Mobile app roundup: Apple, Samsung and Amazon

Apple: Smartphone market no longer a two-horse race – Apple’s Tim Cook acknowledged the growing strength of Windows Phone during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call this week. When asked about iOS market share, Cook said “iOS is doing extremely well but I wouldn’t say its a two horse race — there’s a horse in Redmond that always keeps up and always runs.”

Smartphones lead Samsung to $4.7 billion in operating profit – Samsung has released its fourth quarter earnings, announcing it earned $42.2 billion in revenues and boosted operating profit 79 percent to $4.7 billion year-on-year thanks to the healthy sales of its Android smartphones, particularity the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note. Operating profit for Samsung’s telecommunications business hit a record high of $2.35 billion during the quarter.

Andreessen Horowitz looking for $1.5 billion more for VC funds – The New York Times is reporting that Marc Andreessen is raising $1.5 billion to fuel two new funds at his high-profile venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The firm currently holds stakes in a number of well known social and mobile companies such as Zynga and Instagram.

Apple now leads in enterprise device adoption – Enterprise service provider Good Technology has found its clients are showing a strong preference for Apple products. According to Good, 65 percent the enterprise smartphone activations it recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011 were iOS devices. Android accounted for 35 percent.

Microsoft unveils Must-Have Games for Windows Phone – Microsoft is rolling out what it calls “five weeks of smash hit games” to boost Windows Phone’s gaming offerings for 2012. Starting Feb. 1, EA’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Microsoft Studio’s Bullet Asylum, Chickens Can’t Fly and Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp and Gameloft’s Splinter Cell Conviction will roll out for the platform on a weekly basis. The games are all paid and will cost either $2.99 or $4.99.

Amazon still hiring for mobile, social gaming – Amazon is ramping up its hiring of game developers for both mobile and social games, according to job postings spotted by Xconomy. The company’s a2z arm has positions open for mobile game developers, and in Seattle the company is recruiting specifically for social game positions. Last May Amazon posted a job for a game designer to lead the company in creating mobile and social games, which lead to the hiring of game industry vet Jonathan Tweet. While Amazon has been working on its gaming project for a number of months, so far no details have emerged.

36 percent of iPhone 4S owners switching to iOS from other platforms – Apple Insider is reporting the results of a survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners that found among those who bought an iPhone 4S after launch, more than one third of buyers — 36 percent — were switching to iOS from other platforms like Android or BlackBerry.

350,000 textbooks downloaded from iBookstore after launch – According to a report from Global Equities Research, readers downloaded as many as 350,000 textbooks from the iBookstore in the three days after Apple revamped iBooks and the iBookStore to support the sale of textbooks.

Android mobile video views catching up to iOS – According to information mobile video encoding service Vid.ly provided to TechCrunch, Android users are watching more mobile video than ever before. At the beginning of 2011, 87 percent of all mobile views the company served were on iOS, with Android accounting for less than 5 percent. However, by the end of the year, 32 percent of all views the company facilitated came from Android devices and 52 percent were from iOS devices.

RIM appoints new CEO – After much speculation, RIM’s co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have stepped down. They were replaced by Thorsten Heins.

[Funding] Polar Mobile nets $6 million for HTML5 app development tool – Toronto-based app development company Polar Mobile has raised $6 million in funding from Georgian Partners and Ontario Venture Capital Fund. The company will use the funding to expand its operations and launch a new HTML5 content distribution tool, MediaEverywhere.