Facebook has entered the fitness market with the acquisition of the Helsinki-based creator of Moves, a mobile app that uses the sensors in smartphones to track the owner’s activity.
The app offers a clutter-free alternative to the many fitness wearables market in terms of both design and hardware: the built-in accelerometers present in many smartphones are used to calculate movement and the information is displayed in a minimalist fashion.
The app launched last year and was declared a “surprise hit” by Apple. It’s currently been more than four million times for iPhones and Android devices.
Facebook has not disclosed the price it paid for ProtoGeo Oy, the maker of the app, and the team from Moves said they would be joining the social network to “work on building and improving their products and services”.
Like Whatsapp, the mobile app bought by Facebook earlier this year for $19 billion, Moves will continue operate as a standalone app, with the fitness team saying that there are "no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook”.
The acquisition is the latest move by Mark Zuckerberg’s social network to expand its empire of mobile apps. As well as WhatsApp and Moves, Facebook has recently spun off the messaging function in its core app into Messenger.
In addition to these the US-only Paper has been giving users access to news stories while photography app Instagram – acquired back in 2012 for $1 billion - announced it had hit 200 million users last month.
The acquisition follows hot on the heels of a successful earnings report from Facebook, with the company posting a 72 per cent increase in revenue and a near tripling of profits compared with figures a year go.
In moving into mobile fitness though Facebook is entering a competitive market. Google recently announced a version of its popular Android operating system specifically aimed for wearable devices, while rumours surrounding a fitness-focused iWatch from Apple continue to percolate through the blogs.