15,000 app submissions for BlackBerry 10 in 37 hours

Research In Motion (RIM) hosted a BlackBerry 10 community Port-A-Thon last Friday, resulting in 15,000 app submissions in 37.5 hours, which was confirmed in a tweet by RIM VP of developer relations Alec Saunders.BlackBerry logo

RIM incentivized developers for the event, doling out $100 for every app submitted and approved to BlackBerry App World. RIM also placed developers who had submitted more than five approved apps into a drawing for a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device.

RIM has a long way to go before they can compete with the top two platforms — Google and Apple. According to ComScore, RIM dropped another one percent (7.3 percent) among the top smartphone platforms, but remained in third place, behind Google and Apple. Three of the big four U.S. wireless carriers — Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile — confirmed to Reuters on Jan. 9 that they will offer BlackBerry 10 devices to their customers. Sprint later told The Verge that they too will carry BlackBerry 10 handsets.

RIM’s stock was up 10.25 percent at $14.95 a share at the close of today on Nasdaq.

RIM will hold a launch event in New York City for BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30.

Samsung, Apple dominate OEM market

Samsung is once again the top mobile original equipment manufacture (OEM), with a 26.9 percent market share, a positive swing of 1.2 percent, says ComScore.

According to the company’s latest Mobile Subscriber Market Share report, Apple held down the No. 2 spot for the second consecutive time since claiming the spot from LG in ComScore’s last report, with a 18.5 percent market share, up 1.4 percent. The bottom three spots of the top five were rounded out by LG with 17.5 percent share, Motorola with 10.4 percent and HTC with 5.9 percent.ComScore top mobile OEMs November 2012

123.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones, which translates to a six percent gain in U.S. mobile market penetration, moving the needle from 51.9 percent to 53 percent since the end of August.

Google Android also remained the top smartphone platform, accounting for 53.7 of the market, up 1.1 percent. Behind the Seoul-headquartered corporation is Apple, which grabbed 35 percent, up 0.7 percent. RIM continues to lose traction, with a 1.0 percent loss, but not as big as last month’s drop of 1.7 percent. Microsoft came in fourth with a 0.6 percent loss and Symbian with a 0.2 percent loss.

ComScore surveyed more than 30,000 mobile subscribers in the U.S. during a three-month period from the end of August 2012 to the end of November 2012.

ComScore top smartphone platforms November 2012

iOS leads the pack in eCPM, traffic, revenue on Opera’s mobile ad platform, iPad average eCPM of $4.42

Once again Apple’s iOS is the most lucrative platform on Opera’s mobile ad platform, with an average eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) of $1.64, according to the web browser maker’s Q3 2012 State of Mobile Advertising report.

The Oslo, Norway-headquartered company’s mobile ad platform, which touts itself as world’s leading mobile ad platform, serves more than 10,000 mobile sties and apps and delivers more than 40 billion ad impressions per month.Opera eCPM Q3 2012

Platforms below iOS’s eCPM of $1.64, which was 25 percent more than the worldwide average of $1.31 eCPM, was RIM at $1.06, Android at $0.88 and Nokia’s Symbian OS at $0.37.

In terms of traffic and revenue, iOS devices accounted for 46.37 percent of total ad traffic and 58.40 percent of revenue. Android made up 25.66 percent of traffic for Opera and 16.79 percent of revenue, which are traffic and revenue percentages that are far fewer than that of Apple’s suite of iOS devices. Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices, which were shoehorned into “Other,” represented 20.04 percent of traffic and 19.67 percent of revenue, with an eCPM of $1.28.Opera OS share Q3 2012

At the Masters of Monetization session at this week’s Appnation event in San Francisco, Mahi De Silva, executive vice president, consumer mobile for Opera, said despite there being more Android devices than iOS in the ecosystem, people use more apps on iOS than Android. He added that advertisers want an audience they can reach and it’s easier to integrate ads on iOS versus Android, so advertisers tend to favor iOS.

The iPad remained the most lucrative Apple device ($3.96 eCPM in Q2 2012), averaging $4.42 eCPM, which is more than double the eCPM of the iPhone at $1.48 and more than triple the eCPM of the iPod Touch at $0.82.

