Moga game controller attempts to bring console gaming experience to mobile

Mobile games are becoming increasingly  more powerful with high fidelity graphics and home console-like gameplay, but lack the controls akin to home consoles. PowerA attempts to bring improved control to mobile games with its Moga controller attachment for Android smartphones. We recently sat down with PowerA for a hands-on demo with the Android-based controller.Moga logo

Gaming accessory manufacturer PowerA’s Moga gaming controller features a flip mechanized arm that’s adjustable to fit different compatible Android handsets (Android 2.3 Gingerbread or higher versions), a rubberized underbelly with ribbed grips, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, two analog sticks that felt like the Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad, start and select buttons, two shoulder buttons, four face buttons and 18 hours of battery life with 2 AAA batteries. When a phone is attached to the Moga (our demo used a Samsung Galaxy S III) it makes the Moga feel weighted and balanced. When a phone isn’t attached to the Moga, the controller is portable and can fit in a user’s pocket.

Power A has also created its own app store called the Pivot app for users to see all the Moga-enabled apps in one place. The Pivot app could potentially help developers fight discoverability because there’s less apps to compete against in the Pivot app, and since the apps point back to Google Play, developers can get their apps noticed more in Google’s app store. Also, since Moga utilizes Bluetooth connectivity and the Pivot app to play games, Moga also works for Android tablets.

PowerA’s freely provided SDK allows developers to add controls to existing apps in a short amount of time. PowerA suggested that developers could potentially create more complex games from the ground up with Moga and charge more for their app.Moga controller

What differentiates the Woodinville, Wash.-based company’s device from its competitors like Discovery Bay Games’ Duo Gamer controller is that Moga works for multiple mobile games from multiple publishers and developers, not just with one game or select titles from one publisher or developer.

Inside Mobile Apps got their hands on Pac-Man and although it only uses just one analog stick, it worked nicely. Other Moga-enabled titles we played included The Dark Knight Rises, Riptide GP and Virtua Tennis Challenge. Publishers that PowerA has on board for Moga so far include Atari, Sega, Namco, Gameloft, Remedy Entertainment and more.

The focus right now for PoweraA is to build an install base with existing mobile games adding Moga control, but there are Android titles being developed that are built for Moga from the ground up. Eventually, PowerA wants to get Moga on iOS and are in conversations with Apple right now.

Moga launches on Oct. 21 for $50 and will be boxed with the controller, free Pivot app download, soft case for the device and two free games–Sonic CD and Pac-Man–as part of a limited time offer. The device will be available in more than 7,000 stores at retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Target and more as well as from phone carriers such as T-Mobile. Backed by a multimillion dollar launch plan, interactive displays will be set up at 1,500 retail stores as well. PowerA plans to have about 30-40 titles at launch and add more each week.

Applicasa seeks to carve out a mobile niche with all-in-one game management platform

Israeli startup Applicasa is looking to make life a little easier for mobile game developers with a new all-in-one service that promises to take care of analytics, in-app purchase management and promotions through an easy to implement server-side solution.

Falling under the backend-as-a-service umbrella, Applicasa’s mobile game management platform promises to free its users from dealing with server-side code. Developers using the platform simply add the Applicasa SDK to their apps and then use the company’s drag-and-drop user interface to add virtual goods and in-app purchases to their apps.

Where Applicasa’s service sets itself apart, says COO and co-founder Tzvi Kopetz, is that it also provides its users with analytics and promotional tools, allowing developers to not only add virtual goods to their apps, but to manage them effectively.

“The difficulty game developers are facing is creating in-app purchases and creating promotions for those purchases,” he explains. “When create promotions for virtual goods, it won’t be effective if you don’t know who your users are, and you can’t categorize them or divide them.”

Applicasa’s platform tracks player behavior, allowing developers to segment userbase through more than 12 factors including: total amount of goods purchased, levels completed, location, average play time, current virtual currency balance, achievements and more. Developers can then use the platform to create and manage promotions like daily deals, two-for-one sales, announcements or even milestone triggered events — all of which can shown just to specific user segments.

