Animoca releases data on the most popular Android handsets in Germany, France and the U.K.

Animoca logoMobile game developer and publisher Animoca today released more region-specific data pertaining to the Android handset market share. The Android-focused game studio’s latest report broke down the Android smartphone market share in three leading European countries — Germany, France and the U.K.

Starting with trends Animoca saw in all three countries, Samsung occupied more than half of the top 10 spots in the U.K., France and Germany. A similar pattern was surfaced by Animoca in its previous reports for Hong Kong and India, Singapore and the U.S. — although Samsung’s share wasn’t quite as dominant in the U.S.

The South Korean-headquartered Samsung’s Galaxy S2 and S3, its leading line of smartphone devices, were at the top No. 1 and No. 2 spots in all three countries. In Animoca’s other reports, only India and Japan didn’t show the same amount of dominance for Samsung devices that was seen in other regions. In India, low-end devices were more popular, while in Japan, Samsung didn’t occupy at least half of the top 10 positions.Animoca UK

Sony’s Xperia series of handsets were the second most popular Android smartphones in the three key European markets. The mid-range Xperia U, which was launched around the globe in May 2012, was the only Sony device to appear in the top 10 of all three countries, making Sony the only OEM besides Samsung to chart in the top 10 in Germany, France and the U.K.

Lastly, the only other smartphone OEMs that appeared in the top 10 were HTC in the U.K. and Germany, and LG in France.

Data for this report was collected from individual Google Play users of Animoca games located in the specified European country, and who played an Animoca title between March 9 and April 8. (more…)

Mobile App Roundup: The Rise of Android, Halfbrick Targets China and More

Survey Finds iOS is Only Profitable for a Minority of Developers — According to a survey conducted by independent Canadian developer Streaming Colour Studios, 20% of iOS developers take home 97% of all revenue generated on the platform. This isn’t really surprising given the economics of most gaming markets. However, keep in mind that the survey probably excludes responses of the highest-grossing developers who may be venture-backed and can’t disclose sensitive information like monthly revenues. In terms of lifetime revenue, while 25% of iOS developers have seen more than $30,000 from their apps, the money is very concentrated – the top 1% of developers currently account for 30% of all revenue generated by the App store.

Microsoft’s Mango Arrives, Brings Extras — The highly anticipated OS update Windows Phone 7.5 – aka Mango, began a gradual roll-out this week. The updated included a variety of new features that were previously announced, and two that weren’t – the ability to tether internet from a WP7 device to up to five other devices and a web-based marketplace that allows users to browse apps on a computer and remotely install them on a WP7 phone.

Android Phones now Twice as Popular as iPhones, But iPhone 5 is Hotly Anticipated —
The competition between Android and iOS continues to heat up, making BlackBerry and Windows Phones look increasingly like also-rans in the smartphone market. According to a new report from Nielsen, over the last three months more than half of smartphone buyers have chosen Android, rather than iOS. The numbers broke down to 56% Android, 28% iPhone, 9% BlackBerry and 6% other (including Windows Phone 7). However, as TechCrunch notes, with a new iPhone imminent, the numbers could be inaccurate. That conclusion seems to be backed up by the results of a study conducted by InMobi that found up to 41% of mobile consumers may purchase an iPhone 5. RIM fared particularly badly in the survey; up to 52% of BlackBerry users in North America are considering switching to the iPhone 5.

Gameloft Offerings Coming to Mysterious Sony Tablets — French developer Gameloft has signed a deal to bring optimized ports of some of their most popular games to an upcoming Sony tablet line.  Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD, Real Soccer 2011 HD, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem HD, and Green Farm HD will all be directly accessible on devices referred to as “Sony Tablet P” and “Sony Tablet S” by in a press release quoting Gameloft’s senior vice president of publishing, Gonzague de Vallois.

Microsoft & Samsung Reach Android Patent Detente — Microsoft and Samsung have agreed to halt legal battles over the use of Microsoft’s patents in Samsung’s Android devices. Under the terms of the new agreement, Samsung will now pay Microsoft a royalty fee for every Android phone and tablet it produces. Microsoft has also set up deals with HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, Velocity Micro and Winstron to license its portfolio of patents. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates that Microsoft will earn about $444 million in licensing revenue from such deals.

[Rumor] Ice Cream Sandwich to Debut on October 11th? — Samsung has announced a press event for October 11th, and industry watchers are betting that the event will see the unveiling of Samsung’s new Nexus Prime smartphone and the next Android OS update, Ice Cream SandwichVideo and photos of Ice Cream Sandwich have already leaked online, hinting that the update will bring interface improvements for notifications and the camera, as well as a slightly redesigned color scheme.

