Vivino Surpasses Six Million Users, Unveils ‘My Taste Profile’

Popular wine app Vivino has crossed the six million user mark, and is celebrating this new milestone with the release of new features for its growing number of users. To put its growth into perspective, the Vivino app surpassed three million users at the beginning of January 2014. Over five million wines are now available in the app’s database.

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Messaging App comiXchat Turns Your Conversations into Comics

Nubis’ messaging app comiXchat (pronounced Comics Chat) has launched today at New York Comic Con. The app is available on iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, and combines comic books with text messaging, as users are drawn into comic book scenes as they chat with their friends. The comiXchat app allows users to choose from a variety of standard avatars, and then animates these based on the tone and “attitude” of the text conversation between users.

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Tabby Awards /Business Announce 2014 Finalists

Tabby AwardsThe Tabby Awards /Business has announced its list of Finalists for the best business and enterprise tablet apps for 2014. This year, the international panel of 20 independent judges was chaired by Billion Dollar Apps author Alex Bratton. The panel reviewed entries from a dozen countries, and selected the very best business apps for Android, iPad and Windows tablets.

Here’s the full list of Finalists, by platform and category:

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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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Report: Apple’s iPads led tablet sales in 2013

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According to new data from The NPD Group, Apple’s iPads continued to lead the pack in tablet sales through 2013, accounting for 15.8 percent of all personal computing device sales in the US from January to November 2013. iPad sales actually decreased from last year’s figure, while Android and Windows tablet sales grew.

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Rockstar Games announces Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for mobile

Image via Rockstar Games

Image via Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games has announced the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on mobile devices. The massive sandbox game has been remastered for a mobile release, complete with touch controls and improved graphics.

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Microsoft Office hits iPhone, limited to Office 365 subscribers

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Microsoft has quietly released an Office application for iPhone. Though it is available to download for free, Microsoft requires users to be subscribers of Office 365 to actually use the application.

The application comes with Word, Excel and Powerpoint, making the documents usable on iPhone. It also supports cross-platform symmetry with cloud sharing, SkyDrive. Users can easily access recently opened documents on desktop on mobile and vice versa.

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Mobile app news roundup: Nexus 7 sales, iOS Maps patents and games for Windows Phone 8

Nexus 7 sales near 1 million a month – Asus has revealed that it is selling nearly 1 million Nexus 7 Android tablets a month. Reported first by the Wall Street Journal, Asus revealed the information in its third quarter earnings call, reporting sales have grown steadily, climbing from about 500,000 units a month at launch.

Apple patents iOS maps interface — Apple has been awarded a patent for the graphical user interface (GUI) for the iOS Maps app according to Apple Insider. U.S. Patent No. 8,302,033 is for a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for providing maps, directions, and location-based information.”

Gameloft supports Nexus 10, Windows Phone 8 — Gameloft has wasted no time in preparing apps to run on Google’s brand-new Nexus 10 tablet and Microsoft’s line of Windows 8 smartphones. The company announced this week that 10 of its games were compatible with the the Nexus 10:

  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Amazing Spiderman
  • Monster Life
  • The Oregon Trail American Settlers
  • N.O.V.A. 3 : Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
  • Dungeon Hunter 3
  • Kingdoms and Lords
  • Asphalt 7 : Heat
  • Ice Age Village
  • Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation

Meanwhile the company announced it would be bringing the following 12 titles to Windows Phone 8 devices:

  • Ice Age Village
  • N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
  • Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour
  • Shark Dash
  • Asphalt 7: Heat
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • UNO™ & Friends
  • Order & Chaos Online
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Fashion Icon
  • Poker for Prizes
  • Real Soccer 2013

Playfirst expands to Android – Playfirst has made the jump to Android, bringing its popular Diner Dash franchise to the Kindle Fire.

Punchbox makes bank with Fishing Joy – Chinese developer Punchbox is earning more than $420,000 a month in China from its ultra-popular game Fishing Joy reports Pocket Gamer.

40,000 new users per day for Pulse — Newreader app Pulse is signing up 40,000 new readers a day, reports VentureBeat. Between them, the app’s userbase reads over 10 million news stories a day.

Fortumo Launches in-app payments for Windows 8 – Mobile payments company Fortumo now supports Windows 8, allowing developers to add mobile payments to apps running on Microsoft Surface tablets. The service is available in more than 80 countries.

Millennial Media and AppStori partner — Millennial Media has partnered with app-exclusive crowdfunding service AppStori. Eligible project will receive $500 in cash funding from Millennial and a $500 advertising credit.

[Launch] Gameloft debuts World at Arms — Gameloft’s latest title is military strategy game World at Arms. The free-to-play mid-core title challenges players to construct a military base, allying with friends to battle the evil KRA.