The service is still in its private beta, but developers interesting in participating can go to Applicasa’s website to learn more. Applicasa is backed by $500,000 in seed funding from Israeli venture capital firm Shaked.

Chartboost Launches Mobile App Cross-Promotion Service on Android

Chartboost, the San Francisco-based mobile monetization startup from former Tapulous employees, is expanding its cross promotion and direct deals advertising platform to Android.

As developers have sought to find new ways to acquire users as costs go up, Chartboost has built a way for developers to reach out to each other directly to cross-promote their apps in each other’s games. Chartboost’s pitch is that this is more affordable and it lets developers avoid giving up revenue share to mobile ad networks.

Developers in the Chartboost network can add white-labeled, full-screen interstitial advertisements to their apps, which they can use to promote their own games, trade advertising inventory directly to other companies or run network ads.

Although Chartboost’s Android network was already in a closed beta, the company sped up the deployment of the Android SDK at the request of its clients. According to Chartboost, the Android version of its services will launch with Storm8 and Hong Kong’s Animoca.

Several other large publishers will be coming onboard with the company’s Android solution within weeks. The San Francisco-based company has been busy signing deals lately. It recently snagged one with TinyCo to give advertisers doing direct deals with the San Francisco-based developer 100 percent of the proceeds.

While other monetization companies like Tapjoy have used the relative freedom of the Android platform to offer incentivized downloads, Chartboost won’t be branching out from its the direct deals model it offers on iOS.

“Apple blocked incentivized downloads because they didn’t like the whole quality around the experience,” explains Maria Alegre, the company’s co-founder and CEO.  “I think even if Android isn’t blocking it, if an advertiser wants to acquire users, they want to make sure that user gets the game for a good reason, not because the game pays 5 coins.”

According to Alegre, instead of trying expand the types of services it offers now that its on Android, Chartboost is instead concentrating on adding more developers to its roster and more functionality to the services it already provides, with features like better user targeting.

“We provide technology, we are not an ad network,” she points out. “We used direct deals a lot at Tapulous and it made us a lot of money, but there’s not a solution right now to support that in an amazing way. That’s what we’re here to build. We’re offering our technology for free because we’re trying to build a network of great service for direct deals.”

While Chartboost follows the freemium model – offering most of its technology to developers for free – the company is already profitable according to Alegre. The company makes its money from network campaigns that its advertisers and publishers use to fill inventory they’re not using to promote their own games or in direct deals.

Chartboost recently raised $2 million dollars in series A funding from Translink Capital, SKTVC and SG Ventures to expand its network. The company also used the money to accelerate the timeline of its Android launch.

Appssavvy Hoping to Crack Mobile Ads Market with Activity-Based Ad SDK

New York-based Appssavvy, an advertising startup backed by True Ventures that laces interstitial ads into apps when users take certain actions, is bringing its solution to mobile apps.

Called Adtivity, Appssavvy’s mobile SDK for iOS and Android allows developers to incorporate interstitial ads into a variety of social activities like sharing photos, checking in, sending and earning virtual goods and even leveling up within a game. (Whether this is a good experience for users who want to quickly get in and out of an app is another question.)

Developers can match Adtivity activities to the look of their apps, but the ads will all always display as large format center-of-screen displays.

Appssavvy launched its Adtivity platform back in September, pivoting its entire business model from traditional static display ads to interactive, activity-based ones. The company teamed with a variety of developers to launch Adtivity, and now says that its ads are seen by more than 127 million people per month. 6waves, 50 Cubes, iWin, GameDuell and OMGPOP are all listed as Adtivity partners.

The mobile advertising business has already gone through a significant wave of consolidation after Google bought AdMob for $750 million in 2009 and Apple followed on by scooping up rival Quattro. InMobi and Millennial Media remain distant runners up as independent, venture-backed mobile ad networks.

There are also a number of small startups that have recently cropped up over the last year from AdMob and Tapulous alums like MoPub, which lets developers sell their own inventory directly and auction off space in real-time, and Chartboost, which lets developers partner up to cross-promote apps.  Kiip, another mobile advertising company backed by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners gives gamers rewards, like deals or coupons from brands, when gamers reach achievements like leveling up.