Halfbrick Wants 70 million More Chinese Downloads in Six Months — Fruit Ninja is already a big success for its developer Halfbrick; the game has been downloaded more than 66 million times and has been ported from iOS to Android, Windows Phone 7 and even Kinect, but the Australian developer is looking to China for continued growth. According to Halfbrick’s CEO Shainiel Deo, almost of third of Fruit Ninja’s downloads have come from Chinese users. In a speech at Beijing’s Mobitalk conference, Deo revealed that Halfbrick has formed a partnership with Chinese developer iDreamSky to develop free, localized versions of the game to combat piracy and allow Halfbrick to make money from in game ads and micro transactions.

Aquaria Coming to iPad — Indie developer Bit Blot is bringing its highly regarded game Aquaria to the iPad. The game, originally released in 2007 for PC, Aquaria is a 2-D action and adventure game set in a mysterious underwater world. The game was highly praised upon its release for its non-linear gameplay and impressive atmosphere, and won the grand prize at the Independent Games Festival in 2007.

Lara Croft is Coming to Android, But Only on the Xperia PLAY — Hit mobile game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is coming to Android in November, but there’s a catch – only on the Xperia PLAY. This week Sony Ericsson announced a partnership with Square Enix that will see several of the developer’s hits come to the Xperia PLAY in the coming months.

Foursquare Revamps Home Checkins to Keep Users Safer — While nobody would ever say they don’t have any concern for their own privacy, according to Foursquare, a significant portion of its users love that they have the ability to check into their own homes. To address the demand, but to improve privacy and safety, the location based service announced that as of September 29th:

  • Only the person who creates a ‘home’ and their friends can see the address on the venue page.
  • On a home’s venue page, only those same people can see the map pin. Everyone else will see a map randomly centered somewhere near the address, with the zoom pulled out a bit.
  • The same rules apply to links shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Users can now also report locations as a home, setting them to be listed as private venues or removing them from the service all together. More details can be found on the Fourquare blog.

[Launch] Minecraft Now Available for More Android Devices — Minecraft, the mega-hit open-world exploration and crafting game from Swedish developer Mojang was released into the open Android market this week, much to the delight of the Android community.  Minecraft Pocket Edition was originally an exclusive title on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia PLAY. According to a video Mojang’s YouTube account, an iOS version of the game is also in development.

[Launch] Firebrand Branch Crawfish Games Tries Social and Mobile with Cutesy and Creepy — New studio Crawfish Games has finished setting up shop and is releasing its first two games, Cutesy and Creepy for iOS. Cutesy is available now and Creepy will be released on October 5th.  The games are targeted specifically at children 5 or older. By solving puzzles, players will be able to collect and share stickers with their friends. Crawfish games was founded as a way for parent company Firebrand Games (a UK developer who specializes in racing games for Nintendo consoles) to expand into the mobile, casual and online game marketplaces.

[Launch] Q&A Service Quora Releases iPhone App — Popular question-and-answer service Quora released a free iOS app this week for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. The new app lets users to search for nearby queries, receive push notifications, and “shuffle” questions.

[Launch] Yahoo Unveils Free Flickr App for Android — Flickr users with Android phones finally have access to an official app. The new app allows users to browse albums, take photos, share them, and apply image editing and effects and filters, a direct challenge to services like Instagram and Hipstamatic that have seen their growth from mobile applications. Unlike on iOS, where Instagram has been one of the top 10 downloaded applications in the last year, Android is open territory given that PicPlz forfeited the camera space a few months ago. According to its page on the Android Market, the free app is already doing well seeing more than 50,000 downloads since its launch. Flickr has had an official iPhone app since 2009.

PopCap’s Games to Come Pre-Installed on Sony Ericsson Xperia Devices

Another of the biggest mobile game developers, PopCap Games, has proven it has the clout to get a deal with a device maker.

The gaming company, which agreed to be acquired by EA in a deal worth up to $1.3 billion and makes Bejeweled Blitz and Plants Vs. Zombies, will start having its titles come pre-installed on Sony Ericsson Android devices starting this summer.

The agreement comes at a time when many Android handset makers are trying to stand out amid a tidal wave of devices. And app developers that have created standout brands like PopCap or Angry Birds-maker Rovio promise to help differentiate their phones. Carriers are also doing similar deal with game-makers; AT&T recently signed one with Zynga to create a special shelf within Android Market featuring exclusive content.

In the PopCap-Sony Ericsson deal, Peggle, Chuzzle and Plants vs. Zombies will come embedded on Xperia phones. Consumers who buy the phones will get the full version of Chuzzle, while they’ll get Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies in unlimited trial mode. They’ll have the option of buying the full version.

Friday Mobile Roundup: Spending, Acquisitions, Milestones & More

In-Game Spending Comprises 40% of Revenues for Free iPhone Games: This Distimo and Newzoo study found that not only are 5 million games downloaded a day, 88 percent of the top 300 games are free.

