Mobile app news roundup: Google Play, the iPhone 5, GREE and DeNA

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Google Play gift cards are coming — Google continues to improve the monetization options on Android with gift cards on the way. Android Central reports the latest version of the Play store APK includes references to redeeming gift codes, although they are not currently active.

iPhone 5 anticipation depresses sales of all mobile phones — Gartner Research is reporting that anticipation for the upcoming iPhone 5 is so high, worldwide cellphone sales have declined 2.3 percent year-over-year as consumers hold off on planned purchases and upgrades.

Nokia and Zynga team for feature phone gaming — Draw Something and Zynga Poker are coming to Nokia’s Asha Touch line of phones, according to a Nokia blog post. The games will be free-to-play.

Trulia’s mobile visitors grow 176 percent year-over-year — Real estate search service Trulia has revealed it now receives an average of 4.3 million mobile visits a month, up 176 percent year-over-year, according to its S-1 filing.

DeNA begins disclosing gacha odds — The fallout from the kompu gacha ban continues. As part of the new regulations mobile-social game operators will have to disclose the odds of winning items through randomized gacha draws. As Japanese industry watcher Dr. Serkan Toto reports, DeNA has already begun disclosing these odds.

Android adds 13 new languages to Voice Search – Android users can now use their device’s Voice Search functionality in 13 new languages, Google announced this week. Voice search is now available in: Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, European Portuguese, Finnish, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Romania, Serbian, Slovak and Swedish, for 42 languages in total.

Gameloft teams with Playmobil — Gameloft signed an exclusive partnership deal with children’s toy manufacturer Playmobile to create a mobile game based on Playmobil’s Pirates line of toys. The free game, which will be called Playmobil Pirates, will be available on iOS and Android by the end of the year.

Trademob opens U.S. office — German mobile ad purchasing platform Trademob has announced it will open a U.S. office in New York. The company aggregates mobile advertisement buying for its customers, allowing them to purchase and compare ads from many different networks.

DeNA adds Twitter messaging to Mobage games – DeNA now allows its Japanese Mobage players to connect their Twitter accounts to its smartphone games. Players can log in through twitter, find their friends though the service and send one another Twitter DMs while plays Mobage games.

GREE announces two new Moshi Monsters games – GREE has announced that as part of its deal with Mind Candy, two new Moshi Monsters games will be coming to its network of games. Moshi Monsters Village and Moshi Monsters: Lost Islands are both due for release in the fall.

Olympic downloads for official app — Neowiz Internet’s official London 2012 Olympics mobile game has been downloaded over five million times since it was released on iOS and Android.

Instagram 3.0 introduces map — The most recent update to the photo sharing app allows users to have all photos tagged with a location appear in a map view.

[Rumor] Amazon to produce 10” Kindle Fire DX — The Digital Reader reports that a new,  10 inch Kindle Fire device has likely obtained FCC approval after being submitted by shell company called Harpers LLC. As the Digital Reader reports, it’s a tactic Amazon has used many times before, in order to keep its upcoming hardware plans a secret.

[Launch] GREE releases Monpla Smash — GREE’s latest english language game is Monpla Smash, a monster-battle game that features more than 100 different monsters to collect. The game is available on iOS now.

[Launch] Airport City lands on iPhone — Game Insight’s top-grossing strategy game Airport City is now available on the iPhone. It was previously available on Android devices and iPads.

[Launch] Outfit7 goes educational with Talking Ginger – Talking Friends developer Outfit7’s latest mobile app is Talking Ginger, an edutainment app designed help young children learn basic skills.

[Funding] Windows Phone voice assistant Ziggy picks up $5 million in funding — Ask Ziggy, a voice-powered virtual assistant similar to Siri for Windows Phone has picked up $5 million in funding from an undisclosed company. Ask Ziggy is using the money to bring its technology to Android and iOS, according to TechCrunch.