Appssavvy has made forays into incorporating branded activities on mobile games before. In May, the network helped Century 21 add a branded building promotion to ngmoco’s We City.

Mobile App Roundup: Google, Big Business, Startups & More

RIMRIM Reports a Decline in Q2 Revenue — Research In Motion has reported a decline in second quarter revenue due primarily to a poor performance of the BlackBerry PlayBook. RIM states $4.2 billion in revenue, a 10 percent drop from $4.6 billion. In terms of PlayBook, only 200,000 units were shipped. The net income was $329 million, a 59 percent drop from the $797 million of last year.

Google Possibly Working on Digital Magazine App — According to tech personality Robert Scoble, a source “working with Google” has noted that the company may be working on a competitor to the popular digital magazine app, Flipboard. Additionally, All Things D says that numerous sources are saying similar things and are dubbing the product “Propeller.”

Google Buys Over 1,000 Patents to Protect Android — Google has purchased 1,023 patents from IBM in order to protect Android from potential lawsuits, reports Bloomberg. The reports from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office note the acquisitions occurring on August 17th, and according to Google, are designed to counter “hostile, organized campaign[s]” from companies such as Apple and Microsoft. In addition to these new patents, Google also acquired 1,030 from IBM in July and will gain 17,000 more with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings.

Sony Releases SDK for PlayStation Vita — Sony released an SDK for developers looking to create games on PlayStation-certified devices. The SDK will support the programming language of C# and will work on devices such as the PlayStation Vita and Sony Tablet.

foursquareFoursquare Releases Push Notifications API — Location-based Foursquare has released two new beta version push notification APIs, User Push API and Venue Push API. The former allows for third-party apps to opt in to receive notifications when authenticated users check in, while the latter allows for notifications when there is a check-in to a venue run by a third-party app’s user.

Gowalla Announces Guides — Gowalla has shown off the latest version of its app: Guides. Upon checking in, users can view information regarding that particular location or contribute to the guide themselves. The more users check in, the more information they can view.

Buy Mobile App Features With Verious — Launched at the TechCrunch Disrupt, Verious is an interesting new online marketplace in which users can search for and buy pre-built mobile application components (e.g. a color picker, a slideshow component, or translation services).

Red RobotRed Robot Labs Raises $8.5 Million — Location-based mobile games developer Red Robot Labs has announced $8.5 million in funding from Benchmark Capital and Shasta Ventures. Its first game, Life is Crime, launched on Android a few weeks ago.

MeLLmo Raises $30 Million — MeLLmo, a mobile business applications developer, has raised a round of funding this week worth $30 million from Sequoia Capital. Moreover, Sequoia Capital partner, Greg McAdoo, will join MeLLmo’s board of directors.

GameStop to Create Gaming Tablet — Game retailer GameStop has announced that it has plans to launch its very own branded gaming tablet. According to, the tablet will make use of the Android OS.

Verizon Relaunches Android App Store — Through the help of Chomp, Verizon Wireless is relaunching its Android app store, Verizon Apps, reports VentureBeat. Using Chomp’s app search engine, users will be able to search for new apps based on type.

Unity Wins Best Development Environment Award — Unity Technologies has announced that its Unity game development platform has won the award for “Best Development Environment” at this year’s CEDEC (Computer Entertainment Developers Conference) in Japan.

[Legal] Samsung Files Apple Complaint in France — In the global Apple vs. Samsung patent war, Samsung has filed a complaint against Apple in Paris. The complaint states that Apple has violated three of its technology patents regarding a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

[Legal] AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Goes to the President — 15 Congressional members are asking President Obama to settle the matter. In a letter written by Heath Shuler, they coax the President to approve the merger as it will, as reported by TechCrunch, expand high-speed wireless networks, generate new jobs, and boost the country’s GDP.

