Mobile app news roundup: Google mobile search, Draw Something and WWDC


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Google improves mobile search ads — Google has added several new features to AdWords to improve its mobile advertising tools. Advertisers can now advertise both their website and their app through the new Mobile App extension and Mobile ads units now show more information about mobile apps. Advertisers can also track downloads through AdWorks and a new AdMob SDK allows for custom search ads in tablet apps. More information can be found on the Google mobile ads blog.

Newzoo: 91 percent of mobile game revenue comes from in-app purchases — According to a study from Dutch research firm Newzoo, 91 percent of mobile app revenues on iOS and Android (excluding ad revenue) come from in-app purchases, not up from App purchases. 36 percent of all mobile gamers in the U.S. are now paying for in-app purchases and other virtual goods.

Kingdom Age racks up 1 million downloads in 12 days – Funzio’s latest iOS game Kingdom Age has seen more than 1 million installs and 20 million player-vs-play battles since its release on April 19. The company’s success was a major reason behind GREE’s $210 million acquisition of Funzio, according Shanti Bergel, GREE’s SVP of business and corporate development. For more information on the deal read our interview with Bergel and Funzio COO Anil Dharni.

Zynga adds paid advertising into Draw Something — Zynga has found a new way to monetize Draw Something. Advertisers can now pay to have words added to the popular game. According to AdAge, new words sponsored by Coca-Cola, Doritos and the National Hockey League have all bought brand advertising.

CyberAgent becoming mobile social network — Japan’s CyberAgent, best know for its cross-platform Ameba blogging service is pivoting. Starting next month the Ameba platform on smartphones will be a social network with a focus on social games, reports Dr. Serkan Toto. The move will put CyberAgent in direct competition with DeNA and GREE, two of the most profitable game companies in the world.

Angry Birds Space hits 50 million downloads — Angry Birds Space is now the fastest growing mobile app in history, passing 50 million downloads in 35 days according to Rovio. The previous record holder was Zynga’s Draw Something, which took 50 days to reach 50 million downloads.

Instagram up to 50 million users – Photo sharing service Instagram now has more than 50 million users, and is adding more than 5 million new users a week, reports Mashable.

More Android earnings figures emerge from Google/Oracle trial — According to the latest numbers revealed in the Google/Oracle trial over the use of Java in the Android OS, Android was a net loss for Google every quarter of 2010. Reuters has more information.

Kindle Fire shipments crash and burn? — Amazon shipped just 750,000 Kindle Fire tablets in the first quarter of 2012, down from the 4.8 million it shipped in Q4 2011 according to AllThingsD. Apple sold 11.8 million iPads in the same period.

Gameloft commits to BlackBerry 10 — Gameloft has announced 11 of its games are being optimized for BlackBerry 10. Shark Dash, N.O.V.A 3, Ice Age Village and Oregon Trail: American Settler will be available on BlackBerry App World at launch. The other seven titles will follow.

Mobile Roadie launches native iPad app and mobile website products — Self-service mobile app creation service Mobile Roadie has expanded its product offerings. Clients can now use Mobile Roadie to create native iPad apps and mobile websites.

It’s now easier for Unity devs to use Kontagent — Developers creating games in the popular Unity Engine can now use Kontagent’s plug-in to add the company’s analytics service to their apps, streamlining the implementation process.

Citron unveils new mobile game studio — OpenFeint co-founder Jason Citron has founded a new mobile game studio called Phoenix Guild, reports Gamasutra. The former GREE executive will be targeting hardcore console gamers.

Appssavvy’s Adtivity celebrates first birthday — Appssavvy’s Adtivity advertising platform is celebrating its first birthday. The service has almost 100 publishers signed up, and counts Ubisoft, TheBroth and Coca-Cola among its client list.

RIM promises certified apps will make at least $10,000 – In order to attract app developers to BlackBerry RIM is promising that all certified apps that can earn at least $1000 on their own will earn $10,000 in its BlackBerry App World app store. If not, RIM will pay developers the difference, reports The Verge.

CocoaChina wants Apple to open WWDC ticket exchange — Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference sold out in less than two hours, leaving many without tickets. Chinese iOS developer community CocoaChina is trying to convince Apple to open a ticket exchange (as tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable) to help developers without tickets attend the event. The group has created the WWDC waitlist website: in order to coordinate developers who missed out on tickets.

[Launch] GREE launches Dino Life on Android — GREE’s has launched its first Android exclusive title, the free-to-play animal care game Dino Life. The game is free-to-play.

[Funding] SocialCam raises celebrity Angel seed round — TechCrunch is reporting SocialCam has raised a round of seed funding from several well known investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Tim Draper, Yuri Milner. The amount of funding SocialCam raised is not yet known.

[Funding] Appthority nets $6.25 Series A — Mobile app security company Appthority has raised $6.25 million in Series A funding. The round was lead by Venrock and US Venture partners.

[Funding] Pindrop raises $1 million seed round – Mobile phone security company has raised $1 million in seed funding. Its seed round was lead by Andreessen Horowitz.