Mobile App Roundup: RIM, Angry Birds Hunt For Pistachios, Burstly Funding

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

“Cyber Monday” Big Business for Mobile Shoppers –  Cyber Monday, the online shopping sale that follows Black Friday was big business this year. IBM reports that mobile devices accounted for 10.8% of visits to retailer’s sites, up from 3.9% of visits in 2010. Mobile purchases were also up, accounting for 6.6% of total sales.  PayPal also had a banner day, reporting a 514% increase in mobile payments over the same day in 2010.

Unity Will Support HTML5 When HTML5 is Good Enough – Unity CEO David Helgason has said his company’s game engine will support HTML5 once the platform is able to meet Unity’s standards. In an interview with Develop, Helgason said that HTML5 was a good platform, but falls short for gaming due to issues with JavaScript.

iOS & Android Control 71% of US Smartphone Market – The race for domination of the US is narrowing, even as more choices become available. According to a study by Nielsen, Android and iOS devices account for 71% of all smartphones – leaving RIM (17.8%), Windows (6.1% for Windows Mobile, 1.2% for Windows Phone 7), Palm (2.2%) and Symbian (1.7%) far behind. 44% of US mobile subscribers now have smartphones.

This Week in RIM - It was a busy week for beleaguered smartphone developer RIM. The Canadian company announced earlier this week it would make its industry leading security features available for non-BlackBerry devices, which will give the company a way to keep its hold on corporate communications as users switch to other devices. In other RIM news, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company would be taking a $485 million charge after marking down the value of its large inventory of unsold PlayBook tablets.

Games Return to South Korean Android Store - Google is reintroducing games into the South Korean Android market now that the country’s mobile games ratings requirement has been lifted. Apple reintroduced games to the South Korea App store earlier this month.

HP Will Decide Fate of WebOS Before End of Year - HP CEO Meg Whitman has revealed the tech giant will make a decision on the fate of its WebOS operating system within two weeks, according to an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro.

Kindle Fire Outsells iPad at Best Buy – Amazon’s $199.99 Kindle Fire has had a strong sales debut. Amazon has already increased its order for the tablets, and Techcrunch is now pointing out that according to electronics retailer Best Buy, the device is now the most popular tablet it sells, beating out the iPad 2.

Siri Isn’t Anti-Choice, Just in Beta - Apple’s digital assistant Siri came under fire this week for directing women looking for abortion clinics and birth control to pro-life organizations. In response to a letter from Nancy Keenan, president of the Pro-Choice America Foundation, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote, “these are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks.”

Yandex Picks up SPB Software for $38 Million - Russian search engine company Yandex has bought another Russian company, SPB Software. According to TechCrunch, the deal was worth $38 million. A Yandex press release revealed that the company bought SPB to integrate its search and cloud services into the popular SPB Shell 3D Android app.

Fake Apps Infest Android Store – Scammers pretending to be Rovio infiltrated the Android market earlier this week with fake games according to The Gadgets. The apps, which made themselves out to be popular titles such as Angry Birds 3D and Tiny Wings,  did not work and customers could not get refunds. Google has since removed the offending apps. The Android market has come under scrutiny recently for its lack of a vetting process, which makes it far easier for malicious and fake apps to become listed in its store. The Juniper Global Threat Center released a report earlier this month reporting that the amount of malware in the Android market has increased by 472% since July.

Match.com Removed from App Store for Bypassing Apple’s 30% Fee – TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has kicked Match.com’s app from the App store. The app promoted users to pay for subscriptions through a external link, rather than as an in-app purchase, which dodged Apple’s 30 percent take on all in-app purchases and violated Apple’s terms of service.

Square Teams with DeNA for Final Fantasy Social Game - Andriasang is reporting that Square Enix and Mobage operator DeNA are teaming to release a new social game called Final Fantasy Brigade. The game will include standbys of the Final Fantasy IP like airships, jobs and summons. The game will debut in Japan on feature phones, but will be coming to the web and smartphones at some point.

Angry Birds Discover Love of Pistachios With New Branded Game - Rovio has signed a deal with Paramount Farms to promote its Wonderful Pistachios brand with a new branded Angry Birds game. The game is called The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio and offers more than $300,000 dollars in prizes for players who can successfully find and crack a golden pistachio while playing.

Notch Passes Minecraft Torch – Gamasutra has learned that Minecraft creator and lead developer Markus Perrson, aka Notch, has passed the reigns for the hit sandbox game to fellow Mojang employee Jens Bergensten. Minecraft started life on the PC and has gone on to sell more than 4 million copies. The mobile ports of the game are best sellers on both Android and iOS.

[Funding] Mobile Ad Company Burstly Raises $5.5 Million in Series B - Mobile advertising startup Burstly has raised $5.5 million from GRP Partners, Rincon Venture Partners and Softbank Capital to launch its Burstly Rewards program. The program allows developers to mix and match third party networks and providers.