OLogicDemo Conference Mobile Highlights — The VentureBeat-affiliated conference of Demo, which acts like a showcase for new emerging technologies and companies’ products, occured earlier this week. At Demo several new mobile technologies and applications were featured. Below are some of the highlights detailed on the tech blog.

  • Open Mobile App Directory — OMAD grants users with a means to find applications, from one site, from several app stores, including iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. It also states that it has “greater community participation.”
  • Text Message Weight Loss Motivation — SMS startup Poosh has launched a new text message mobile service that will help motive users to exercise by sending text messages one to three times a day from “elite athletes.”
  • Coaxing Kids to Read — MeMe Tales is a new mobile reading application for kids that will grant more than digital stories, but the ability to play reading-related games or publish their own stories.
  • Easy Mobile Prototypes — Web-based FieldTest is a concept that allows users to take any image and assign interactions to create a functioning mobile app perfect for prototype presentations, pitches, demos, or testing.
  • More Social Group Messaging — SmartDonuts is a new group messaging app from Inscos that allows users to more securely chat with groups of friends as well as join other groups based on their interests.
  • Voice-to-Text MessagingQwip is a startup that offers and app of the same name that allows users to record short messages and converts them to text that can be used on Qwip, in private messages, or social feeds.
  • New Social & Mobile Golfing App — Teepsy is a new Facebook and mobile app that allows users to brag about their golf game. Additionally, it lets users sign up for discounted tee times at certain golf courses. Players can earn badges for their golf accomplishments and track their scores.
  • Build Tablet Websites — A startup out of Brooklyn, ClrTouch, displayed that lets users create a tablet-based website directly from their tablet.
  • Power Robots With Smartphones — One interesting demo came from OLogic and its Automated Music Personality (AMP). The robot follows users around and will play music from one’s smartphone or MP3 player. It also comes with a iOS or Android app that lets users control it.
  • Earn Discounts With Gimmie — Gimmie is another new startup and its product allows users to use their mobile phones to scan QR codes for things like rebates, coupons, and so on to receive a discount instantly.

[image via VentureBeat]

Angry Birds Hits New Milestone — Rovio Mobile’s game Angry Birds has reached a new milestone today as general manager Andrew Stalbow announced the game has been downloaded 350 million times and sees 300 million minutes of play a day.

PETA Sends Letter to TinyCo — TinyCo, the mobile developer behind Tiny Zoo received a letter from PETA coaxing them to make their next version of the game about rescued animals in sanctuaries rather than in cages. They state that the concept of confining animals within small enclosures is cruel and sends the wrong message to young players.

[Launch] Itsmy Games Launches Games for Web — Mobile and social games developer, itsmy Games, has announced that it has launched its catalogue of over 100 free-to-play titles as mobile web apps. Each game makes use of HTML5 and can be played partly offline.

DragonVale[Launch] Backflip Studios Releases iOS Game DragonVale — Backflip Studios has released its newest free-to-play game, DragonVale in the U.S. The game is social game in which players manage a virtual space to raise and care for baby dragons.

[Launch] Pocket Gems Releases Tap Zoo on Android — Mobile games developer Pocket Gems has announced the launch of free-to-play game Tap Zoo for Android-based smartphones and tablets. The release also marks the one-year anniversary of the top grossing game on iOS within which it has spent 48 weeks in the top ten.

[Launch] Aviary Releases Photo Editing SDK — Aviary is a media editing company that has released a new SDK this week that allows developers to add photo editing features into any iOS or Android application.

[Launch] Translating Mobile Apps — TechCrunch came across an interesting new mobile app platform from Tethras. The platform is intended to help developers translate and localize their iOS and Android apps for a multitude of different languages.

[Rumor] iPhone 5 Launching October 15th — Stéphane Richard, CEO of France Telecom has stated that “the iPhone 5 will be released on 15 October,” reports TechCrunch.

Mobile App Roundup: BoltJS, Funding, Mergers & More

BoltJSBoltJS for Building Mobile Web Apps — Facebook is apparently building a new platform by the name of BoltJS. It is a UI framework that is intended to help developers build mobile web applications in both HTML5 and Javascript. Additionally, as TechCrunch points out, the project currently focuses on mobile WebKit browsers, suggesting that BoltJS could be related to the secretive Project Spartan.

