Animoca crosses 220 million downloads, releases Star Girl: Valentine Hearts

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Hong Kong based mobile game developer and publisher Animoca has passed 220 million downloads across iOS, Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The company has released over 300 apps since launching in early 2011, and today announces the release of the newest game in its popular Star Girl franchise, Star Girl: Valentine Hearts.

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Amazon hoping to drive Appstore downloads with Christmas week deals

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With new smartphones and tablets near the top of just about everyone’s holiday wish list, Amazon is hoping to drive all new users to its Appstore by offering a slew of deals, including free games and even a $5 credit to use on future purchases. (more…)

Amazon Prime’s iOS app now features Airplay

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Image via Amazon

When Amazon first launched its instant video app Prime for iOS, users let out a collective groan when they realized the service didn’t work with Apple TV’s Airplay.

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Amazon rumored to be developing Android console for release this year

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Rumor has it Amazon is developing its own Android console, say sources close to the situation.

Speaking with Game Informer, sources with “knowledge of the in-development hardware” confirm the console will be released by the end of the year, and will mostly likely be available before Black Friday in November, the official start of the holiday shopping season.

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What features are most important for mobile commerce apps?

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According to a study, 57 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices to search for information while out shopping. This statistic shows how important it is for businesses to provide mobile components for their customers either through mobile apps or mobile experiences. The same study provided some significant insight on what type of features are most important to consumers in mobile apps. (more…)

Distimo takes a deep dive into the Amazon Appstore, compares to Google Play

Distimo logoDistimo’s latest report takes a deep dive into the Amazon Appstore, taking a look at the top apps and publishers in terms of estimated daily downloads and one-off revenues in the app store. The report also takes a look at the differences and similarities between the Amazon Appstore, a third-party app store for the Android platform, and Google Play.

App tracking company Distimo kicked off its April report by revealing that the top 200 free apps on the U.S. Amazon Appstore saw a total of 16 million downloads in March. Similarly to the Apple App Store and Google Play, the most downloaded genre of apps were games, with Imangi Studios’ Temple Run 2 leading the way as the most downloaded free app. Also, eight of the top 10 most downloaded apps were games, with Netflix and Facebook as the two non-game apps.

As expected, the amount of device installs for free apps in Google Play is significantly higher compared to the Amazon Appstore. The Dutch firm adds that Google Play is approximately 10 times larger than the Amazon Appstore in the U.S. For example of the disparity between the two app stores, Developer Halfbrick Studios’ Fruit Ninja Free, which is ranked No. 9 in the Amazon Appstore among the top free apps, was downloaded 9.1 times less than in Google Play, which translates to 2.3 million installs from Google Play and 250,000 from the Amazon App Store in March.Distimo April 2013 report chart

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Animoca: 7-inch tablets dominate the Android tablet market, Samsung the leading manufacturer

Animoca logoAndroid-focused mobile game developer and publisher Animoca today released Android tablet data gathered from its network of users, which showed that four of the five most used tablets were of the 7-inch screen variety, and Samsung devices were the first and second most popular tablets overall.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7 (includes p3100 and p3113) took an 11.8 percent share and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 grabbed an 8.3 percent share. Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices also faired well, coming in at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, with a 7.5 percent share for the standard Kindle Fire and a 4.9 percent share with the HD model. Another notable tablet was Asus’ Google Nexus 7, which generated a 3.8 percent share.

Beyond the No. 7  spot, the remaining tablets each claimed less than a one percent market share. So, given an error margin of 0.1 percent and the slight differences between the No. 8 tablet onward, Animoca says it couldn’t be sure of the correct ordering.

Developers should be creating mobile apps made for their target audience, and knowing which devices to develop for like tablets, in terms of screen size, hardware specifications, and platform market share, is important.

Animoca previously released similar data that analyzed for most used devices on its network, taking a look at the top Android smartphones in markets like the U.S., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

The Hong Kong-based game company collected data for this report from 978,000 users worldwide who used Google Play and played an Animoca game on a tablet device between February 18 to March 20.

Amazon throws its hat in the mobile ad network ring

Amazon logoAmazon today announced its Amazon Mobile Ads API service for mobile developers to monetize their apps.

Amazon is entering a crowded mobile ad network market filled with the likes of Google AdMob, Millennial Media and InMobi. Even Facebook seemed poised to get into this business at one point last year before it ended its test after a few months.

Amazon did not share what cut of ad fees it offers developers, but says its service offers a “competitive eCPM.” According to the company’s publisher agreement, the portion of the advertising fees that a developer will receive “may be adjusted depending on a variety of factors, such as the quality of your inventory or deductions for various expenses.” Ads will come with mobile-optimized display ads from Amazon itself and other “top” brands, the company says.

Amazon’s mobile ads API offers ads in two different flavors. First is the “floating ad,” which acts like a typical mobile banner ad that floats at the bottom of the screen. Second, is the “simple ad,” which is a rich media expandable banner ad such as a video ad.

Amazon simple ad example

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For now, the API is in beta and only available for U.S. users and apps for the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and other Android smartphones and tablets. Note that for the API to work in a developer’s app, the app has to be available for download on Google Play as well as on the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Developers interested Amazon’s mobile ads API can head here for more information and to download the API.

