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21 Dec 12 Google Play growing faster than Apple’s App Store: Report


Google’s online Play shop of applications for Android-powered
smartphones or tablets is growing fast, a report released Thursday by
market tracker Distimo said.

The aggregate daily revenue at Google
Play shops across the 20 largest countries where they are available
climbed 43 percent during the past four months, while sales at Apple’s
online App Store increased 21 percent.

“Google Play is just
starting to rival the Apple App Store in a few countries on a worldwide
scale, even though it is still losing in terms of daily revenues,”
Distimo said in the report.

Apple’s App Store catering to its
iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices took in more than $15 million
dollars a day in November, while daily revenue at Google Play was just
shy of $3.5 million, according to Distimo.

“There were many
success stories in 2012 about applications that became very successful
in a matter of a few days and gathered millions of downloads and
revenues,” the analytics firm said in the report.

“Looking at the worldwide daily download and revenue volumes, the opportunity is really huge.”

Smartphone
game application “Draw Something” reached a million users in just nine
days, while Asian publisher Naver launched five games in November that
quickly became hits.

Naver game application Line Pop was downloaded 1.75 million times within three days of its release, according to Distimo.

A
report released this month by research firm IDC projected that Android
operating system will power more than two-thirds of smartphones sold
worldwide in 2012, and will remain the dominant platform for at least
the next four years.

IDC also boosted its forecast for global
tablet sales for 2012 to 122.3 million, from 117.1 million, in large
part due to demand for Android tablets and the new iPad mini.

Article source: http://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/google-play-growing-faster-than-apples-app-store-report-308303

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21 Dec 12 Apple’s App Store vs. Google Play: Where they stand


Both now boast more than 700,000 apps, but Apple’s store generates 4.3 times more cash

Source: Distimo

Source: Distimo

FORTUNE — Manufacturers on Google’s (GOOG) Android platform may be selling more devices, but Apple’s (AAPL) App Store is still the best place to be for developers trying to make a living.

That’s the bottom line in the year-end review published Friday by Distimo, a Dutch analytics company:

“On a typical day in November 2012, the revenues in the Apple App Store exceeded $15M USD, while in Google Play the revenues are just below $3.5M USD in 20 of the largest countries in both app stores.”

And although Google Play seems to be catching up — its revenue grew an aggregated 43% in the past four months compared with Apple’s 21% — it still has a long way to go. Looking back to January 2012, the App Store’s daily revenue grew an estimated 51% (split 71% for the iPad and 40% for the iPhone).

The report is packed with surprising details. For example:

  • Countries with fastest app revenue growth: Russia leads the world on the iPad (up 143%), Japan leads on the iPhone (+138%) and Korea in Google Play (+94%)
  • Fastest growing apps: It took AOL (AOL) nine years and Facebook (FB) nine months to hit the 1 million user mark. The mobile app Draw Something did it in nine days; Line Pop did it in three — and within 12 days had generated an estimated $1 million in revenue.
  • Fewer winners take home more: In January 2012, 11 apps accounted for 10% of the revenues on the App Store. By November, that number was down to 7.
  • The average selling price varies by platform: It’s down 8% since January on the iPad and up 16% on the iPhone. Google Play apps, on average, are more expensive. Navigation apps, on average, cost the most.
  • In-app purchases vs. one-off sales: Revenue from in-app purchases continued to grow in 2012 — from 53% in January on the App Store to 69% in November — but one-off sales still generated 35% of the revenue among the top 10 money makers on Apple’s iOS.
  • The big money is in the game market: See chart below.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 7.02.27 AM

Article source: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/12/21/app-store-vs-google-play/

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21 Dec 12 Google Play growing fast: survey


AFP – Google’s online Play shop of applications for Android-powered smartphones or tablets is growing fast, a report released Thursday by market tracker Distimo said.

The aggregate daily revenue at Google Play shops across the 20 largest countries where they are available climbed 43 percent during the past four months, while sales at Apple’s online App Store increased 21 percent.

“Google Play is just starting to rival the Apple App Store in a few countries on a worldwide scale, even though it is still losing in terms of daily revenues,” Distimo said in the report.

Apple’s App Store catering to its iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices took in more than $15 million dollars a day in November, while daily revenue at Google Play was just shy of $3.5 million, according to Distimo.

“There were many success stories in 2012 about applications that became very successful in a matter of a few days and gathered millions of downloads and revenues,” the analytics firm said in the report.

“Looking at the worldwide daily download and revenue volumes, the opportunity is really huge.”

Smartphone game application “Draw Something” reached a million users in just nine days, while Asian publisher Naver launched five games in November that quickly became hits.

Naver game application Line Pop was downloaded 1.75 million times within three days of its release, according to Distimo.

