Mobile App Roundup: GREE, Android Code & April Fool’s

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By Christopher Mack Comments

GreeGREE Launches Social Games for Smartphones — Japanese developer GREE has announced the launch of three of its popular social games for smartphones this week, says SerkanToto.com. The games include Tsuri Star, Monpla, and Kaizoku Koukoku Columbus, but are now touchscreen-optimized web apps, not separate ones. [image via SerkanToto.com]

Google Further Controls Android Code — In recent time, Google has been attempting to keep licensees, for Android, to abide by “non-fragmentation clauses,” says Bloomberg Businessweek, giving them the final say in how the code can be changed. In fact, such applies to Facebook as well, who has been working on it’s own variation of Android. Unnamed sources state that Facebook executives are “unhappy that Google gets to review Facebook’s tweaks to Android.” This follows on the heels of the recently delayed Honeycomb source code.

3D on iOS — According to PocketGamer, iOS users might have a new bit of 3D technology to play with. Big Head Games, in collaboration with Korean technology company Floorpali have developed a special plastic film that can be placed over an iDevice to provide glasses-free 3D; similar to that on the new Nintendo 3DS. Developers will have to utilize a Big Head Games SDK in order for the film to work.

Angry Birds Rio Breaches 10 Million & Gets a Movie Trailer — The new Rovio Mobile title, Angry Birds Riohas already breached 10 million downloads, says mobileentertainment. In fact, the franchise has become so popular that it’s even getting its own fan-made movie trailers.

Sega Sega Raises $250,000 for Japan Through iOS Games — Last week, SEGA hosted an App Store sale for all of its Sonic and Football Manager iOS games, with proceeds going to the Red Cross to help aid in the earthquake and tsunami recovery in Japan. The proceeds have been noted at $250,000. Those that still wish to contribute, may bid on eBay auctions found here.

Benchmark Capital’s Bill Gurley on the “Freight Train” that is Android: The venture capitalist says that Android is the “moat” that Google has built around its core revenue model of search. The operating system is a protective measure the company’s taken to prevent would-be rivals like Apple and Microsoft from having too much control over its end relationship with consumers and their attention. Gurley calls Android “the greatest legal destruction of wealth in history.”

Firefox 4 Comes to Android: Say yes to tabbed browsing and bookmark and history coordination between your desktop and mobile browsing habits. Mozilla released Firefox 4 for Android devices this week. It doesn’t do Flash unfortunately, but there are many other valuable features that come with it.

Google, Amazon and Microsoft Get into NFC: It seems like there’s a story a day about another tech giant fielding interest in NFC, which could lay the groundwork for consolidating credit cards into mobile devices. Google joined the non-profit industry association NFC Forum and may already be testing the technology with Verifone. Amazon is said to be considering it too. Microsoft may put it in the next version of the Windows Phone.

Yes, Twitter dropped the “Dickbar”: File this away in the history of unfortunate mobile advertising experiments. Twitter dropped a persistent mobile banner in its iOS that rotated through trending topics. Officially called the QuickBar, it was informally dubbed the “dickbar,” a reference to Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo and well, it’s annoying nature.

Sundrop Mobile Raises $900,000 To Focus on Data in Group Deals: This Florida-based company aims to let daily deal merchants like Groupon capture data about their customers. It’s partnered with point-of-sale software solutions like Micros to replace plastic loyalty cards with customers’ mobile phone numbers. That way businesses can monitor metrics like e-mail openings and coupon redemptions.

After a Kerfluffle, Opera Returns to GetJar’s Marketplace: The mobile browser, which has a big audience in the developing world, returned to independent app store GetJar. It was booted earlier in March after the company said it would open its own app store in partnership with PocketGear (now renamed to Appia). That would’ve put it in competition with GetJar.

Speaking of PocketGear (I mean, Appia), They Raised $10 Million: The company, which has a white label service that powers app stores for the biggest carriers and OEMs like Verizon, Samsung and AT&T, raised the funds from Venrock.

IAC Tries to Start Its Own Incubator for Mobile Apps, Hatch Labs: Media conglomerate IAC is trying its hand doing an incubator too. Led by Dinesh Moorjani, IAC’s former senior vice president of mobile, and housed in New York, the idea behind Hatch Labs is to bring in talent to prototype and develop new applications. Doing this inside a large company has its drawbacks, TechCrunch’s Leena Rao writes. We have a suspicion that AdMob founder Omar Hamoui’s Sequoia-backed Churn Labs will probably have more success.

Enterprise-focused Apperian Raises Raises $9.5 million in Funding: The company which tries to accelerate app development inside enterprises raised the funds from North Bridge Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ iFund, CommonAngels and LaunchCapital.

CNN Says Google is Building a Facial Recognition App. Google Disagrees: CNN claimed that Google may roll out a version of Goggles, its visual search app, that would recognize human faces then pull up their search results. Google denied this. That a facial recognition version of Goggles exists internally in the company has never really been a secret. Tim O’Reilly has talked about it in the past and various employees have mentioned its existence over the last year to us. It’s just that the search company recognizes it would be a somewhat boneheaded move to roll it out to the public without the right design and marketing approach — if it launched the app ever.

RIM Buys HTML5 Mobile App Testing Company TinyHippos: Like Google and Facebook, RIM is betting on HTML5 too. The Canadian company behind the BlackBerry said that it bought the Waterloo-based development team for their experience in mobile web development. Terms of the deal are not disclosed.

And now the fun part, April Fool’s Mobile App Round-Up!

Oogle-Gay Oice-Vay Earch-Say In-Way Ig-Pay Atin-Lay: It really works. Apparently, engineers had already built this internally awhile ago but they decided to roll it out for April Fools.

Mobile Payments Are Not Enough For Starbucks. Introducing Mobile Pour: The coffee chain may have one of the most successful mobile payments apps to date. But it’s decided to take it a step further with an app that will send a Starbucks employee scooting by to deliver users a coffee right there and then.

The Birds Are Out, Developers Are In With Angry Nerds: Australia’s Atlassian, which shares a venture investor with Angry Birds-maker Rovio Mobile, put their own spin on the game. Hurtling nerds attempt to squash out software bugs in this new physics title.