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.

Flurry reports Windows Phone grew by 521% year-over-year as Microsoft gains steam on mobile

Project starts for Windows Phone applications among developers using Flurry analytics have increased by 600 percent over the past 12 months. The mobile analytics company is the newest voice suggesting that Microsoft’s platform may be emerging as a viable third option for mobile developers.

According Flurry’s blog post, Windows Phone project starts — defined as setting up an app for analytics tracking before its official launch — currently account for six percent of all new projects the company records. Year-over-year Window Phone apps have gone from accounting for just one percent of Flurry’s starts to four percent — a noticeable increase, but still far behind behind iOS which accounts for 67 percent of all Flurry project starts and Android, which accounts for 28 percent.

What is more telling, according to Flurry is the rate at which iOS, Android and Windows Phone appear to be growing year-over-year. According to the analytics company, Windows Phone has recorded the largest year-over-year growth rate per platform, registering a 521 percent increase. Android takes second place, recording an 82 percent growth rate, with iOS recording a growth rate of 66 percent.

We’ve seen several green shoots this year indicating Microsoft has been turning around the fortunes of its long-beleaguered Windows Phone platform. In January Nokia reported it had sold over 1 million Lumia phones, and analysts have reported steady, if not outstanding sales since. In April Distimo reported the Windows Phone Marketplace was the fastest growing app store, recording the largest quarter-over-quarter growth of any mobile app vendor. Even more tellingly earlier this month ComScore reported Windows Phone had increased its share of mobile subscribers, growing from 3.9 percent of the market to 4 percent — a modest gain, but one that came after several months of declines.

While Windows Phone is still a minority player in the mobile app market, it is becoming increasingly apparent Windows is increasing the platform’s support, both with developers and customers. We’ll continue to monitor Microsoft’s progress carefully.

Mobile app news roundup: DeNA, GREE and Zynga

New MMA directors — The Mobile Marketing Association has announced its new 13 member board of directors. The elected directors will serve a two year term. They are:

  • Jonathan Carson , CEO of Digital, Nielsen
  • Carolyn Everson , VP Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook
  • Louis Gump , VP Mobile, CNN
  • Jack Haber , VP Global Advertising & Digital, Colgate-Palmolive
  • Tobin Ireland , Group Director of Commercial Development, Vodafone
  • Barry Judge , Former Chief Marketing Officer, Best Buy
  • Joe Kennedy , CEO & President, Pandora Media, Inc.
  • Thomas Labarthe , VP Mobile Commerce, Alcatel-Lucent
  • Neal Mohan , VP Product Management, Google
  • Alex Moukas , CEO, Velti
  • Rob Norman , CEO, GroupM
  • Jack Philbin , Co-Founder, President, & CEO, Vibes
  • Emre Sayin , Chief Consumer Business Unit Officer, Turkcell

DeNA teams with Renren — DeNA has signed a deal with Chinese social networking platform Renren to bring mobile games from DeNA’s Mobage network to Renren’s mobile app. Under the terms of the deal the games will be found in a dedicated section of the app.

GREE buys Korea’s Paprika Lab — GREE has bought Korean mobile-social developer Paprika Lab, reports The Next Web. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zynga buys console dev Buzz Monkey – TechCrunch is reporting that Zynga’s latest acquisition is Buzz Monkey, an Oregon-based developer that worked on Zynga’s game Pioneer Trail.  Several Buzz Monkey employees have already begun changing their job descriptions on LinkedIn. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Windows Marketplace passes 100,000 apps — More than 100, 000 apps have been published to the Windows Marketplace according to All About Windows Phone. Of the 100,000 published, 88,371 of those are still available.

Google’s mobile maps will now work offline — Mobile users will soon be able to cache Google Maps on their phones, allowing them to be viewed in offline mode, reports TechCrunch.

DFC: Mobile will account for a quarter of video game revenue by 2017 — Research firm DFC intelligence is predicting mobile devices will account for 25 percent of all video game revenue by 2017. According to DFC, PCs will account for 39 percent of revenue and consoles 36 percent.

PayAnywhere comes to Android — Mobile POS company PayAnywhere has added two new Android SDKs to its library. The company’s credit card transaction services can now be integrated into any Android app.

Millennial Media ads now for Windows Phone apps — Mobile ad network Millennial Media has released a Windows Phone version of its SDK.

8 million copies of Camera+ — Developer TapTapTap is reporting its popular photo editing app Camera+ has sold 8 million copies in two years.

Thumb updates to version 3.0 with visual overhaul — Social opinion app Thumb has unveiled its version 3.0 design. In addition to receiving a revamped user interface Thump now lets users post individual likes, save opinions and share from the app to Facebook, Twitter and SMS.

100 million Angry Birds in space — Rovio’s latest game, Angry Birds Space has racked up 100 million total downloads on iOS and Android since its release, according to a Tweet from Rovio’s official Angry Birds account.

[Funding] SCVNGR raises $12 million for LevelUp — Boston-based SCVNGR has raised $12 million in new funding for its mobile payment app LevelUp. Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Balderton Capital, Continental Investors and Transmedia capital all participated in the round.

[Funding] Quixey raises $20 million — App search engine Quixey has closed a $20 million round of Series B funding. WI Harper Group, U.S. Venture Partners and Translink Capital all participated in the round.

[Funding] HotelTonight nets $23 million Series C — San Francisco-based travel app HotelTonight has closed a $23 million round of Series C funding. The round was lead by U.S. Venture Partners with participation rom Accel, Battery Ventures and First Round Capital. So far the service has raised more than $35 million dollars, reports VentureBeat.

IDC: As smartphone adoption evens out, by 2016 Windows Phone will be No. 2

Market research firm IDC estimates smartphone shipments will grow 38.8 percent this year, hitting 686 million units in 2012. But while Android and iOS lead the smartphone pack now, in the long term the company is predicting Android and iOS’ market share will decline, largely at the expense of Windows Phone.

According the company’s latest study, the combination of falling prices on devices and data plans, and high subsidies from carriers is boosting current smartphone demand. However, IDC expects smartphone market share growth will be less agressive this year, as the rate at which consumers switch from feature phones to smartphones begins to slow.

“The smartphone parade won’t be as lively this year as it has been in past,” said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo in the company’s report. “The mobile phone user transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion.”

Looking forward, the company predicts by 2016 Google’s Android OS will still be the market leader but will have seen a significant portion of its userbase eroded by Microsoft’s Windows Phone — if Nokia can maintain its strength in emerging markets. IDC estimates in five years’ time Windows Phone will be the No. 2 smartphone operating system, passing Apple with a predicted 19.2 percent market share to iOS’ 19 percent.

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