Mobile App Roundup: The Rise of Android, Halfbrick Targets China and More

Survey Finds iOS is Only Profitable for a Minority of Developers — According to a survey conducted by independent Canadian developer Streaming Colour Studios, 20% of iOS developers take home 97% of all revenue generated on the platform. This isn’t really surprising given the economics of most gaming markets. However, keep in mind that the survey probably excludes responses of the highest-grossing developers who may be venture-backed and can’t disclose sensitive information like monthly revenues. In terms of lifetime revenue, while 25% of iOS developers have seen more than $30,000 from their apps, the money is very concentrated – the top 1% of developers currently account for 30% of all revenue generated by the App store.

Microsoft’s Mango Arrives, Brings Extras — The highly anticipated OS update Windows Phone 7.5 – aka Mango, began a gradual roll-out this week. The updated included a variety of new features that were previously announced, and two that weren’t – the ability to tether internet from a WP7 device to up to five other devices and a web-based marketplace that allows users to browse apps on a computer and remotely install them on a WP7 phone.

Android Phones now Twice as Popular as iPhones, But iPhone 5 is Hotly Anticipated —
The competition between Android and iOS continues to heat up, making BlackBerry and Windows Phones look increasingly like also-rans in the smartphone market. According to a new report from Nielsen, over the last three months more than half of smartphone buyers have chosen Android, rather than iOS. The numbers broke down to 56% Android, 28% iPhone, 9% BlackBerry and 6% other (including Windows Phone 7). However, as TechCrunch notes, with a new iPhone imminent, the numbers could be inaccurate. That conclusion seems to be backed up by the results of a study conducted by InMobi that found up to 41% of mobile consumers may purchase an iPhone 5. RIM fared particularly badly in the survey; up to 52% of BlackBerry users in North America are considering switching to the iPhone 5.

Gameloft Offerings Coming to Mysterious Sony Tablets — French developer Gameloft has signed a deal to bring optimized ports of some of their most popular games to an upcoming Sony tablet line.  Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD, Real Soccer 2011 HD, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem HD, and Green Farm HD will all be directly accessible on devices referred to as “Sony Tablet P” and “Sony Tablet S” by in a press release quoting Gameloft’s senior vice president of publishing, Gonzague de Vallois.

Microsoft & Samsung Reach Android Patent Detente — Microsoft and Samsung have agreed to halt legal battles over the use of Microsoft’s patents in Samsung’s Android devices. Under the terms of the new agreement, Samsung will now pay Microsoft a royalty fee for every Android phone and tablet it produces. Microsoft has also set up deals with HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, Velocity Micro and Winstron to license its portfolio of patents. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates that Microsoft will earn about $444 million in licensing revenue from such deals.

[Rumor] Ice Cream Sandwich to Debut on October 11th? — Samsung has announced a press event for October 11th, and industry watchers are betting that the event will see the unveiling of Samsung’s new Nexus Prime smartphone and the next Android OS update, Ice Cream SandwichVideo and photos of Ice Cream Sandwich have already leaked online, hinting that the update will bring interface improvements for notifications and the camera, as well as a slightly redesigned color scheme.

Halfbrick Wants 70 million More Chinese Downloads in Six Months — Fruit Ninja is already a big success for its developer Halfbrick; the game has been downloaded more than 66 million times and has been ported from iOS to Android, Windows Phone 7 and even Kinect, but the Australian developer is looking to China for continued growth. According to Halfbrick’s CEO Shainiel Deo, almost of third of Fruit Ninja’s downloads have come from Chinese users. In a speech at Beijing’s Mobitalk conference, Deo revealed that Halfbrick has formed a partnership with Chinese developer iDreamSky to develop free, localized versions of the game to combat piracy and allow Halfbrick to make money from in game ads and micro transactions.