FiftyThree’s “Surface Pressure” pencil brings back the joy of drawing to iOS 8 devices

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Drawing with a digital stylus can hardly replicate real pencil tips, but artists and pencil lovers might find the new technology behind FiftyThree’s Bluetooth Pencil as close to the real thing as digitally possible. All you have to do is angle the stylus and line thickness is matched. It’s like using a real drawing tip, but with a digital stylus, which typically does not register 3-dimensional pressure:

Pencil’s tapered tip was inspired by the expressive richness of real pencil points, which allow creators to change the character of the line with the angle of the tip. With Surface Pressure you’ll be able to control the lines you create based on how much of Pencil’s tip or eraser is in contact with your iPad. Use the point for fine details or the angled edge for broad strokes. Surface Pressure unlocks new capabilities for each of Paper‘s tools—fill faster as you draw, shade as you sketch, or carve away in varying widths as you erase.

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Play PC games on your Win8 tablet with TouchFox and Green Man Gaming

Owners of Windows 8 tablets may feel left out of the loop when it comes to the multitude of games released on Android and iOS devices, but Overwolf’s TouchFox controller overlays give them something the others don’t have: the ability to play complete PC games on their tablets.

Previously available in beta, TouchFox is officially launching for Windows 8 tablet owners, alongside a partnership with Green Man Gaming, allowing users to purchase individual controller overlays for their favorite (supported) games.

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Starbucks providing nationwide wireless charging for phones

starbucks

Starbucks announced that the company will eventually install Powermat wireless charging mats in all of its coffee and tea houses. Starbucks will begin the roll-out with San Francisco locations, including Teavana locations. Boston Starbucks customers have already been exposed to the products’ initial trial.

“From WiFi and the in-store Starbucks Digital Network to mobile payment and digital music downloads, we have always tried to anticipate our customers’ needs early in the adoption curve and provide a world-class solution. (more…)

Juniper Research: Shipments of hybrid “phablets” will reach 120 million by 2018

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Sales of “phablets” are on the rise, according to research firm Juniper Research, whose latest report studies the market for these smartphone and tablet hybrids, with screen sizes of at least 5.6 inches. While 20 million of these devices were reportedly sold through 2013, Juniper predicts over 120 million units will be shipped by 2018.

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CES 2014: Mobile tech and apps from the Consumer Electronics Show

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Each year, Las Vegas plays host to the Consumer Electronics Show, where the biggest and newest trends in technology are shown off to eager attendees from around the world. Can’t make it to the show this year? That’s alright, as we’ve got a look at some of the newest tech and apps being shown at the convention this year.

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Adroit Digital: 55% of consumers would consider replacing PC with tablet

Image via Adroit Digital

Image via Adroit Digital

Advertising company Adroit Digital has released the results of its latest survey, aimed at measuring tablet usage and how those tablets are changing the way content is consumed. With tablet usage on the rise, the study found 55 percent of consumers would consider replacing their traditional PC with a tablet.

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Google I/O: Here’s how to make money on Google Play; IAP revenues up 700 percent Y-o-Y

android-logo-250-250At a Google I/O session today covering monetization in Google Play, Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, Google Play product manager for commerce and monetization, revealed that in-app revenues increased 700 percent year-over-year from May 2012 to April 2013.

Elbouchikhi also says since launching the ability to monetize through subscriptions a year ago, revenue has doubled each quarter. He notes internet radio service Pandora as a perfect example of a top grossing app which monetizes its users via a subscription model.

Android for tablets is starting to show some growth now, Elbouchikhi reveals. In the past 12 months, Google was seeing a 1.7 times higher purchase rate of apps on tablets compared to apps on smartphones. “The additional cost of optimizing your apps for tablets is well worthwhile,” he says. Additionally, there’s a 2.2 times higher purchase rate on recent platform versions compared to prior ones. “Take advantage of the latest features, whether its Google+ sign-in or all the latest APIs released at I/O this week.” On top of all this growth, average revenue per user (ARPU) is 2.5 times greater year-over-year.

Below is a chart, showing that higher-rated apps in Google Play monetize better:App ratings monetization

Google hasn’t been slowing down at all when it comes to adding and optimizing forms of payment. In July 2012, Google introduced the Google Play gift cards at retail. Google also launched promotional campaigns for Google Play credit by partnering with pre-paid phone providers, offering a $50 Google Play credit if a user purchases a particular pre-paid phone, for example. Carrier billing, one of the most lucrative forms of monetization in various parts of the world, is now available to 50 percent of Google Play’s daily active users. Google also optimized the purchase flow, making it more contextual, faster and simpler. According to Elbouchikhi, Google has dropped latency by 35 percent when users make purchases. Looking forward, Elbouchikhi says Google will invest more in expanding Google Play gift cards to more markets as well as carrier billing. (more…)

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.

Ludei adds 3D support to its HTML5 platform

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HTML5 platform provider Ludei today announced it’s adding 3D support to its game development platform, allowing developers to deliver WebGL 3D games to most smartphones and tablets.

Ludei’s platform will support 3D games using the open WebGL standard, a JavaScript API and the browser equivalent of OpenGL, used in triple-A console and PC games.

“Our 3D rendering allows today’s most popular mobile devices to run a 3D HTML5 game with the same great user experience and performance that native gamers are used to.” Ludei CEO Eneko Knorr said.

Developers can use Ludei’s technology to deliver their 3D titles cross-platform to Google Play, the Apple App Store and more. Developers interested in using Ludei’s new 3D technology can get started here.

Ludei is showing off its new product at GDC 2013 in San Francisco. We’ll have more on it on Wednesday when the show floor opens.

We last heard from Ludei when it announced the Ludei Cloud Compiler, which allows developers to build games and web apps as HTML5-based projects and then turn them into native apps that can be easily distributed to the Apple App Store and Google Play.

GDC survey of developers finds interest in mobile greater than consoles

GDC

The Game Developers Conference polled more than 2,500 people who attended last year’s conference, finding that more of the respondents are developing for smartphones and tablets than for any other platform.

38 percent of developers surveyed released their last game on smartphones and tablets, and 55 percent are developing their current games for these platforms. 58 percent plan to release their next games on these platforms.

PC and Mac were next on the list, with 34.6 percent of developers releasing their last games on these platforms, 48 percent developing their current games for the platforms, and 49 percent planning their next games for PC or Mac.

When asked about what currently released or upcoming platforms they’re interested in developing for in the future, developers also favored the mobile devices. 58 percent expressed interest in tablets and 56 percent expressed interest in smartphones. Android home consoles, like the OUYA and GameStick, are also high up the interest curve at 37 percent.

Perhaps most telling of the games industry’s shift to the tablet and smartphone space is the declining interest in home consoles and dedicated gaming handhelds.

For example, of the the three major home consoles, most developers are currently developing for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, but these still amount to only 13.2 percent of developers surveyed. Among handhelds, most developers are currently making games for Sony’s PlayStation Vita, but these accounted for only 4.2 percent of developers surveyed.

GDC will conduct a similar survey at the upcoming GDC 2013.

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