Qualcomm Releases Augmented Reality SDK Support on iOS: Although the chipset maker doesn’t contribute hardware to the iPhone, it’s making iOS support available for its recently released Augmented Reality SDK to attract more developers.

Angry Birds Surpasses 200 Million Downloads — Rovio Mobile’s top title, Angry Birds, has reached a new milestone. At the Next 11 conference, Peter Vesterbacka announced that the game has topped the 200 million download mark.

Final Fantasy Tactics iOS Release Announced– Square Enix has been releasing several Final Fantasy titles for the iOS lately, and has finally announced the release date of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions on iPhone. The date is noted to be between late June and mid-July. The title is also stated to be released for iPad shortly after.

FriskiesFriskies Releases Tablet Games for Cats — There’s an app for everything nowadays, and cat food maker Friskies is adding to that variety with a new trio of iPad and Android tablet games made specifically for cats. The games consist of Tasty Treasures, Party Mix-Up, and Cat Fishing that have colorful objects, food, or fish, for the cat to try and catch (like a laser pointer).

BilltoMobile Expands to International Market — Mobile payments firm, BilltoMobile is going global this week as it has announced that its service is to be expanded to over 200 carriers in 60 different countries. This global launch is scheduled for next month.

Xperia Play Comes to Verizon — Sony Ericsson stated, earlier this week, that its “PlayStation smartphone,” the Xperia Play, would be coming to Verizon Wireless, says VentureBeat. The device costs $199 with a two year service agreement and is available in stores May 26th.

Skiller Releases Social & Multiplayer SDK for Developers — Israel-based social-mobile gaming platform Skiller has announced the release of its Android SDK this week. With the platform, developers are able to incorporate social features as well as competitive multiplyaer, such as tournaments.

ModuGoogle Acquires Modu Patents for $4.9 Million — Modu was an Israli cell phone maker that went under a few years ago because it couldn’t find a market for its extrodinarily tiny, modular, mobile phones. Nevertheless, according to BGR, Google has purchased the patent portfolio of the company for $4.9 million.

[image via TechCrunch]

Ngmoco Acquires Rough Cookie — According to TechCrunch, social-mobile games developer ngmoco has acquired its long running game development partner, Rough Cookie. The purchase is intended to help ngmoco’s European presence, and though it was an all-cash deal, the specific terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Vuclip Raises $8 Million — In funding news, mobile video search engine Vuclip has raised $8 million in Series C funding. The round was led by NEA and Jafco Ventures. Similar in respect to YouTube, the mobile video service is most popular in markets such as India or Malaysia.

FuseiOS Game Publisher Fuse Powered Gets $2 Million From Blackberry Partners Funds, NFQ – iOS game publisher Fuse Powered has recently announced the raising of $2 million in a seed round led by BlackBerry Partners Fund and NFQ Ventures. The company also provides real-time application analytics, which is their primary focus at this time.

PlayBook Outsells Motorola Xoom — RIM’s new BlackBerry PlayBook is apparently doing well. According to BGR, it has sold 250,000 units in its first month. This is ahead of Motorola’s Xoom tablet, which took twice as long to sell that amount.

MasterCard Survey Highlights Younger Users as Primary Users of Mobile Payments — In a survey conducted by MasterCard, 63% mobile phone users between the ages of 18-34 are more at easy with mobile payments versus 37% of those 35 or older. In fact, 65% of the younger age group would prefer to have their phone over their wallets.

Sony Ericsson Gets a Branded App Channel in Android Market

Sony Ericsson has created its own branded channel within Google’s Android Market to promote apps that work especially well with its phones. The handset maker’s move that comes at a time when Google is trying to balance the platform’s openness with potential fragmentation as partners like Verizon put force behind their own Android app stores.

With the new channel, the “My Apps” option in Google’s Android Market will get replaced with a link to a special list of apps that either Sony Ericsson has created or that developer partners have built to work seamlessly with the device manufacturer’s phones. The channel’s not available on all Sony Ericsson phones as it’s dependent on carrier approval.

Like other Android manufacturers, Sony Ericsson is looking for a way to stand out and not become commoditized alongside rivals like LG, Samsung and HTC. The company has been moving more of its technical leadership to Silicon Valley away from Sweden as iOS, made by Cupertino-based Apple, and Android, from Mountain View-based Google have emerged as the two major smartphone platforms for developers.

The company’s also launching the channel at a sensitive time when Verizon and Amazon’s app stores may begin to challenge Google’s official Market and potentially create confusion among consumers about where to go to get Android apps. It also creates headaches for developers, who now have to deal with yet another level of fragmentation on top of making their apps compatible with a myriad number of devices.

While Sony Ericsson is the first device maker to do a branded channel, carriers like Verizon have done this before, so it’s not an entirely new feature in the Android Market for Google’s partners.


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