Keeping Details to a Minimum, San Diego’s Jitterbug Announces Acquisition of MobiWatch of Waltham, MA

11/4/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based Jitterbug, the simple-to-use wireless phone and services provider, says today it has acquired MobiWatch, a startup in Waltham, MA, developing mobile personal emergency response services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jitterbug says the deal will provide its users with personal safety services that are intuitive, reliable and deliverable through its Samsung-made clamshell cell phone, which features a simple interface and keypad that especially appeals to seniors. As we reported in March, the business operates as a subsidiary of GreatCall, co-founded by wireless pioneer Arlene Harris as an antidote to the excessive complexity of many 3G smart phones. GreatCall operates as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNA, an independent company that provides mobile phone service but does not have its own licensed operating frequency.

GreatCall officials would not comment beyond the press release. As MassHighTech reported last year, MobiWatch was developing a fob-like Bluetooth-enabled device that a user could attach to a keychain. In an emergency, the user would push the dime-sized button on the fob, which would launch the Bluetooth connection to the user’s cell phone to call an emergency response center. An operator at the center would determine the nature of the emergency, use GPS to locate the caller’s location, and contact the appropriate authorities.

Jitterbug says it plans to further develop the MobiWatch technology before bringing it to market.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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