A report released this month by research firm IDC projected that Android operating system will power more than two-thirds of smartphones sold worldwide in 2012, and will remain the dominant platform for at least the next four years.

IDC also boosted its forecast for global tablet sales for 2012 to 122.3 million, from 117.1 million, in large part due to demand for Android tablets and the new iPad mini.

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20121220-google-play-growing-fast-survey

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10 May 12 Is Facebook’s App Center a Win-Win for iPhone, Android Users and Developers?


Facebook

After years of leaving users to fend for themselves when scrounging for apps and games like Socialcam, CityVille or Draw Something, Facebook says it will finally launch an application hub to corral social apps in one place. It’s called App Center, and Facebook says developers can (and should) start prepping their apps for inclusion immediately.

Facebook notes that, among other things, developers will be able to charge flat fees for apps up front (like Apple via the App Store, Facebook currently takes a 30% cut). Some developers already charge users for in-app purchases, but allowing them to charge for apps outright is new. And the apps will be accessible through web browsers (on computers) as well as native Facebook apps for Android and iOS devices.

(PHOTOS: Life Inside Facebook Headquarters)

But apps that don’t meet certain quality standards won’t be visible, says Facebook, outlining an intriguing feedback-based rating system that aggregates indices like “user ratings” and “engagement” to score apps in Facebook’s performance metric tool, Insights. “Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed,” explains Facebook, while “[apps] that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won’t be listed.” That makes Facebook’s App Center markedly different from Apple’s or Google’s, which drill only on an app’s performance, e.g. “top paid,” “top free,” “top grossing,” etc.

The introduction of a centralized app store comes at a critical moment: Facebook just admitted in an amendment to its IPO filing that its user base’s shift from web to mobile means they’re showing fewer ads per user, threatening their long-term revenues. According to the company:

We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

So what does the App Center mean for us as end users (all 900 million, that is)? For starters, it gives us one place to browse for stuff, making app discovery more proactive. Instead of depending on word of mouth, media “best of” stories, third-party ranking sites, or for the right app ads to capture our eye, we’ll be able to rifle through a hub that’s aggregating and ranking stuff based in part on total community feedback.

It also means we’ll be able to learn more about apps before we install them. Facebook says every app must have an “app detail page,” designed to let us “see what makes an app unique” before installing and accessing it. That alone should be cause for celebration, in my view, after years of installing Facebook apps and giving them access to various aspects of our personal dossiers just to learn what they are and do. Facebook notes that even for non-Facebook users, an app’s detail page will become their first-stop when a Facebook app link comes up within Facebook itself (as well as, presumably, independent search engines).

Furthermore, Facebook isn’t pitching the App Center as an Apple/Google competitor. Rather, says Facebook, it’s “designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web.” The App Center will let you browse apps compatible with your device, and if one requires installation, Facebook says you’ll be redirected away from Facebook to either Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

So far, I see nothing not to thumbs-up here. A user-related ranking and inclusion system? A chance to investigate an app before installing it? A way for developers to compete on more level terms with Apple and Google with regard to app pricing? Everything in one central location? App agnosticism when it comes to platform and installation? Sure, it means a little extra work for developers and new challenge metrics for getting an app included as well as made visible, but the end benefits for users, at least on e-paper, seem broadly win-win at this point.

No, the App Center isn’t live yet, but when it launches “[in] the coming weeks,” you’ll be able to access it via www.facebook.com/appcenter.

(MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012)

Article source: http://techland.time.com/2012/05/10/is-facebooks-app-center-a-win-win-for-iphone-android-users-and-developers/

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17 Apr 12 Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6


An inexpensive alternative to an Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 ($149.99 list, 8GB) acquits itself well as a basic, budget MP3 and video player that also runs most of the 400,000 Android apps available. It’s for people who want to play “Draw Something” but don’t want to deal a smartphone contract, and it costs $50 less than the same-capacity iPod touch ($199, 5 stars). But its low-res screen may limit its appeal to status-conscious teens who could make up its core market. 

Physical Design and Networking
The Galaxy Player 3.6 looks like a small budget smartphone. Made of black and chrome plastic, it has standard MicroUSB and headphone jacks on the bottom panel and a matte back. The front is mostly a somewhat-dim 3.6-inch, 480-by-320 LCD screen with three standard Android touch buttons below it. At 4.6 by 2.6 by .4 inches (HWD) and 4.2 ounces, it’ll fit easily into any hand and most pockets.

