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PG.biz week that was: Android downloads will beat iOS, PopCap adds IAP as Flurry and MocoSpace analyse usage, and GetJar goes gold

The past seven days' news compressed bite-sized
PG.biz week that was: Android downloads will beat iOS, PopCap adds IAP as Flurry and MocoSpace analyse usage, and GetJar goes gold

While certain members of the PG.biz team were on holiday - again - Jon and new writer Matt had their noses to the grindstone: covering the world of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

Broadcasting trade show IBC isn't usually a big draw for mobile companies, but technology convergence, especially in terms of companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung and LG means the overlaps are growing.

This week, mobile middleware company Marmalade announced its cross platform SDK now supports native development for LG Smart TV, and that the tech was being used to port smartphone hit Cut the Rope.

Antix, another UK tools company, was promoting the fact that its mobile-PC/web-TV Game Player was available for licensing on MStar's new chip, as well as being integrated into Broadcom's high end set-top boxes. US content aggregator Exent will be launching its Android monthly subscription service GameTanium on Vestel's Smart Box platform.

The people who buy

The other obvious trend of the week revolved around analysis of the audience for in-app purchases.

Flurry broke down its data on an age basis, discovering that the 25 to 34 age group accounts for 49 percent of all freemium IAP, while web-based entertainment portal MocoSpace did something similar with ethnicity. It found Caucasians are strongly over indexed in terms of IAP demand.

Good timing then for PopCap to release a big update to the iPhone version of Plants vs. Zombies, including IAP, although this was only for additional levels: a maximum spend of $2.97.

Spreading the net wider, with respect to other freemium monetisation methods, W3i released a study that demonstrated gamers sourced by incentivised downloads can be six times more valuable than organic traffic. Tapjoy, which operates in the same area, bulked up its team hiring ex-PlayStation SVP Peter Dille as chief marketing officer.

UK outfit Adfonic raised $7.5 million to enable it to take its headcount to 100 and expand operations in the US, APAC and Europe.

We also spoke to two mobile ad networks. Millennial's senior vice president of global monetisation solutions, Matt Gillis, argued that developers need to consider mobile advertising from the start, while madvertise's Jana Sievers highlighted the company's €5 million developer fund and its KatAPPult cross promotion service.

M'learned friends

Various lawsuits and patent issues continue to rumble on.

Apple and Samsung are the current hot spot. This week, a German court upheld Apple's injunction over Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is now banned in the country, although it's not clear whether German retailers could still source units from other European countries. Apple's also attempting to pull a similar move in Japan, asking from the Galaxy S smartphones and Tab tablets to be banned.

When it comes to patents, one issue that seems clear is Microsoft owns some of Android's IP. Acer and ViewSonic signed agreements for their smartphones and tablets, joining at least half a dozen other public licensees, who are apparently paying Microsoft up to $5 per Android device shipped.

Internal cracks within Android continue to open up too, with Google documents released as part of its lawsuit with Oracle suggesting it's been considering giving companies such as Motorola and Verizon a head start when it comes to new versions of the OS.

And that's why any move from Samsung away from Android is being highlighted. This week, it was rumoured it would be announcing its first Windows 8 tablet at Microsoft's BUILD conference, while closer to home, it's also launched its bada Student Developer Challenge, which sees the students from 10 UK universities competing for £10,000 of prizes and promotion of the winning app on the Samsung Apps store.

On the up and up

Of course, aside from everyone else, Apple continues to operate on its own level: market analyst Piper Jaffray predicted the company would hit $164 billion of revenue in FY13, up from $65 billion in FY10, selling 200 million iOS devices annually in the process.

That doesn't mean it's not under pressure however. According to UK outfit Ovum, downloads of Android apps will overtake those on iOS in 2011. Another report - although not as rigorous as I would have liked - said the average number of downloads per app on Ovi Store is 2.5 times more than an app on App Store.

Also demonstrating the activity within non-iOS platforms, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang boasted about Tegra 2 dominance across Android and pointed to 10-fold growth in the company's mobile chip sales by 2015, while Sony Ericsson is still building out support for its Xperia Play phone with announcement it's launching on AT&T on 16 September.

Free app store, GetJar, whose growth is mainly driven by Android, tweaked its business too, launching GetJar Gold, a free channel for premium Android content that's paid on other stores but free on GetJar. Its headline game was Halfbrick's Age of Zombies.

Things still look tricky for RIM, however. It launched a new version of its Blackberry App World this week, but was urged to sell itself or its patents by a group of Canadian shareholders.

Look east, young man

Out in China, everything is booming, though, with search engine company Baidu leading the charge, announcing its new custom Android OS, Yi, will be backed by hardware from Dell. ISP Tencent is also getting in on the act, relaunching its web-based application store for various mobile OSes.

We also had a long chat with Gary Liu, from CocoaChina, about how it had built China's biggest iOS developer community, made a top 20 iOS game, and is now rolling out its own cross promotion network.