Week that was

PG.biz week that was: Facebook's new HTML5 platform, RIM does 500k Playbooks, Samsung to overtake Nokia, and Acer slashes its Android tablet sale estimates

PG.biz week that was: Facebook's new HTML5 platform, RIM does 500k Playbooks, Samsung to overtake Nokia, and Acer slashes its Android tablet sale estimates
Jetlagged-inducted naps at inappropriate times of the day, and saving cover from overworked news editors aside, it has been an exceptionally busy week in the world of PocketGamer.biz; the world of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

News, by definition, is a fleeting thing, but the news that Facebook's long rumoured HTML5 platform - labelled Project Spartan - is close to launch, is bound to be a regular source for investigation in future weeks.

All the top Facebook developers are said to be ready with content as soon as the platform - which of course includes integrated Facebook Credits and an app store of sorts - goes live.

The future of Flurry and Tapjoy

A story that's been running for a couple of months now is Apple's banning of incentivised downloads.

A lot more detail was provided on the subject by Simon Khalaf, CEO of Flurry, one of the firms involved in the business. Agreeing with Apple's decision, if not its methods - and this despite a temporary 10 percent revenue hit - Khalaf said Flurry would continue to grow thanks to new incentivised actions, especially video.

The other major company in the iCPI business is/was Tapjoy. It's now ramping up on Android, where the practise is still allowed. This week, it announced a $5 million fund to encourage iOS developers to port their games and apps to Android.

And for good reason too. Continuing the trend of 2011, Android was estimated as the top smartphone OS in US for the sixth consecutive month by Millennial Media, and the biggest in the UK with a 45 percent market share, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Nokia in the slow lane

But while Android-supporting OEMs continue to rack up success - Samsung's Galaxy S II has already sold 1 million units in a month in South Korea, and HTC looking to double smartphone shipments to 50 million this year - it's poor old Nokia.

Analysts at Nomura reckon it could be surpassed by both Samsung and Apple in Q2 2011, hence becoming only the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer.

Still, there was some good news as Apple agreed to pay it a one-time fee and ongoing royalties to license some IP. This concludes an ongoing patent dispute started in October 2009.

Black clouds for BlackBerry

Another handset manufacturer in decline is RIM. It announced its Q1 FY12 financials this week. Revenue was up 16 percent to $4.9 billion but profits were down, as was gross margin.

"Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start," said co-CEO Jim Balsillie.

Yet, the company has shipped 500,000 of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. It's not bad going compared to Android tablets, even though O2 didn't support the UK launch, citing problems with 'customer experience'

Indeed, Acer has slashed its predictions for tablet shipments by 60 percent to 3 million units in 2011. The firm's headline tablet - the Android-powered Iconia Tab A500 - launched back in April,

Nintendo also admitted, tacitly, to slow hardware sales. It's taken three times as long - 13 weeks - to sell one million 3DSs in Japan.

Maybe Sony will do better. Its S1 and S2 tablets are due to be released in the UK this September.

The soft bulletin

But hardware is so passe, isn't it?

Game development is the place to be, at least for former Rockstar staffer Anthony Gowland who's set up mobile micro-studio Mainly About Games. Alternatively, Gameloft's Mark Hickey departed the French publisher after many years to take up a business development role at Kiip, an in-game advertising start up.

In other game news, Rovio announced Angry Birds has now hit 250 million mobile downloads, Office Jerk has topped 7 million downloads on iOS, and Chillingo is working with Facebook developer MetroGames to bring its social line-up to iOS.

Oh, and Pocket Gamer and OpenFeint are working with Connect2Media and Mobile Pie on the App Store Legends deck for their forthcoming Top Trumps game.

But let's end by taking a look back at the week before the week that was.

Sony's PS Vita hardware was one of the highlights at the E3 games show.

Id's John Carmack pointed out however that the quad-core device will be 'pretty pokey' compared to smartphones in a few years time, while I - in my own small way - tried to concentrate out some juice from the show in my five key mobile game industry trends roundup.

Until next week...
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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