Mobile app news roundup: PayPal, Sony, GREE and Amazon

PayPal partners with Discover — Consumers will soon be able to use PayPal for physical transactions at more than 7 million new U.S. locations reports AllThingsD. According to a new deal signed with Discover, starting in April 2013 merchants that accept Discover payments will allow customers to pay with their PayPal charge cards, or by entering their phone number and PayPal pin number.

GREE signs up four new developers — SkyVu Entertainment, InfiniDy, Oceanside Interactive and Gamenauts are the latest developers to sign up for GREE’s new global mobile-social gaming platform.

Sony restructures mobile business — Sony has announced it will move the headquarters of its mobile phone business from Sweden to Japan. As part of the move, Sony will lay off more than 1000 division staff over the next two years. Sony’s mobile division makes Android powered smartphones.

Braintree acquires Venmo — Social payment app Venmo has been acquired by mobile and online payment solution provider Braintree for $26.2 million in cash and stock, according to the company’s Crunchbase profile.

Amazon calls for promotional app artwork — Amazon has called on its mobile development community to send in promotional artwork for their apps. According to an Amazon email, promotional images must be 1024 x 500 pixels, and will be used in featured placements.

GREE moves into merchandising — GREE has announced it is setting up a subsidiary to handle merchandising. According to Dr. Serktan Toto, the new company will be called GREE Entertainment Products, and will produce physical goods based on its mobile-social games.

Square Enix ports The World Ends with You — Square Enix is bringing its 2008 Nintendo DS role-playing game The World Ends with You to iOS. The company’s teaser countdown references the Japanese version of the game, but it is likely the game will come to iOS in English as well.

Chinese smartphone user distribution revealed — Chinese company Umeng has released a series of maps that outline Android and iOS smartphone penetration in China, reports Tech in Asia, which has the english translation of the data. According to Umeng, Android  and iOS devices are most popular in the coastal province of Guangdong, accounting for 16.5 and 12.5 of the country’s total share.

DeNA signs up Axel Mark — DeNA has signed a deal with Tokyo-based social game developer Axel Mark to bring the company’s games to North America via DeNA’s Mobage platform, reports Dr. Serktan Toto.

[Launch] Nukotoys releases mobile app powered trading cards — California-based Nukotoys has announced it is releasing two lines of collectible cards that are designed to be used in conjunction with a smartphone app. When used with the accompanying free app, the cards “come to life” as 3D in-game creatures.

[Launch] Gameloft touches down with Cosmic Colony — Gameloft’s latest casual free-to-play title Cosmic Colony has been released for iOS and Android. The game combines citybuilding with exploration.

[Launch] Fantasica debuts on Mobage — Silicon Studio has released an English version of its game Fantasica on iOS and Android through DeNA’s Mobage platform. The game, which features illustrations from Final Fantasy staffer Hideo Minaba is a hybrid role-playing game/tower defense/card-battle game.

[Launch] Dragon Collection comes to Canadian app store — Konami’s top grossing Japanese hit Dragon’s Collection is heading to North America, and is already live on the Canadian App Store. As industry watcher Dr. Serkan Toto notes, the card-battle game is the top-grossing third party game on GREE’s platform.

[Funding] Revel Touch nabs $10 million — Merchandising software creator Revel Touch has landed $10 million in funding from Foundation Capital and Lightspeed Ventures reports TechCrunch. The company’s software is designed to help retailers create better mobile shopping apps