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Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 : New Competitor


Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 : Menu


Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 : Back


Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 : YouTube

Here’s the thing about the screen. Yes, it’s the same resolution as many low-cost smartphones. But remember that we’re competing with the Apple iPod touch here. Because of the touch’s dominance in this category, there are different expectations for media players than for phones, and this screen is noticeably dimmer and grainier than that of the iPod touch. In a row of iPods, the Galaxy Player 3.6 will stand out in an unattractive way. That’s why we’re more likely to recommend the larger-screen Galaxy Player 4.2, whose 800-by-480 screen stands up better against its top competitor. 

The Galaxy Player uses its Bluetooth connection to pull off a neat trick: The handheld can act as a Bluetooth headset for a simpler phone you have lying around. When it’s connected to your phone, you can answer calls on the Galaxy Player as if it was a smartphone. You can also dial from the Galaxy Player’s contacts book, though there’s no traditional dialer, and no easy way to activate voice dialing. The Player doesn’t share your phone’s Internet connection over Bluetooth. To get on the Web, you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection; we had no problem connecting the Galaxy Player to our 802.11n network.

The relatively dim screen and lack of phone capability make for great battery life; we got 8 hours, 15 minutes of full-brightness video playback time on a charge, compared to five and a half hours on an iPod touch with its screen brightness set to full and eight hours with the iPod touch’s brightness set to half.

The included earphones come with a microphone, and clear rubber flanges that create a bit of a seal within the ear to improve sound and provide some very basic passive noise cancellation. You should still look at upgrading, but this pair is better than the signature white earbuds that come with the iPod touch.

Performance
Built around a 1GHz, single-core Cortex-A8 processor, the CPU is the same as you’ll find in many inexpensive-to-midrange smartphones. It runs Android 2.3, with no real hope of an upgrade to 4.0. It was undistinguished at benchmarks, but performed well overall because of the low-res screen. With fewer pixels to push, the processor doesn’t have to work as hard as it does with higher-resolution devices.

Casual games like Angry Birds and Draw Something performed well. Web browsing will feel cramped if you’re used to the now-more-common larger 800-by-480 screens, but at least the Galaxy Player supports Flash 11. 

Along with the standard Google Play market, the Galaxy Player comes with the Samsung Apps store, a selection of mostly free apps curated by Samsung. Proprietary Samsung apps let the Galaxy Player be used as a remote viewfinder for Samsung Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, or as a remote control for Samsung Wi-Fi-enabled TVs. 

There’s 8GB of on-board memory as well as a MicroSD card slot that you must remove the battery to use. Our 64GB SanDisk MicroSD card worked fine, so you can get quite a lot of media onto this device. The Player handled AAC, WMA, MP3 and OGG format music files at a range of bit rates, and played MPEG4. H.264 and WMV video files at up to 640-by-480 resolution without any issues. The Player has a moderately loud, single speaker that delivers undistinguished, but not awfully distorted sound loud enough for a small bedroom; you can also use wired or Bluetooth headphones.

The low-resolution screen doesn’t bring video to life the way the iPod Touch screen does, but it’s adequate for TV shows and cartoons. Netflix, TV.com and Vevo apps work. The Hulu app said it does not support this device.

The FM radio works when headphones are plugged into the 3.5mm jack. It automatically scans for stations, which is very convenient. I found that it locked into stations easily and played them clearly.

There’s a 2-megapixel camera on the back of the Galaxy Player 3.6 and a VGA camera on the front, but don’t expect much of either of them. The rear camera takes slightly hazy, very contrasty pictures with some low-light blur and in one case, rather odd fish-eye distortion. The front camera is for taking basic snapshots of your face. You can record unremarkable 640-by-480 videos at 25 frames per second with the rear camera; there’s no flash. 

Conclusions
You’re not actually saving much money by getting the Galaxy Player 3.6 instead of a smartphone. Looking only at prepaid no-contract Android phones, Virgin Mobile has the  LG Optimus V (4 stars) for $129.99, MetroPCS has the HTC Wildfire S (3 stars) for $119, and Cricket has the Samsung Vitality (3 stars) for $99.99. None of them are really standouts, but neither is this device.

So the Galaxy Player 3.6 is for the niche of people who really, truly don’t want a smartphone, but also want a touch-screen gadget that runs apps. I suspect many of those people will be kids. (They want smartphones, but their parents won’t let them have them.) At $150, the Player 3.6 is a decent device that undercuts the price of the iPod touch by $50.

With the Galaxy Player 4.2 and iPod touch now both at $199, there’s no reason to pay any more for your media handheld. The older Galaxy Player 4.0 (4 stars) still lists at $229, with no advantages over the less expensive Galaxy Player 4.2. The Sony NWZ-Z1000 ($249, 3 stars), meanwhile, has a faster processor but worse battery life than either Galaxy Player, and no camera or camcorder. Don’t buy that one either.

