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Mobile links for 15 February, 2010

Video comparing graphic performance on Google Nexus vs. iPhone 3Gs. This video shows a scene with about 11,000 polygons running on both phones. The higher resolution of the Nexus screen ends up seriously compromising graphics performance. More pixels, more work, and the Nexus doesn’t have the hardware power to compensate, hence about 1/2 the frame rate of the iPhone.

The big news for today, of course is the announcement of Windows Phone Series 7. Microsoft has re-designed their phone OS from the ground up, and the result is a very clean-looking interface which departs from most of the other mobile OS offerings. Engadget has some demo video. Games on this device will interface with Xbox live, which is a big departure, and the whole interface seems to share a lot of DNA with the Zune, with that mimimalist typography. The demos are on a touchscreen device with 3 buttons (home, back, and search), powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Many questions arise about the platform, such as whether it supports a wide range of handset hardware, how apps work on it, development details, etc., and whether Microsoft is planning to get into the handset hardware business like Google has with the Nexus, essentially competing with its OEM customers. Also, what support is there for the wide range of Windows CE and other handheld devices currently used in industry for POP, inventory management, etc. ? Still, this product introduction shows that Microsoft is determined to stay in the game.

On the iPhone front, Macworld saw the introduction of some new platforms for quickly generating applications, including Yapper, a WYSIWYG editor that garnered Best of Show. Yapper lets you build an app around RSS feeds with no coding, and supports iPhone, Android, and iPad, with content caching, location capabilities, push notification support, and support for monetization and analytics. Very promising approach. Others include iSites, and appOmator, as well as TapLynx, which has been around for a while.

The iPad is definitely stimulating new developer interest, according to Flurry Analytics. This article includes a graph comparing new starts of iPhone apps against Android projects.

Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, is excited about the iPad.

When the heck are WWDC 2010 tickets going on sale? Last year sold out in record time, and the current drought of technical information on the iPad suggests that this year is going to be a mad rush. Articles like this suggest that Apple has booked the Moscone Center from June 28-July2, but there has been no word from Apple since this leak, and they may well need a bigger venue this time around.

This timeframe would place the keynote exactly 3 years from the release of the original iPhone, which has some people speculating that Apple will drop the exclusive with AT&T, but the introduction of some groundbreaking new data plans for the iPad suggests that Apple is likely to be extending the deal.

Android is still looming over the horizon. A report from Comscore shows that Android market share has about doubled in the last quarter, at the expense of Palm, Windows Mobile, and to a lesser extent, Blackberry. iPhone share is still growing, but the introduction of multiple new Android handsets is building momentum for Google. Developers, however, are not seeing a bonanza from the Android market, some are scaling back their development. Gameloft in particular says they are getting 400 times the revenue from iPhone that they are from Android. Gameloft’s revenue from iPhone games was about $24.5 million for 2009, and accounted for 22% of the company’s total revenue in the last quarter. Developers are generally complaining that price points on Android are lower, and that Google is not promoting its store nearly as well. Discoverability of Android apps is considerably weaker than for iPhone apps, as Android’s marketplace is generally only directly accessible over the handset. Android has not spawned a large ecosystem of third-party app and game review sites, and doesn’t have a desktop equivalent to iTunes, which provides most of the merchandising and visibility for iPhone apps. Even though Android is very likely to overtake Palm in the next quarter, Google’s inability to generate excitement around its app store will keep developers from committing to the platform.

Gartner issued a report last month that attributed 99.4% of mobile app sales in 2009 to the iPhone. Their methodology may or may not be sound, but if true this is a dramatic shift away from the old model of app and game sales through the carrier. The market for mobile apps is likely to reach nearly $7 billion this year. Garner is predicting that Apple’s share of this revenue may be about $4.5 billion, 70 percent of which will be going to developers.

Consumer Reports announced Friday that iPhone users consume 5 times the data of Blackberry users, and nearly twice that of other smartphones. This disparity explains why iPhones are bringing AT&T’s networks to their knees, but it also suggests that ease-of-use is very important to getting people to actually use their data services.

One reply on “Mobile links for 15 February, 2010”

Hi Mike,
This was a great collection of links… thanks! It explains why Google is giving free Droid or Nexus One handsets to everyone at the Game Developers Conference.

I’d like to connect with you directly to discuss iPhone games and audio (Robert Jackson suggested it). I couldn’t find a “contact” link, so here I am.

-Jeff Essex

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