RTÉ's Director General Noel Curran has launched the station's next generation News Now App.

Launching first on iPhone, the app has been redeveloped to offer an expanded range of quality Irish content and new features to audiences at home and abroad.

The app is part of RTÉ's delivery of a rolling news service incorporating television, radio, mobile and outdoor screens.

It offers new features and an expanded range of content, with 28 categories, including national and international news, sport, entertainment and science & technology.

Welcoming the launch, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte said: "All broadcasters, like all traditional media players, are working hard to redefine their offering in the new world in which they find themselves.

"The launch and continued development of RTÉ Digital has marked one of the ways in which RTÉ is seeking to redefine what it is and how it works in a new era.

"This app is just one example of how RTÉ Digital has progressed admirably in stretching the reach of RTÉ content in the digital space."

According to the latest research by Behaviour & Attitudes, the News Now App is currently the most used and recognised news app in Ireland.

With over 1.16 million downloads (235,000 of them international), the app has been significantly upgraded with features including:

- Personalisation allowing users to select and prioritise the content categories they use most often

- Push notifications alerting users to breaking news and updates

- Sign-in allowing synchronisation of news feeds across multiple devices

- Improved sports coverage, including pre and post-match analysis, live match trackers and the latest sports results

- New live radio streams of RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ 2FM, in addition to the RTÉ News Now TV channel stream

- Access to audio and video content created by the RTÉ newsroom, including extra online and exclusive content

- Read later and off-line reading allowing users to save and browse content when not connected

The Android version of the app will be released in the coming weeks.

It was designed by RTÉ Digital's in-house team and developed in partnership with Irish company Ammeon.

The push notification and real-time app analytics technology used was provided by Irish-start up company Element Wave.

Managing Director of RTÉ Digital Múirne Laffan said it would provide a better platform to deliver richer media content:

"Where, how and the frequency people want to consume news on a daily basis has changed immensely," she said.

"Smartphone news apps have overtaken all other news sources as the most frequently daily accessed source for news in Ireland."