Mobile Roundup: RIM, Funding, iPhone 5, Samsung & More

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By Christopher Mack Comment

RIMRIM Lays Off 2,000 Employees — BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion has had its share of problems in recent time, and as a result it has laid off 2,000 of its employees. Additionally, RIM has expanded the executive roles of Thorsten Heins and Patrick Spence who will take on the jobs of COO of product and sales and managing director of global sales and regional marketing respectively.

Samsung to Potentially Become Top Smartphone Maker — According to Bloomberg, research firm Strategy Analytics believes that Samsung’s smartphone sales may surpass that of both Nokia and Apple. Strategy Analytics estimates that Samsung has sold between 18 and 21 million smartphones during the last quarter, while Nokia is recorded at 16.7 million and Apple at 20.3 million.

Unfortunately, as reported by TechCrunch, and according to Samsung’s “new information policy,” the exact number was not released in the company’s Q2 earnings report.

Hidden Expedition[Launch] Big Fish Games Launches Game on Kindle — Casual and mobile games developer Big Fish Games has launched one of its early iPad titles on the Amazon Kindle, Hidden Expedition: Amazon. The now black and white hidden object game currently costs $4.99.

[Launch] Streamzoo to Challenge Instagram — VentureBeat has highlighted an interesting new photography app looking to compete with Instagram, dubbed Streamzoo. Not only does the application allow users to organize, discover, and share photos and video, but it also allows them to add various special effects such as borders, filters, and so on.

[Launch] Skyfire Converts Flash to be Viewable on iOS — TechCrunch has come across an interesting new mobile app from Skyfire. With their newly released VideoQ application, users can browse the web and through and mail links of Flash videos to video@skyfire.com and upon launching VideoQ, it will be converted and ready for playback.

[Launch] Qualcomm Augmented Reality SDK For iOS — Already available for Android, Qualcomm’s augmented reality SDK is now available for iOSTechCrunch covers. The beta version now allows iOS developers to more easily implement visual-recognition systems into their applications.

[Launch] BBC Launches iPlayer Service in Western Europe — According to VentureBeat, BBC Worldwide is launching its iPlayer streaming media service in Western Europe this week for iPad. The service provides on demand streaming for BBC programs and is slated for Canadian, Australian, and U.S. releases later this year.

Zombie Farm[Update] Zombie Farm Goes Social — The Playforge’s Zombie Farm has received a significant social update this week. The mobile farming simulation title, with zombies, has added in several social mechanics such as visiting friends, connecting to a social community, playing games of “Zombie Tag,” and sending gifts.

Angry Birds HD Receives Price Cut — Though the top paid iPad app was Sid Meier’s Pirates! for a short while, Rovio Mobile has reclaimed its top spot with Angry Birds HD. The sudden boost is due to the game’s first ever price cut, that has reduced it to $1.99.

All AT&T Android Phones to Get Gingerbread — Android phone owners received a bit of good news this week, as service provider AT&T has confirmed that all of its Android OS phones that were released in 2011 will be getting the Gingerbread upgrade, reports TechCrunch. This includes the HTC Inspire 4G, LG Phoenix, Motorola Atrix 4G, Pantech Crossover, Samsung Captivate, and the Samsung Infuse 4G.

Alibaba Launches Mobile OS — China-based Alibaba has launched a new mobile operating system dubbed “Alyun OS” to compete against Android and iOS in China, reports BBC News. According to Alibaba president Wang Jian, “the cloud OS, with its use of cloud-based applications,” will provide mobile users with “a more open and convenient mobile operation system.”

iPad 3 Presumed for November Release — According to the Taiwan Economic News, the iPad 3 is to be created by device manufacturer Pegatron. Moreover, the tablet is expected to be released by Thanksgiving, based on reports from the China Times.

RIM Purchases JayCut — On the acquisition front, RIM has also shown activity, purchasing Swedish video editing company, JayCut. Fiscal details have not been disclosed, but JayCut will work to provide video editing capabilities to the BlackBerry platform.

Zokem Acquired by Arbitron — The four-year-old mobile research firm of Zokem was acquired this week by consumer research company, Arbitron. The total for the acquisition is approximately $24 million with $11.7 million paid already with an additional possible payout of $12 million through 2014.