Eddy Cue Becomes Apple SVP of Internet Software & Services — Last week, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, leaving the role to Tim Cook, the company’s COO. Now, 9to5Mac is reporting that Cook has appointed iTunes VP, Eddy Cue, as Apple’s new SVP of Internet software and services.

Isis to Recieve $100 Million — According to Bloomberg, the mobile payment network of Isis is reported to receive $100 million from parent companies AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Though nothing has been confirmed, “anonymous sources” state that the money is intended to make Isis more competitive against other similar services.

CloudOn Raises $7.7 Million — CloudOn is a company looking to create “a mobile, enterprise, cloud-based workspace” in order to help workers with productivity. According to an SEC filing, the company has just raised a first round of funding worth $7.7 million.

Woozworld Raises $6 Million — Children’s virtual world Woozworld has announced the raising of $6 million in funding, reports VentureBeat. The company is looking to use the money to expand Woozworld onto mobile platforms.

Game ClosureGame Closure Raises Seed Round — Game Closure first displayed its HTML5, cross-platform game engine and SDK for multiplayer mobile and Facebook games a few months ago. Now, the startup has quietly announced that it has raised a seed round, reports TechCrunch. Though the amount is undisclosed, investors and angels include SV Angle, Yuri Milner, Joi Ito, Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, and General Catalyst Partners.

AppRedeem Launches In-App Deals — AppRedeem has announced the launch of its new AppRedeem Deals network in order to help developers convert free app users to paid app users by offering users rewards. A recent top free iOS app, The Moron Test: Section 2 is an early example, offering users a discount for the full paid version app upon reaching a Game Over.

Microsoft Sued for Collecting Windows Phone 7 Location Data — According to InformationWeek, Microsoft is being sued by a class action lawsuit for collecting user location data on Windows Phone 7. The issue, is that it is doing so — through its camera application — even after users opt out.

GameFeed Extends Onto iOS — Social-mobile game network, OpenFeint launched its GameFeed enhancement back in June, but now the company is expanding the feature to its iOS SDK. Additionally, it is worth noting that the feature was extended to Android first, making GameFeed cross-platform.

Appsfire Announces Open Source UDID — Not too long ago, Apple set out to deprecate UDIDs from iOS. Following the OpenFeint announcement that seeks to replace UDIDs, Appsfire is now introducing OpenUDID. According to TechCrunch, OpenUDID is an open source UDID initiative in which all stakeholders can participate.

Spotify Releases libspotify API — Spotify has released a new API by the name of libspotify 9. Through the API, iOS developers to incorporate Spotify, and its 15 million+ tracks, within their applications.

Android Holds 40% of Smartphone OS Share — Nielsen released a new research report noting that 40 percent of mobile devices owned in the U.S. are smartphones, with 40 percent of that share being Android. Additionally, amongst users looking to buy a new smartphone, approximately one-third are opting for iPhone and another third looking at Android.

Mobile App Ad Inventory to Meet Online Web Ad Demand — Analytics firm Flurry released an interesting set of data this week. The growth of ad inventory in mobile apps has been growing at a rate so quickly that it will soon be able to meet all of the demands for online ad spend for display ads in United States. Should the growth trend continue, it will be far surpassed by the end of 2012.

Mobile App Inventory

[Legal] AT&T Merger with T-Mobile Blocked — According to a report from Bloomberg, the U.S. government has blocked the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile stating that it would “substantially lessen competition” for the wireless market. However, Reuters has noted, today, that AT&T is planning to present a plan to the Justice Department in an attempt to salvage its $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S II — Samsung officially announced the coming release of the Galaxy S II phone in the US, reports VentureBeat.  It will be available on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint (under the name Epic 4G Touch) and is slated for release this fall.

Conquer Online[Announcement] NetDragon Websoft Announces Completely Free iPad & Facebook MMOG — Chinese online games developer and operator, NetDragon Websoft has announced that it will be bringing Conquer Online to iPad and Facebook as a free-to-play MMOG. The company states that the game will host no download fee, no subscriptions, and no in-game “Shopping Mall.”

