Health care provider OptumHealth has launched OptumizeMe, one of the first fitness applications for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile platform.
Health care plan provider OptumHealth
a new wellness application for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile platform.
OptumizeMe, available in the Windows Phone
Marketplace, allows people to present a health challenge to friends in Facebook
and other social media applications. Users receive virtual badges for meeting
their fitness goals.
Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's latest attempt to break
into the smartphone and mobile app space currently dominated by the Google
Android and the Apple iPhone.
Setting goals in exercise and nutrition is the focus
of OptumizeMe, according to Karl Ulfers, vice president of consumer advisory
solutions for OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group.
GPS capabilities in Windows Phone 7 allow OptumizeMe
users to locate friends and join them in fitness challenges. The app can post
automatic fitness updates to a friend's wall in Facebook.
Users can challenge Facebook friends to match fitness
goals, such as a number of push-ups, or a number of miles to run, Ulfers told
eWEEK. Users can customize fitness goals and create stakes for winning,
whether, it's money, a free dinner or a beer, he said.
"We wanted to create a mobile experience that
leverages the community within the application," said Ulfers.
Using an app such as OptumizeMe on Facebook could
provide the motivation and support to conquer goals such as weight loss and
cessation of smoking.
"Most people want to adopt a healthier lifestyle,
whether it's quitting smoking or losing weight or exercising more. You can pick
any one of those areas and tap into the social network to give you that support
system and also make it entertaining at the same time," said Dr. Dennis Schmuland, Microsoft's director of health plans
"It's merging healthier living with entertainment
and the power of social networks," Schmuland told eWEEK. "If you put
those three things together, it just makes healthier living more fun and a more
For OptumHealth, launching OptumizeMe on Windows Phone
7 was appealing because of Microsoft's "greenfield approach" as far as the software giant throwing
out its previous mobile platform and starting from scratch, according to
"If it would have been the same old platform they
had, it wouldn't have been as intriguing an opportunity," Ulfers
"It makes living a healthy lifestyle
easier and more fun for people with Windows Phone 7 mobile devices by creating
connections with friends who share similar fitness goals," Rob Webb, CEO
of OptumHealth Care Solutions, said in a statement. "Most of us already
use our social networks to stay in touch with each other, so why not use them
to share the experience of getting healthier together?"
Windows Phone 7 is "designed to streamline your
interactions with the phone and create a glance-and-go experience and enable
people to get things done in fewer steps," said Microsoft's Schmuland.
The Windows Phone 7 platform is available
from 60 mobile operators in 30 countries and launched on AT&T and T-Mobile on Nov. 8
. Redmond is expected to add Windows Phone 7 models on Verizon
Wireless in early 2011.
OptumHealth plans to launch OptumizeMe on the Android
and iPhone platforms next, said Ulfers.
Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 include
the Samsung Focus, LG Quantum, HTC Surround, HTC HD7 and the Dell Venue Pro.
Another health app on the OS, 5k Sidekick,
motivates runners to reach 5 kilometers in nine weeks and provides onscreen
Meanwhile, a Windows Phone 7 app called GPS Trainer tracks time,
current/average pace, distance, altitude, latitude and longitude. It sends the
data to the runner via e-mail.