Apple and Samsung remain top device manufacturers on Millennial Media’s platform

Millennial Media today released its 2012 year in review Mobile Mix Report, which showed Apple and Samsung remaining the top device manufacturers on its platform.Millennial Media logo

Apple remained the No. 1 OEM manufacturer on the mobile ad network’s platform in 2012, increasing its impressions share 5 percent year-over-year from 26 percent to 31 percent of the total impressions on Millennial Media’s top 15 device manufactures list. Samsung also maintained its No. 2 spot on the top 15 device manufactures list, thanks to a 5 percent growth in impressions since 2011 from 17 percent of total impressions on Millennial’s platform to 22 percent. The most notable newcomer to the ad network’s top 15 manufacturers list for 2012 was Amazon, landing at the No. 11.

Apple’s suite of iPhone devices — including the 4S, 5, etc. — also remained the top device on Millennial Media’s network in 2012, accounting for 15.59 percent of impressions, a 72 percent increase year-over-year. Impressions for Samsung’s flagship smartphone device, the Galaxy S, grew 182 percent in 2012, moving the device up five spots to the No. 2 position on Millennial Media’s top 20 mobile phones list. Tablet-wise, the Apple iPad stood pat as the No. 1 tablet on Millennial’s platform for 2012.

Based on ad impressions on Millennial’s network, smartphones were once again the leading device in 2012, increasing 7 percent for a 75 percent share of the total platform impressions. In second were non-phone connected devices — tablets, e-readers, etc. –, increasing 5 percent year-over-year to 20 of impressions in the ad network’s platform. Millennial Media attributed the majority of the growth of that category to the adoption rate increase of tablets. The feature phone category, as expected, fell from 17 percent in 2011 to 5 percent in 2012.Millennial Media Mobile Mix Report February 2013 1

Now the breakdown for the operating systems on devices was stagnant year-over-year. Android was once again the top OS on Millennial’s platform at 48 percent, which was only a 1 percent increase since 2011. iOS was the second largest OS, with 32 percent of the impression share, down one percent year-over-year. Millennial also broke down OS share for tablets, with iOS taking a 58 percent impression share among all tablet OS. Android took a 41 percent share, with Samsung as the leading Android tablet manufacture with a 45 percent share.Millennial Media Mobile Mix Report February 2013 2

Amazon Coins: good idea, awful execution

There is no better sales incentive than free money. It’s just a pity that Amazon’s new virtual currency, Amazon Coins, are not a particularly useful sales incentive.

Amazon Coins -- right, but so wrong

The company unveiled Amazon Coins on Feb. 5, explaining they could be used to purchase apps, games and in-app items on Kindle Fire tablets. Most industry watchers praised the announcement, but more than a few pundits questioned the logic of the coins.

While I’ve already made my opinion fairly clear (skip to 0:34 to get to the relevant part), Amazon’s Coins do deserve more analysis, particularly since so many people are convinced they are brilliant. The real rub is that those people are technically right. Stimulating the Kindle Fire economy is an excellent idea, more so because Amazon desperately needs to do it.

Not long after the Kindle Fire was released, many developers boasted that it monetized far better than other Android based tablets, and that its app store was much more lucrative the official Android market run by Google. As interest in the Kindle Fire has dropped off, however, so have the claims that it was the ultra-profitable Shangri-La Android developers were dreaming of. Competition from the Google’s Nexus-branded Android tablets and Apple’s new iPad Mini have squeezed the Kindle Fire’s share of the mid to low-end tablet market, and the device no longer has the “hot gift” cachet it had when it debuted just before Christmas 2011.

The Kindle Fire app store has always had a much smaller pool of apps and users than Google Play and the iTunes App Store, and as interest wanes in the device, so has the influx of excited new users ready to download apps. Amazon knows this is bad news. After all, developers aren’t interested in making apps for a platform without consumers and consumers don’t want devices with a lousy selection of apps.

Microsoft is in a similar situation; its work-around for the problem has been to incentivize development, assuming the consumers will eventually come for the apps. Meanwhile Amazon is trying the opposite approach, supplying the financial incentives to the consumers and letting developers know there will soon be a lot more liquidity in the Amazon app economy.

It’s a fair tactic that doesn’t penalize the developers that bet on the Amazon Appstore before the company started its stimulus efforts, and it’s technically giving both consumers and developers what they really want — money.

So, why not just supply money? Perhaps credit every Kindle Fire owner’s account with a few dollars via a virtual gift card? Kindle Fire owners already understand how to buy apps with real money and Amazon’s customers are already comfortable with the concept of gift cards. Even if Amazon is planning to roll out some sort of rewards program with Coins (i.e. spend $10 on Kindle Fire apps, games or in-app items and get 100 Amazon Coins), why not just use a cash-back system similar to the one many credit card companies already use?

There is also the matter of what Amazon is looking to gain by creating its own virtual currency.  Microsoft Points were designed specifically to make items look cheaper than they are (an item that costs 79 Microsoft Points actually costs $0.99). Amazon Coins meanwhile, convert one for one to real cents, so Amazon clearly isn’t hoping to target bargain hunters.

Perhaps Amazon is hoping to use Coins to convince people to spend money without having to (technically) open their wallets — after all, when Facebook introduced Credits, the idea was that a universal currency would boost conversion. Again, this is a questionable choice since in the end, Facebook Credits ended up being a mixed bag. While developers saw an increase in conversion, others reported a decrease in average revenue per paying user. In the end, Facebook eliminated Credits less than a year after they were introduced opting to use a local-currency system just like Apple, Android and yes, Amazon were already using.

Millions of people already know and trust Amazon with their credit cards, and Kindle Fire users were already using a standardized payment system with the currency they understood best — dollars. Amazon’s new virtual currency is just complicating the matter with a second payment option.

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