“If you look at some of the big media companies, on iPad they are getting CPMs they never saw on the desktop because of the rich-media experience on the device,” said De Silva at Appnation.

Between mobile apps and web, apps grabbed the two-thirds majority of advertising dollars, generating 73 percent of revenue for Opera. The remainder of ad revenue came from mobile web.

Publisher category-wise, the business, finance and investing category generated the most revenue per impression compared to other publisher categories while the sports category displayed the most growth.

Opera took a closer look at the U.K., one of its best performing regions, in this report. Surprisingly, BlackBerry traffic in the U.K. is almost four times higher than BlackBerry traffic in the U.S., with 14 percent of total traffic in the U.K. coming from RIM devices compared to 4.40 percent in the U.S. Also, publisher categories the U.K. favored include the arts and entertainment and the health, fitness and self help categories.Opera U.K. impressions Q3 2012

Publishers using Opera’s mobile ad platform include Pandora, Shazam, and CBS, and some advertisers include Samsung, Walmart and American Express.

Data for this report was collected from Opera’s subsidiaries including AdMarvel, Mobile Theory, and 4th Screen Advertising, three mobile advertising companies it purchased for upward of $100 million in total.

Opera says it remains on track to generate more than $400 million for mobile publishers in 2012, which is a large increase over 2011 when it generated $240 million.

ComScore: Apple reaches No. 2 rank for the first time among top mobile OEMs

For the first time, Apple ranked second on ComScore’s top mobile OEMs chart, with 17.8 percent marketshare — up 1.5 percent — according to the company’s latest Mobile Subscriber Market Share report.ComScore Top Mobile OEMs October 2012

From July to October 2012, the Reston, Va.-based analytics company reported that Samsung remained the No. 1 OEM, with a 26.3 percent market share, up 0.7 percent since July. LG, which previously held the second spot, dropped to the No. 3 OEM, with a 17.6 percent share of the market. The bottom two smartphone manufacturers were Motorola at 11 percent and HTC at six percent.

Up by 6 percent, 121.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones, resulting in 51.9 percent mobile market penetration during the three month period from July to October. On the platform side, Android held its crown as the top platform, with 53.6 percent of the smartphone market share, a gain of 1.4 percent since July. Apple came in second once again with 34.3 percent, with a 0.9 percent share increase. RIM came in third with 7.8 percent market share. Microsoft and Symbian made up the final two spots with 3.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.ComScore Top Smartphone Platforms October 2012

Mobile app news roundup: Chartboost, Red Robot Labs and the Tokyo Game Show

Chartboost sees iPhone 5 bump advertising costs — Cross promotion network Chartboost saw a 13 percent rise in the average price per user for its CPI campaigns during the iPhone 5’s launch weekend, the company reports. Prices peaked on Sunday, Sept. 23 with CPI costs rising 21.1 percent week-over-week.

RIM loses $235 million in Q2 — Beleaguered BlackBerry maker RIM has beat analyst expectations, posting a $235 million loss on $2.9 billion in sales. The company’s shares were up on the news, and are now trading at $7.44 — a significant increase over last week’s sub-$7 prices.

Red Robot Lab’s Life is Crime sees 4.3 million downloads in first year — Red Robot Labs has released a variety of interesting user statistics about its location-based game Life is Crime to celebrate the game’s one year anniversary. Most notable are the game’s download statistics — the title has seen 4.3 million downloads total, 2 million on Android and 2.3 million on iOS. The full infographic can be found here.

Navfree notches up over 10 million users – British company Navfree has announced its free, self-titled navigation app now has more than 10 million users. The app is available for both iOS and Android in over 30 countries. The company also reports its users make more than 1 million journeys ever day with its app.

Mobile-social games dominate at TGS — Mobile games and smartphone titles ruled this year’s Tokyo Game Show reports Tech in Asia. The blog counted 265 titles for smartphones on display, 100 tablet titles and 142 feature phone titles. Meanwhile the PS3, 3DS, PSP, Vita, Xbox and Wii had a grand total of 174 titles combined.

