Glooko launches FDA-cleared Android app, cable

By: Jonah Comstock | Oct 29, 2013        

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Glooko AndroidDiabetes tracking company Glooko, which offers a cloud-based logbook app and a cable that connects the iPhone to commercially available blood glucose monitors, has launched — and received FDA 510(k) clearance for — a new app and cable for Android phones.

Glooko’s new app will connect to the same cloud-based web dashboard as the company’s iPhone app. That platform was FDA cleared in May and launched in June. Glooko’s new Android cable will connect to all 19 glucose meters the iOS version connects to, as well as additional meters that it wasn’t technically possible to connect iOS devices to, for a total of 25 meters. It will also connect to 16 different Android devices.

Unlike the iPhone cable, which connects through the same cable used to charge the device, the Android cable maximizes device compatibility by plugging into the phone’s headphone jack. The software also has support for connecting certain devices via a USB on-the-go cable.

Since it launched in late 2010, Glooko’s cable and app have been available for Apple devices only, and it’s been in good company in the diabetes space. Competitor AgaMatrix, which makes its own smartphone connected monitor called IBGStar, also connects to only Apple devices, as does wireless connected glucose meter-maker LifeScan.

Glooko CEO Rick Altinger told MobiHealthNews that Android is important partly to continue to expand business internationally. He said Glooko recently signed an agreement with an international distributor to get Glooko products into the Middle East and Asia, areas where diabetes is prevalent.

“We’re highlighting the international numbers here because Android has over 50 percent market penetration in the US, but in Europe it’s 65 percent,” he said. “So Android is especially important outside the US.”

The app will be free to download, and the cable will cost $39, the same price as the existing iOS version. The company also charges payors and providers for the API and backend interface so they can channel patients’ opt-in glucose meter data into EHRs or population health management systems.

Altinger said the company’s long-term plan is to lose the cable entirely in favor of wirelessly connecting meters to smartphones via Bluetooth LE, but the third-party meters themselves aren’t ready for that functionality yet.

“It’s going to happen, it’s just very slow,” he said. “For the next five years, the vast majority of meters on the market are not going to have any wireless capabilities.”

Nonetheless, Glooko’s next product will be a device that plugs into a meter but then connects wirelessly to a smartphone. Altinger said this offering is in the prototype stage and the company has begun discussions with the FDA. He anticipates a spring 2014 launch date.