But I think those $199 products are the sweet spot, and the Galaxy Player 3.6 is shooting a bit too low. With every similar competitor running at 800-by-480 or greater, the Player 3.6′s grainy 320-by-480 display just looks cheap in comparison. Save your pennies for the Galaxy Player 4.2 or the iPod.

More Media Player Reviews:
•   Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6
•   Sony Walkman Mobile Entertainment Player (NWZ-Z1000)
•   Motorola MotoActv
•   Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0
•   Sony W Series Walkman (NWZ-W262)
•  more

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402958,00.asp

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04 Apr 12 Nokia Lumia 900 (AT&T)


The best Windows Phone so far, Nokia’s Lumia 900 ($99 with a two-year ATT contract) is a big, attractively designed slab of fun. We recommend it especially to first-time smartphone owners and Facebook addicts, although the lack of some key apps, including a few popular casual games, still keep Android and iOS phones in the lead for most buyers.

Design, Call Quality and Internet
The Lumia 900 comes in black, white, or cyan. Don’t get black. The other two colors highlight the phone’s elegant Northern European design, while the black one just looks like another black slab. The rolled edges, flat bottom, and matte back really help the Lumia 900 stand apart from similar smartphones, and you see these features much more with the white or blue models.

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Nokia Lumia 900


Nokia Lumia 900 In Hand


Nokia Lumia 900 Home Screen


Nokia Lumia 900 Top

At 5.0 by 2.7 by .45 inches (HWD) and 5.6 ounces, this is a big phone, on par with other large phones like the Editor’s Choice Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket for ATT ($199, 4.5 stars). I found it usable single-handed, though. The 4.3-inch screen offers a 800-by-480 resolution, and Nokia’s ClearBlack Display technology has very deep blacks and saturated colors, looking almost more like a bright OLED than an LCD. There’s just one occasional odd note: Skin oils on the front glass can give some white areas a rainbow effect.

With excellent reception on ATT’s network, I was able to connect calls with the Lumia 900 in places the Skyrocket couldn’t. Voice quality wasn’t quite as good as with the Skyrocket, though. The Lumia’s speaker is tuned louder, which makes it easier to understand quiet talkers, but introduces distortion with loud inputs. Sound through the microphone was generally clear on the other end of calls, with a little bit of background noise coming through. The speakerphone is loud enough for outdoor use.

Windows Phone 7′s voice command system is excellent. You can trigger it from a Bluetooth headset—our Jawbone Icon ($99, 4 stars) worked perfectly—and use it not only to dial the phone, but to do Web or local area searches.

The phone connects via HSPA+ 21 and LTE networks and it has the right bands for ATT’s and foreign systems, but not T-Mobile’s HSPA. Data speeds were spectacular on ATT’s LTE network in New York City, with downloads ranging from 13-20Mbps and uploads in the 5-7Mbps range. I got consistently faster speed test speeds on the Lumia 900 than on the Skyrocket. Also, you can use the phone as a wireless hotspot with the appropriate plan.

The Lumia 900 also connects via Wi-Fi 802.11n, and had no problem connecting to WPA2-protected networks during testing. Talk time was very good at 7 hours, 17 minutes, and my Lumia lasted more than a day on standby.

OS and Apps
The Lumia 900 runs on a  1.4GHz Qualcomm APQ8055 (single-core, not dual-core) processor. The OS is well-tuned for the CPU, though: I didn’t find any problems with responsiveness, and the Lumia 900 split our browser benchmarks with faster Android phones.

Windows Phone is bold, easy to use, well-executed, fun, and social. It doesn’t look like the competition, and it puts Facebook and Twitter at its core. As I say in our full Windows Phone 7.5 Mango review, “It’s full of people-centric features that make it easier to stay in touch with friends and family, to communicate, and to share ideas. It’s easier to use than Android, and in many ways slicker than Apple’s iOS.”

Windows Phone owners tend to love the platform. The OS won our Reader’s Choice award, and readers rated it as better for texting, email, Web browsing, and gaming than Android. In our experience, it’s smoother and more stable than many Android devices.

The platform now has 65,000 apps, including a great collection of exclusive games. But if you’re specifically looking for key social games that new smartphone owners may want to play with their friends, you’ll run into trouble. Windows Phone lacks all the Zynga “With Friends” games, as well as Draw Something, Pandora, Angry Birds Rio, Temple Run, and Cut the Rope.

You won’t be bored. You can play Doodle Jump, Super Monkey Ball, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and thousands of other games. High-end titles include Assassin’s Creed and Sims 3. But if your friends are all playing Draw Something, well, you’re out. The problem isn’t that there aren’t aren’t great apps. It’s that there aren’t the specific apps your non-Windows-Phone-owning friends are using. 

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402359,00.asp

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