Future makes $8 million on iPad magazines – Magazine publisher Future has sold more than $8 million worth of digital magazines since Apple launched newsstand in Oct. 2011 according to Paid Content.

Zynga and American Express team for charity in Words with Friends — Zynga and American Express have launched the Words with Friends celebrity challenge featuring Kristen Bell, Jonah Hill, Snoop Lion, Edward Norton and other celebs. Players can join celebrity teams to help earn money for charity.

Google is working on a Maps app — In an unsurprising, but welcome piece of news, Google has confirmed to the New York Times it is working on a maps application for iPhone and iPad. The company is hoping to launch the app by the end of the year.

Kiip heads to Japan – Real life rewards service Kiip is headed to Asia. The company announced this week that Japan’s Digital Garage was one of the strategic investors in the company’s $11 million round of Series B funding. Kiip will launch in Japan in 2013.

Temple Run hits the table — Imangi Studio’s hit mobile game Temple Run will soon be a board game. The company is working with Spin Master Games, and the final product will be called Temple Run Danger Chase. The game will be out Oct. 1.

Disney turns on the cross-promotion stream in Where’s My Water — Disney is promoting the upcoming Tim Burton movie Frankenweenie in its mobile game Where’s My Water. The 10 Days of Frankenweenie promotion will see players get new Frankenweenie-themed levels for free. So far the Where’s My Water franchise has racked up more than 100 million downloads.

Toca Boca passes 15 million downloads — Swedish developer Toca Boca’s series of child-friendly apps have now been downloaded more than 15 million times reports The AppSide. The company revealed the figure in a job posting.

Barnes & Noble shows off HD Nooks — Barnes & Noble won’t be left behind in the HD tablet race it seems. The company has revealed two new products – a 7” Nook HD and a 9” Nook HD+ reports All Things D. The devices will cost between $199 and $299 and will come with anywhere from 8 to 32GB of storage. Both devices will run a modified version of the Android operating system.

[Launch] YoYo Games launches B.A.S.E. Jumper — YoYo Games has released its newest game B.A.S.E. Jumper in the iTunes App Store, the Amazon App Store, Facebook, Chrome, Google Play and other app stores. It was developed using the company’s GameMaker: Studio program.

[Launch] FIFA 13 hits iOS, sets EA sales record – EA’s popular FIFA series is back on iOS. The latest incarnation, FIFA 13 was available on iOS three days before the console version was available and is now EA’s fastest selling mobile title. EA did not disclose sales figures for the chart-topping title, but did reveal FIFA 13′s launch days sales were 62 percent higher than FIFA 12′s.

[Launch] Hoolai launches first English game — Well known Chinese mobile game company Hoolai has launched its first English language game, Rise of Olympia on iOS. The game is part of the GREE network.

[Launch] Cartoon Wars Blade launches — South Korea’s Gamevil is expanding on the success of its Cartoon Wars title with Cartoon Wars Blade, an action RPG set in the same universe as the popular tower defense title.

[Funding] Duck Duck Moose raises $7 million Series A – Educational app developer Duck Duck Moose has raised $7 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Mobile app news roundup: Russian hacks, Chinese revenues and aggressive adware

App Store hacked to allow free in-app purchases — A Russian hacker has found a way to circumvent Apple’s App Store security and allow users to get in-app purchases for free reports 9to5mac. The process does not require a user to jailbreak their phone, but does require users to install two certificates and change their DNS record. The workaround sends information about device and the purchase back to the Russian developer.

IMDB’s apps pass 40 million downloads — IMDB’s mobile apps have been downloaded more than 40 million times on iOS and Android Since they were launched last year, reports the company. This week the company revamped the apps, adding message boards, check-ins and other social features.

Many free app contain aggressive Adware — Mobile security company Lookout reports more than 5 percent of free apps come bundled with adware — aggressive software that accesses personal information and changes a device’s setting without asking for a user’s permission first.

Chinese iOS developers don’t see much money – Chinese iOS developers earn just $0.03 per download reports Tech in Asia, citing high piracy rates in the country and a general unwillingness to pay for apps as the reason Chinese developers have a difficult time monetizing at home. According to the Chinese-only App Annie report Tech in Asia translated, Japanese developers earn the most, taking home $.040 per download and U.S. developers take home $0.28 per download. The worldwide median is $0.19. It also reported that the top 10 developers in China generate 90 percent of their revenue overseas.

