user to use voice-commands, such as “Send message to Julie: ‘Old School is on TBS again this weekend – super excited’”.
According to the press release, the Dragon TV platform is already available to television and device OEMs with support for “all major TV, set-top box, remote control and application platforms.” As for specific platforms, the press release mentions Linux, Android, and iOS. There is —of course— a possibility that the technology used in the Dragon TV platform will land in a version of Siri for an Apple TV device.
Senior Vice President and General Manager at Nuance Mobile Mike Thompson said this regarding the announcement:
Last year StyleTap launched their Palm OS emulator platform for iPhone, but for obvious reasons it wasn’t made available through the App Store and instead limited to jailbroken devices. To circumvent Apple’s App Store guidelines, over the past year StyleTap has developed and now launched the ‘StyleTap iOS Wrapper SDK‘, allowing Palm OS devs to wrap their apps in an iPhone app that’s ready to submit to Apple. Here’s how it works:
StyleTap Platform for iPhone® cannot currently be purchased through the Apple App Store because it provides capabilities (e.g.the ability to download other Palm applications) that are restricted by Apple. The StyleTap iOS Wrapper SDK allows you as a Palm application developer to create an iPhone (iOS) application that “wraps” a Palm application inside StyleTap Platform for iPhone in a way that removes all of the restricted capabilities. You can then submit the resulting iPhone application to be included in the Apple App Store.
StyleTap will provide devs with the StyleTap Platform designed for non-jailbroken iPhones through a template Xcode project that also includes instructions on configuring apps for submission to Apple. After devs throw their .prc and .pdb Palm application and license info into the StyleTap Platform setup, they will then have to build an iOS app. Of course devs will still have to be part of Apple’s Developer Program and StyleTap isn’t guaranteeing Apple will accept submitted apps. Also noteworthy is the fact that this enables organizations to deploy Palm apps to non-jailbroken iOS devices, and those apps don’t require submission to Apple.