[Launch] EA Releases Free Version of Tetris on Android — EA Mobile has announced the launch of the classic puzzle game of Tetris on Android. Released earlier this week, the game is free-to-play and was actually ranked at #31 on the top free Android apps list yesterday.

[Update] The Marbians Adds 16 Levels for Free — Previously profiled puzzle game, The Marbians, has received a new update making the first 16 levels of the game, for iOS and Android, free-to-play. After level 16, players can purchase the full version in-app.

[Announcement] Sprinkle Hits 100,000 Sale Mark — Swedish mobile games developer Mediocre has announced its first milestone for the newly released mobile game, Sprinkle. The title is stated to have sold over 100,000 copies in less than a week.

Heyzap Launches Personalized Game Recommendations on Android

Heyzap, a platform that helps gamers share and discover apps, launched a Netflix-style recommendation system for Android apps today. It’s another stab at the problem of discovery, where hundreds of thousands of apps compete for a few square inches of shelf space in the packed Android Market and iOS app stores.

In Heyzap’s app, users can check into their favorite games and then the company will use a collaborative filtering algorithm to suggest other games. Heyzap has been shifting away from supporting Flash-based games into mobile over the last few months and its Android app has been installed 1 million times (helped in part by featured placement in the app store). The iOS version, which came three months later, is much smaller.

Heyzap said its iOS and Android SDKs, which let game developers add basic social functionality like the ability to post to Twitter or Facebook or challenge friends, are now in 310 games.

Both the iOS and Android app stores are also getting into personalized recommendations; Apple has Genius, which analyzes a person’s music or app library and then makes suggestions, although it’s unclear how widely this is used. Google also announced personalized recommendations in Android Market in May. Amazon’s app store also has personalized suggestions although the store doesn’t have a lot of reach at this point but that may change with the introduction of its Android-based tablets later this fall.

There are also a number of third-party discovery apps like Appsfire, which just raised $3.6 million, Zwapp, Chomp and Apptitude. Plus, many of the mobile gaming networks like OpenFeint, Scoreloop, ngmoco:) and PapayaMobile allow friends to share what they’re playing with others, even if they don’t have personalized game recommendations. The issue with many of the third-party, standalone discovery apps is that they themselves often have problems being discovered, meaning they never get the scale to drive meaningful installs for other developers.

Heyzap says it is making some revenue by driving downloads for third-party developers. The company’s co-founder Jude Gomila said it’s still really early at this stage though, and Heyzap is mostly focused on user acquisition itself.

“We’ve caused multiple millions of installs on Android already,” he said. “We’re more interested in building scale at the moment.” He said the app’s inventory is currently sold out for months.

Heyzap, which started with Flash gaming as a YCombinator-incubated startup, is moving with the rest of the developer community toward mobile devices. The company has raised $3.65 million from Union Square Ventures and other angel investors including Naval Ravikant, Chris Dixon and Joshua Schachter.

Thursday Mobile Roundup: Upcoming Games, Franchise Expansion, Patents & More

“Developers, Not Carriers, Can Now Make or Break” RIM: This was one of the more revealing lines from an open letter a high-ranking Research in Motion employee supposedly made to management, urging serious changes in the company in order to catch up with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.

EggDrop Tries to Break Into Mobile Classifieds With $1 Million Round: Co-founded by former Google engineer Dan Zheng, the app makes it easy for people to snap a few pictures of things they want to sell with their iPhone or Android device. The parent company EggCartel raised $1 million in seed funding from BlueRun Ventures and SV Angel.

GameloftGameloft Unveils New Game Lineup: Gameloft has announced the list of new titles slated for release in the second half of 2011. In addition to “new” IPs, the company has noted several franchised titles as well. Here is the list: Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Driver San Francisco, Gangstar Rio: City of Saints, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Immortals, Lego Batman: The Mobile Game, Midnight Pool 3, Real Football 2012, Sid Meier’s Civilization V: The Mobile Game, Where’s Wally?, and Wild West Guns.