Urban Airship partners with GamesAnalytics – Urban Airship and GamesAnalytics have entered into a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the deal, game developers and publishers will be able to offer push notifications based on behaviors identified by GamesAnaltyics’ Predict platform.

PlayPhone’s social gaming network grows to 45 million users — PlayPhone’s mobile-social gaming network has grown substantially in the last six months, growing to 45 million users and 4.1 million monthly active users according to VentureBeat.

Chinese smartphone market grows 164% year-over-year — China is now the biggest smartphone market in the world, according to Apple Insider. Smartphone shipments in the country were 33.1 million units in the June quarter, up 164 percent year-on-year. Apple’s share of the market was 17.3 percent.

Tencent invests in Chinese ROM maker — Tencent may be the latest Chinese company to produce its own branded Android phone says Tech in Asia, which reports the company has invested $7.9 million (50 million RMB) in Lewa Tek, a Chinese startup that develops its own version of the Android ROM.

3 billion Blackberry app downloads – The beleaguered RIM reports its app store Blackberry App World has now surpassed 3 billion downloads.

DeNA’s Mobage gets friendly with Facebook — DeNA’s popular Mobage gaming service now allows users to log in with their Facebook accounts reports industry watcher Dr. Serkan Toto. Toto speculates the move was prompted by low user interest in the Mobage network outside of Japan.

Slice updates app to version 2.0 — Mobile shopping app Slice has overhauled its iOS and Android apps to version 2.0, adding new personal finance features in addition to its shipment tracking functions.

iVentureCapital launches games-only advertising network TrafficCaptain – German company iVentureCapital has launched its own advertising network TrafficCaptain. The game-only network will be for mobile, social and online games, and will focus on Western European and North American titles.

Kendo UI adds tablet support — Telerik has added support for tablets and server-side wrappers for ASP.NET to its HTML5 and JavaScript development framework.

Gamevil adds $10 million more to partner fund – South Korean publisher Gamevil has added $10 million more in funding to its publishing partner fund. The fund has been used to publish previous Gamevil hits such as Air Penguin and Cartoon Wars, both of which were extremely popular on Android.

[Funding] Eruptive Games nets $1 million for hardcore mobile games — Vancouver Eruptive Games has received $1 million in funding from Russian game developer Plarium, Kevin Colleran and Guitar Hero creator Kai Huang, according to TechCrunch.

[Funding] The Echo Nest closes $17.3 million fourth round – Music service provider The Echo Nest has closed a $17.3 million fourth funding round according to VentureBeat. The new funding was lead by Norwest Venture Partners. The company has now taken more than $27 million in total funding.

Mobile app news roundup: Google mobile search, Draw Something and WWDC

Google improves mobile search ads — Google has added several new features to AdWords to improve its mobile advertising tools. Advertisers can now advertise both their website and their app through the new Mobile App extension and Mobile ads units now show more information about mobile apps. Advertisers can also track downloads through AdWorks and a new AdMob SDK allows for custom search ads in tablet apps. More information can be found on the Google mobile ads blog.

Newzoo: 91 percent of mobile game revenue comes from in-app purchases — According to a study from Dutch research firm Newzoo, 91 percent of mobile app revenues on iOS and Android (excluding ad revenue) come from in-app purchases, not up from App purchases. 36 percent of all mobile gamers in the U.S. are now paying for in-app purchases and other virtual goods.

Kingdom Age racks up 1 million downloads in 12 days – Funzio’s latest iOS game Kingdom Age has seen more than 1 million installs and 20 million player-vs-play battles since its release on April 19. The company’s success was a major reason behind GREE’s $210 million acquisition of Funzio, according Shanti Bergel, GREE’s SVP of business and corporate development. For more information on the deal read our interview with Bergel and Funzio COO Anil Dharni.