Canvas Raises $1.2 Million — Canvas, whose platform helps companies create and distribute mobile business apps, has raised $1.2 million in a Series B round. The round was led by Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.

Motorola Releases Q2 Earnings — Motorola Mobility released its second quarter earnings report this week, noting $3.3 billion in net revenue (28 percent higher year-over-year) with mobile devices revenue up 41 percent year-over-year, reaching $2.4 billion. Additionally, Motorola reports 11 million mobile devices being shipped with 4.4 million being smartphones. GAAP net loss was .19 per share and Non-GAAP earnings were .09 per share.

Angry Birds ChinaRovio Mobile Partners with Madhouse in China — Rovio Mobile is looking to expand its Angry Birds fan base deep into China by announcing its partnership with major Chinese ad network, Madhouse. Madhouse will drive Rovio’s marketing campaign, but additional mobile ad industry partners are noted to be announced soon. Currently, Angry Birds has been downloaded over 300 million times, globally.

[image via Rovio Mobile]

Spotify Hit with Patent Lawsuit — More out of hand patent infringement lawsuits arise as European company Spotify– who provides a streaming music service — as been hit with one from PacketVideo within two weeks of coming to the U.S. The issue is centered around streaming music itself; namely “a device for the distribution of music information in digital form.”

Foursquare & Groupon From Partnership — According to Mashable, the companies of Groupon and Foursquare have formed a partnership in order to provide location-based deals when checking into Foursquare. Already live in Chicago, the feature is expected to span the U.S. and Canada by Sunday.

Android Continues to Top Smartphone Market — While many consumers are looking to buy an iPhone 5, Nielson is reporting that the majority of the smartphone market share still goes to Android with 39 percent. Apple currently holds 28 percent.

Interestingly enough, Asymco reports Apple still walks away with about two-thirds of overall mobile phone profits for Q2.

Nielson

Urban Airship Partners with SimpleGeo — The companies of Urban Airship and SimpleGeo have formed a partnership to provide better location-based data and services for mobile applications. According to comments given to VentureBeat from SimpleGeo, the two companies are “helping developers increase the relevance of push alerts,” by improving when notifications are sent based on proximity data. The example given is not sending a message when one friend checks in at a location, but if five did from the same, nearby, location.

Smartphone Sales to Top 1 Billion by 2016 — More postive reports on the growth of mobile as IMS Research has released a new report stating that by 2016, smartphone sales will exceed 1 billion devices. 420 million — 28 percent of the global handset market — is expected by the end of 2011.

Samsung Galaxy S II Hits 5 Million Sales — Adding to total global smartphone sales is Samsung. Their new Android handset, the Samsung Galaxy S II has sold 5 million units in 85 days after being released in both Asia and Europe this past April.

35% of U.S. Consumers to Buy iPhone 5 — Curiously enough, PriceGrabber has conducted a survey that displays an impressive demand for the iPhone 5 (which hasn’t even officially been announced). Based on responses from 2,852 individuals, 35 percent intend to buy the device if and when it is released.

Games & Entertainment Top Mobile Usage — Geekaphone has put together a wonderful infographic highlighting the astounding growth of the mobile games market. With the mobile entertainment industry, as a whole, worth $33 billion in 2010, mobile gaming is expected to be valued at $8 in 2011 and $11.4 billion in 2014.

iPhone 5[Rumor] AT&T Prepares for iPhone 5 Launch — While on the topic of the iPhone 5, according to Boy Genius Report, a “proven source” has noted that AT&T has begun to prepare for the iPhone 5 launch, informing employees to  complete training in preparation for an “influx of foot traffic expected in September.” Additionally, BGR notes that Apple Stores are hiring more staff for “new product launches.”

To further add to the rumors, 9to5mac.com came across some images of a “likely” Apple employee making used of what looked to be an iPhone 5 on a train in San Francisco. To further feed the rumor fires, 9to5mac.com has also supposedly discovered the iPhone 5 in Korean carriers’ inventory system.

[image via 9to5mac.com]
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