Angry Birds Strikes Windows Phone: Rovio Mobile is moving onto Windows Phone with its Angry Birds franchise, says Pocket Gamer. However, the game is priced higher than other platforms at £2.49 ($2.99).

Outfit7 Partners With Beanstalk: Outfit7, the mobile developer behind digital talking characters such as Talking Tom Cat, is partnering with licensing agency, Beanstalk, says VentureBeat. Beanstalk will be launching a global licencing program for Outfit7 which will allow them to expand to toys, games, books, and so on for children. Last week, Outfit7 partnered with William Morris Entertainment to begin this expansion.

Google Sites Adds Mobile Support: Google has expanding its Google Sites service — the service that allows users with little technical capability to build a web page with greater ease — to include mobile. Now, users can build mobile landing pages for free, using templates.

AddThisAddThis Optimized for Mobile Apps: AddThis, the social sharing platform from Clearspring Technologies that allows users to share web content across various social feeds, has been enhanced for applications on the iPhone and Android, says TechCrunch, AddThis is optimized specifically for the noted mobile operating systems, and thus noted as easy to implement in apps, while still being capable of being used on mobile web.

[image via TechCrunch]

Two More Android Developers Pay Microsoft Over Patents: Microsoft has entered into yet another agreement with two more Android makers, Velocity Micro and General Dynamics, in which the two will pay undisclosed sums in patent royalties. Curiously, a report from May notes that Microsoft is making five times as much money from Android than its own Windows Phone.

Apple Expected to Offer Free iPhone 3GS with 2-Year Contract: According to AppleInsider, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky expects that the iPhone 3GS will be offered for free, with a two-year mobile contract, when the iPhone 5 launches. The idea behind the offer would be to help Apple compete with mid-market consumers against the growing Android market.

Consumers Spend More Time on Mobile Apps than On Web: A new report from analytics firm Flurry, and reported by Mashable, compares mobile data statistics from both comScore and Alexa and found that in the month of June, users spent more time on mobile apps than on web surfing. Users were noted at spending 81 minutes per day using mobile applications as compared to 75 minutes surfing the web.

Joystick Labs Looks to Seed Gaming Startups With $20,000 A Piece: The Durham, North Carolina-based accelerator will give two to five-person studios $20,000 each in seed capital during a 12-week program.

Mobile Minutes

iPhone Hits its 4th Anniversary: It has been four years since Apple released its first iPhone, and since then, the mobile space has changed dramatically. In order to highlight the evolution of the smartphone, has composed a lovely infographic of iPhone statistics, pricing, downloads, and more. As a quick stat, the iPhone has hosted over 14,000,000,000 downloads.

Heyzap’s Check-In App on iOS Promises New Viral Channels For Mobile Games

Heyzap, a platform that lets gamers share and discover new apps, has brought its game check-in app to the iOS platform after seeing some initial traction on Android.

The app basically detects what games a user has been playing, lets them check into their favorite apps and share them with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Heyzap launched an Android version of this back in March and it’s seen between 500,000 and 1 million installs, according to Android Market’s statistics.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a check-in concept for games. IGN released a check-in app for video games called Dominate last month. Then there are several standalone discovery apps (which don’t necessarily involve check-ins) like Appsfire, which just raised $3.6 million, Zwapp, Chomp and Apptitude. Plus, many of the mobile gaming networks like OpenFeint, Scoreloop, ngmoco:) and PapayaMobile have similar broadcasting abilities, which allow friends to share their favorite games and achievements.

Developers are certainly looking for cheaper and more effective ways to acquire users, but we’ve yet to see a killer third-party discovery solution, both in terms of a product and as a business. If consumers can’t discover the discovery app, it’s hard for these standalone solutions to drive a meaningful number of new users to any developer.

On top of that, because Apple retains control over payment processing on iOS, even if an app like Heyzap acquired millions of users, it might be difficult for them to earn revenue through their gaming network. While early to the space, OpenFeint had similar issues. When it was bought by GREE for $104 million, it had just $282,500 in revenues and posted a net loss of $6.6 million last year.