Zynga adds paid advertising into Draw Something — Zynga has found a new way to monetize Draw Something. Advertisers can now pay to have words added to the popular game. According to AdAge, new words sponsored by Coca-Cola, Doritos and the National Hockey League have all bought brand advertising.

CyberAgent becoming mobile social network — Japan’s CyberAgent, best know for its cross-platform Ameba blogging service is pivoting. Starting next month the Ameba platform on smartphones will be a social network with a focus on social games, reports Dr. Serkan Toto. The move will put CyberAgent in direct competition with DeNA and GREE, two of the most profitable game companies in the world.

Angry Birds Space hits 50 million downloads — Angry Birds Space is now the fastest growing mobile app in history, passing 50 million downloads in 35 days according to Rovio. The previous record holder was Zynga’s Draw Something, which took 50 days to reach 50 million downloads.

Instagram up to 50 million users – Photo sharing service Instagram now has more than 50 million users, and is adding more than 5 million new users a week, reports Mashable.

More Android earnings figures emerge from Google/Oracle trial — According to the latest numbers revealed in the Google/Oracle trial over the use of Java in the Android OS, Android was a net loss for Google every quarter of 2010. Reuters has more information.

Kindle Fire shipments crash and burn? — Amazon shipped just 750,000 Kindle Fire tablets in the first quarter of 2012, down from the 4.8 million it shipped in Q4 2011 according to AllThingsD. Apple sold 11.8 million iPads in the same period.

Gameloft commits to BlackBerry 10 — Gameloft has announced 11 of its games are being optimized for BlackBerry 10. Shark Dash, N.O.V.A 3, Ice Age Village and Oregon Trail: American Settler will be available on BlackBerry App World at launch. The other seven titles will follow.

Mobile Roadie launches native iPad app and mobile website products — Self-service mobile app creation service Mobile Roadie has expanded its product offerings. Clients can now use Mobile Roadie to create native iPad apps and mobile websites.

It’s now easier for Unity devs to use Kontagent — Developers creating games in the popular Unity Engine can now use Kontagent’s plug-in to add the company’s analytics service to their apps, streamlining the implementation process.

Citron unveils new mobile game studio — OpenFeint co-founder Jason Citron has founded a new mobile game studio called Phoenix Guild, reports Gamasutra. The former GREE executive will be targeting hardcore console gamers.

Appssavvy’s Adtivity celebrates first birthday — Appssavvy’s Adtivity advertising platform is celebrating its first birthday. The service has almost 100 publishers signed up, and counts Ubisoft, TheBroth and Coca-Cola among its client list.

RIM promises certified apps will make at least $10,000 – In order to attract app developers to BlackBerry RIM is promising that all certified apps that can earn at least $1000 on their own will earn $10,000 in its BlackBerry App World app store. If not, RIM will pay developers the difference, reports The Verge.

CocoaChina wants Apple to open WWDC ticket exchange — Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference sold out in less than two hours, leaving many without tickets. Chinese iOS developer community CocoaChina is trying to convince Apple to open a ticket exchange (as tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable) to help developers without tickets attend the event. The group has created the WWDC waitlist website: http://www.wwdcwaitlist.org/ in order to coordinate developers who missed out on tickets.

[Launch] GREE launches Dino Life on Android — GREE’s has launched its first Android exclusive title, the free-to-play animal care game Dino Life. The game is free-to-play.

[Funding] SocialCam raises celebrity Angel seed round — TechCrunch is reporting SocialCam has raised a round of seed funding from several well known investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Tim Draper, Yuri Milner. The amount of funding SocialCam raised is not yet known.

[Funding] Appthority nets $6.25 Series A — Mobile app security company Appthority has raised $6.25 million in Series A funding. The round was lead by Venrock and US Venture partners.

[Funding] Pindrop raises $1 million seed round – Mobile phone security company has raised $1 million in seed funding. Its seed round was lead by Andreessen Horowitz.