[Funding] It’sOn nets $15.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz — Stealth mobile data startup It’sOn has raised another $15.5 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and others reports VentureBeat. The company, which has raised a total of $24.4 million in venture capital plans to improve wireless data access.

Nokia launches Inneractive-powered NAX mobile ad exchange

Nokia and mobile app monetization exchange Inneractive have joined forces to launch a  new mobile monetization platform called the Nokia Ad Exchange, or NAX for short.

Announced today at the Microsoft Build developer conference, NAX is essentially a white-labeled version of Inneractive’s platform, launched under the company’s private exchange line of services. Other companies that have created their own private exchanges with Inneractive include StackMob, Unity and Corona Labs.

NAX is cross-platform, and supports Windows 8, Android, iOS and Blackberry. The service will allow developers to to buy and sell advertising inventory through mechanisms such as real-time bidding and hybrid mediation. NAX will also have access to Inneractive’s stable of 120 mobile ad networks including InMobi, Adfonic and Amobee.

“With the launch of NAX, Nokia will enable developers to simply and effectively monetize their apps, as part of our continued focus on supporting the developers ROI to build successful businesses” said Richard Kerris, VP & Head of Global Developer Relations, Nokia in a statement.

The move is an interesting one, given that Nokia is primarily known for manufacturing mobile phones, rather than providing the services developers use on its hardware. However, with the company’s market share dipping and Microsoft partnering with other manufacturers to create Windows 8 smartphones, it makes sense for Nokia to diversify its product offerings and keep itself open to other platforms.

Using Inneractive’s technology also means Nokia can use its new ad exchange to help foster the Windows 8 app ecosystem, explains Inneractive’s co-founder and president Offer Yehudai.

“I think Nokia made a very interesting move when they opened the Nokia Ad Exchange to all platforms. I think it’s a very open minded plan,” he says. “Developers can use the Nokia Ad Exchange on any platform, and they can take ad revenue from one platform and use it to promote their apps on different platforms. If you have an Android app you can use that ad revenue in the exchange and use it to promote your Windows Phone application and vice-versa.”

Considering that iOS and Android both now have more than 700,000 available apps compared to the 100,000 currently available on Windows Phone,  it’s easy to see why Nokia would be interested in a solution that could be used to bolster the ecosystem the company is betting its handset business on.

Inneractive is backed by $8.5 million in venture funding from Evergreen Venture Partners and private investrors such as Andy Fruchter and Ehud Hillman. The company closed a $3.5 million round of Series B funding in August.

Mobile app news roundup: OMGPOP, Windows 8 devices and Apcelerator

OMGPOP costs Zynga $85 to $90 million — Zynga may have overpaid for Draw Something developer OMG. The company revealed yesterday it will write down between $85 to $90 million of its initial $180 million purchase price. As The Next Web points out, that’s almost $500,000 a day in losses since Zynga announced the acquisition on March 21.

More Windows 8 devices arriving soon — With the imminent release of the Windows 8 OS, more details are emerging about mobile devices running the OS. According to AT&T, Nokia’s Windows 8-based Lumia 920 and 820 will be available in November. Microsoft has also begun inviting the press to an Oct. 26 midnight launch party for its Surface line of tablets.

Treater debuts mobile apps — Gift giving service Treater has made the jump to mobile with native iOS and Android apps. The service allows its users to instantly send real-life gifts such as spa visits or even a round of drinks at a bar. Gifts bought through the service are delivered as virtual gift cards through email, SMS or Facebook posts.

Appcelerator launches Innovation Fund — Mobile app development platform provider Appcelerator has created the Appcelerator Innovation Fund to help startups building apps on its platform, reports TechCrunch.

Amazon Appstore opens doors to Japan – The Amazon Appstore is now allowing developers to submit their apps for distribution in Japan when the service launches in that country later this year.

Pocket Change integrates with GameMaker: Studio – Universal loyalty currency provider Pocket Change has partnered with YoYo Games to have its product directly integrated into YoYo’s GameMaker: Studio.

We Heart Pics wins Facebook hack award – Mobile photo sharing app We Heart Pic was named a winner at the Oct. 1 Facebook developers hack in Moscow. The app received first prize in the Best Mobile Application category. The company plans to integrate the new functionality it created at the hack into its app soon.

Kiip coming to Passbook — Real-life rewards network Kiip will soon be integrated directly into iOS 6’ Passbook. Consumers will be able to redeem coupons for Kiip rewards directly from notifications, emails and Kiip’s app.

[RUMOR] iPad mini in production — Apple has already started production on a 7.85 inch “iPad Mini”, according to the Wall Street Journal.

[Funding] Contacts+ raises $1 million seed round — Contact aggregator Contacts+ has raised $1 million in seed funding, reports TechCrunch. The funding comes from TriplePoint Ventures, Tencent, TMT Ventures and others.

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