Wednesday Mobile Roundup: iTunes Competitors, BlackBerry, Google, & More

Firemint CEO Rob Murray Comments on Acquisition By EA: Murray says the team will stay in Australia and operate with high levels of autonomy. Before creating their own IP, Firemint actually built titles for EA Mobile like Madden and Sims DJ.

Mobile App Stores to be Worth $3.8 Billion in 2011 — Mobile app stores from Apple, Google, Nokia, and Research In Motion are growing significantly, according to a report from research firm IHS iSuppli. The four noted stores are slated to grow another 77.7%, reaching a value of $3.8 billion by the end of 2011 and $8.3 billion come 2014.

Promo Code Recipients Can No Longer Review Apps in iTunes — According to MacStories.net, Apple is attempting to combat the inflation of positive reviews and ratings where developers were trading promo codes to download their apps, for free, for them. As discovered by a forum poster on TouchArcade, Apple no longer allows users that receive and use a promotional code to post a review or rating within the App Store.

Google Disables Unofficial Tethering Apps — At the request of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, Google is disabling tethering applications on its Android Marketplace. The apps, which allow users to turn their phones into Internet hotspots, have not been removed, per say, but customers of the three noted carriers will be greeted with a disabled link.

Don’t Forget to Download A Google I/O App For the Conference: Ahead of Google’s big developer conference, the company released tablet and smartphone apps meant to help developers plan their time wisely next week.

The Angry Birds are Migrating to PlayBook — Another new port for Angry Birds is on its way. Confirmed at the BlackBerry World 2011 conference, Rovio Mobile’s popular game will be coming to BlackBerry’s new PlayBook tablet.

Viber Coming to Android — Viber is an iPhone app that allows its users to both call and send messages to other contacts free of charge. Now the startup, Viber Media, is slated to release the application for Android in the next few weeks, says TechCrunch.

Spotify to Compete with iTunes — European music service Spotify has some new updates that allow its users to sync Spotify desktop tracks with their mobile devices, be they iOS or Android. Additionally, in seeking to compete with iTunes, Spotify is also introducing its own digital store where users can purchase MP3 song bundles ranging from 10 to 100 (8 – 50 pounds, which equates to about $13 – $82).

7digital7digital Also Competes with iTunes — A former partner with Spotify, UK company 7digital has updated its Android app to also become an iTunes competitor. Now, users will be able utilize an in-app music download store, says TechCrunch.

Gigwalk Gives Odd Jobs to iPhone Users — Mobile mechanical turks, anyone? A new startup by the name of Gigwalk has launched today and seems to be taking Crowdflower and Amazon Mechanical Turk to mobile devices. Users can perform simple jobs — such as checking a street name — using their iPhone and companies can check if the job is done via GPS. Users will, of course, be paid for the job. The service is currently only available in a handful of major US cities.

QwikiQwiki Hits 250,000 Downloads — One of last week’s top emerging free iPad apps, Qwiki said it saw 250,000 downloads. This rate is very typical of an app ranked at that level. For reference, Chrome Gekko, which launched Bowmaster HD to a #1 spot back in March, also said they did 250,000 downloads in a week.

5th Generation iPhone Set to Release Outside Early Summer Timeframe (Rumor) — Traditionally speaking, new generation iPhones have been announced in the June/July time frame. However, MacRumors is reporting a rumor that this may not be the case with the 5th generation cued by an AT&T email that states “Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July time frame.” It has been suggested, however, that the new model will be unveiled during September’s iPod-centric event. These rumors remain unconfirmed.

BingBing to Replace Google as Search Engine on BlackBerry — Announced at the BlackBerry World 2011 conference, Microsoft’s Bing search engine will be replacing Google as the default program for both searches and maps on all BlackBerry devices.

Samsung Galaxy S II Tops iPhone 4 in Korea — According to Electronista, the Samsung Galaxy S II is topping the pre-order charts in Korea with 200,000 pre-orders across all three major Korean carriers. This number is roughly double that of the iPhone 4.

Mobile Barcodes as a Marketing Tool — The mobile space is becoming a more and more ideal space for marketing. That in mind, mobile barcodes are the newest tool for marketers seeking to bridge the gap between the analog and digital worlds, with 181.1% increase in mobile barcode scans in the US alone last quarter. An interesting post from eMarketer highlights the power of this marketing method and what it might mean for the future.