Mobile App Roundup: Android, UDIDs, Draw Something clones, Deer Hunter and ODIN

50 percent of U.S. smartphones are Androids — According to ComScore’s latest mobile subscriber report, Google’s Android is now the most popular platform with 50.1 percent market share, up from the 46.9 percent it held in November. iOS was second with 30.2 percent, up from 28.7 percent. RIM and Microsoft declined to 13.4 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

ODIN looking to set new UDID replacement standard –  Following Apple’s move to begin rejecting apps that use UDIDs to track users, mobile advertising companies Velti, Jumptap, RadiumOne, MdotM, StrikeAd, Smaato, Adfonic and SAY Media are teaming up to create a focus group called ODIN. According to TechCrunch, the companies are hoping push the mobile advertising industry to quickly decide on a UDID replacement. The group currently favors using a secure, hashed version of the iOS MAC address.

Zynga’s Draw Something cloned in China — With the blockbuster success of Draw Something, its not surprising others are looking to get in on the social-Pictionary action. According to Tech in Asia, the game has been cloned in China by Tencent as Guess What and MelonZone as Draw I Guess.

Diamond Dash hits 11 million downloads — The iOS version of Wooga’s Diamond Dash has been downloaded 11 million times in four months. 64 percent of iOS players log in with Facebook.

Angry Birds coming to the small screen – Rovio has revealed it is working on an Angry Birds animated series. Each of the 52 episodes will be about three minutes long, according to VentureBeat.

Indie hits coming and going from iOS — Indie games are crossing to and from mobile. Team Meat is working on a brand-new iOS version of punishingly difficult platformer Super Meat Boy, and Canadian studio Capy Games is bringing its award winning iOS game, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP to the PC via Steam.

Glu Mobile buys Deer Hunter brand – Glu Mobile has bought the trademark to Deer Hunter from Atari. Glu has been releasing mobile Deer Hunter apps for seven years, earning more than $21 million in revenue from the brand.

Windows Phone Marketplace up to 80,000 apps – All About Windows Phone reports that the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 80,000 apps, some of which may have been directly financed by Microsoft itself, according to the New York Times.

Latest version of Android OS only on 2.9 percent of Android devices — According to the latest update from Google’s Android developer platform data, Android 4.0 — aka Ice Cream Sandwich — is installed on just 2.9 percent of Android devices. The most popular Android OS is still 2.3, aka, Gingerbread, with a 63.7 percent market share.

Flurry ditches UDID in latest SDK, adds more features – Flurry has updated its iOS SDK to version 3.1.0. According to the Flurry blog, the SDK no longer collects the iOS UDID. The company has also added Funnels, Alerts and Custom Dashboards to its iOS, Android, HTML5, BlackBerry and JavaME analytics products.

Halfbrick gets in on GetJar Gold — Halfbrick is the latest developer to integrate GetJar’s GetJar Gold virtual currency. The currency, which is only available in GetJar’s independent Android app store, is based off advertising, but players can use the currency to purchase premium in-game items.

Kontagent adds new data mining tools — Kontagent has launched a new kSuite DataMine platform. The cloud-hosted tool allows developers to create detailed, custom queries in order to mine user data.

Samsung launching own mobile ad network — Samsung is partnering with OpenX Technologies to create its own mobile advertising network, reports the Wall Street Journal. The as-yet-unnamed network will launch in the second half of the year.

[Funding] The Tap Lab untaps $550,000 — Cambridge-based The Tap Lap has raised $550,000 in investment funds to work on location based games and its own location-based game engine.

[Launch] MocoSpace debuts HTML-based True Night — HTML5 gaming platform MocoSpace has launched its thirty third HTML5 game, the vampire themed True Night. It was developed by New Game Town.

Mobile App News Roundup: DeNA, Rovio and RIM

DeNA news roundup — It’s been a busy week for Japanese gaming giant DeNA.

The company has announced a new deal with Disney Japan to launch three Disney-branded games. The games are scheduled to come to North America sometime this summer. The games, which are based on Disney’s original characters and the Marvel superheroes brand, will be the first titles jointly developed by DeNA to be released outside of North America.

In other DeNA news, it also announced this week it has signed deals with all three of China’s major mobile carriers: China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile subscribers will now see Mobage transactions showing up on their monthly phone bill. China Unicom and China Telecom will be rolling out carrier billing for Mobage by the summer. All three carriers (with a combined customer base of 976 million customers) now offer Mobage games in their Android app stores.