There may be more revenue opportunities for a third-party mobile gaming network on Android because of its open nature and the fact that there are several app stores. DCM-backed PapayaMobile is making a bet on this with its Android mobile gaming network. But, of course, Android is still far away from monetizing at the level that iOS does for developers — and the two may never reach parity on a per user basis.

Heyzap, which started with Flash gaming as a YCombinator-incubated startup, is moving with the rest of the developer community toward mobile devices. The company has raised $3.65 million from Union Square Ventures and other angel investors including Naval Ravikant, Chris Dixon and Joshua Schachter.

Thursday Mobile Roundup: Gameloft, TapLynx Acquisition, Malware, & More

Push IO Buys Mobile App Framework TapLynx From NewsGator: The startup, which says it helps developers manage their push notifications and in-app purchases, says it bought TapLynx for an undisclosed amount. The newly-acquired company lets users without programming experience create iPhone and iPad apps.

Order & ChaosGameloft’s MMOG Order & Chaos Hits $1 Million — The World of Warcraft-style iOS MMOG from Gameloft, Order & Chaos Online, has reached a new milestone this week. The company recently announced that the game has made $1 million in its first 20 days. The app runs $6.99 and also monetizes through subscription and virtual currency models.

Mixcloud Comes to iPhone — Mixcloud, a London-based startup that connects users to an on-demand library of radio (radio shows, podcasts, DJ mix sets – all referred to as “Cloudcasts”), has brought its service to iPhone. Currently a free beta version, users can now access Mixcloud’s collection of Cloudcasts at any time.

Angry Birds Coming to Television Via Roku — Roku, creator of streaming video television boxes, has announced a new partnership with Rovio Mobile. Through the pairing, the company will bring Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio to one of their web-streaming content Channels where users will not only be able to play the games, but view animated shorts, and buy Angry Birds merchandise.

PrototypeECS & ICE Computer Display iPhone 4/Tablet Hybrid — ASUS announced its Padfone at Computex Monday which allows users to dock an Android device to a tablet in order to make it work like one, but shortly thereafter, ECS and ICE Computer also displayed a similar prototype with the iPhone 4. According Gotta Be Mobile, it creates, essetinally, an iPad. The curent price for this unnamed prototype is noted that it will be $200, though a launch date is unknown.

[image via Gotta Be Mobile]

Android 3.1 Available for ASUS Eee Pad Transformer — Owners of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablet have good news today, as the Android 3.1 OS update is now available for the device across the United States.

HTC Sensation 4G Coming to T-Mobile — According to Mashable, the Android 2.3 smartphone, the HTC Sensation 4G will becoming to T-Mobile, exclusively, no later than June 15th. The device will run users $199 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year service agreement.

PortalariumPortalarium Raises New Funding — Richard Garriott’s new social gaming company, Portalarium, has raised a new round of funding to be used to further their development of social and mobile games. Though the amount raised remains undisclosed, the round was led by m8 Capital with the San Francisco-based Founders Fund.

Apple Pre-Announces WWDC Keynote Address — Apple has pre-announced its lineup of announcements at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. Amongst the highlights will be the unveiling of the Lion Mac OS X, iOS 5, and iCloud. The keynote address is Monday, June 6, and will be kicked off by CEO Steve Jobs and other Apple executives.

Malware Spreads Over Android Devices — The Android Market has been hit with another wave of malware-infected apps with over 34 “suspicious applications” being removed or suspended over the past four days. In reports from F-Secure and AVG, most were containing a variant of the DroidDream trojan, with an estimated 15,000 Android devices infected. Additionally, The Register is noting further malware distribution via a malicious link for a fake Android security update.

34% of U.S. Users Use Mobile Devices for Music — According to, a new report from market intelligence firm Parks Associates shows that music usage on mobile devices is growing significantly. In 2010, 34 percent of U.S. broadband users were using their mobile handset as a music player. This number was noted as 9 percent back in 2007.

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