Apple products in 51% of US homes — According to a survey conducted by CNBC, 51 percent of American households have at least one Apple product. The average US home holds 1.6 Apple devices, with nine percent of home reporting more than five apple products.

RIM announces major restructuring — Following a disappointing earnings report, Canadian smartphone maker RIM has announced it is refocusing on enterprise. As part of the effort, several senior executives are on the way out. Former co-CEO Jim Balsillie has left the company and Mashable is reporting the company’s COO and CTO have also departed.

Angry Birds Space hits 10 million downloads in three days — Angry Birds Space has been a big hit, racking up 10 million downloads worldwide in its first three days, reports Develop.

Level-5 Signs Deal with GREE – Professor Layton publisher Level-5 has signed a deal with GREE that will see three games from the company come to the GREE platform in the second quarter of this year.

Rovio buys Futuremark Games, hiring for Swedish office — Rovio has purchased game developer Futuremark Games for an undisclosed sum, reports TechCrunch. The company is also opening a studio in Sweden, according to a job posting on the company’s website for a general manger. Rovio is aiming to hire between 20 and 30 employees in Sweden. The company established a Shanghai studio last year.

Bump gets into mobile payments – Contact and photo-sharing app Bump has released a new app called Bump Pay. Powered by PayPal, the standalone app allows users to transfer funds between smartphones.

Outfit7 partners with Autism Speaks — Outfit7 has partnered with Autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks to promote Autism Awareness Month through the Light It Up Blue Campaign. For a limited time, users of Outfit7’s Talking Tom app on iOS and Android will be able to download a virtual Light It Up Blue shirt for Tom.

Aeria Games launches mobile division — Santa-Clara based Aeria Games has launched a mobile spin division called Aeria Mobile. The company’s first three games will be Tuff Tanks, Eden Eternal Monster Hunter and Armygeddon. Tuff Tanks is being developed by Swedish developer Junebud.

The Dark Meadow gets a free-to-play version — Phosphor Games has released a free-to-play version of its critically acclaimed iPad game Dark Meadow called Dark Meadow: The Pact. The free version of the game will launch on Android next month.

[Launch] Fitocracy comes out of beta with iOS app — Social Fitness startup Fitocracy has come out of beta. To celebrate, the company has released an iPhone app, one of the features most requested by the service’s users.

Apple Narrows Smartphone Sales Gap With Strong Quarter Following 4S Launch, NPD Says

The popularity of the iPhone 4S and new, lower prices on older iPhones are helping Apple narrow the smartphone sales gap between iOS and Android in the U.S., according to the latest data from consumer research firm the NPD Group.

According to a factsheet the company released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the hotly anticipated iPhone 4S noticeably boosted iOS’ market share of smartphone sales to 43 percent in October and November, up from 26 percent in the third quarter. Apple reported it had sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S’ in its first weekend of the device’s availability.

While the jump between the third and fourth quarter seems dramatic, it is important to note that Apple’s market share in the third and fourth quarters was artificially distorted by the 4S, as many of those those planning to buy an iPhone waited for the new device’s release in October.  Overall however, what was good for iOS proved to be bad for Android, with the popularity of the 4S and the new lower prices on Apple’s older iPhones cutting Android’s share of new smartphone sales to 47 percent in October and November, down from 60 percent in the third quarter.

NPD’s figures also indicate new smartphone sales are now almost exclusively a contest between iOS and Android. RIM’s BlackBerry devices continued to lose market share in the fourth quarter, accounting for just six percent of new smartphone sales. At the beginning of the year, BlackBerry devices were almost as popular as iOS devices, holding 21 and 23 percent of sales respectively.  In response to its declining presence the Canadian company has made a variety of changes, and will soon be licensing BlackBerry’s security features to other manufactures. The company’s co-chairmen, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie are under intense pressure to step down.

Meanwhile Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile offerings continued to remain marginal, accounting for about one percent of total sales each.

Smartphone sales are also continuing to increase at the expense of traditional feature phones, and now account for 67 percent of all new device sales in the U.S. The top three selling smartphone phones in the fourth quarter were the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS according to NPD.

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