Posts Tagged ‘app store’

Amazon launches Android App Store, puts Google on notice

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The App Store. For the longest time, this phrase was associated with one place, and one place only; Apple. Either the patent for this phrase was overlooked, or simply denied, as Amazon.com has recently announced their own “App Store” vending Android OS apps. Likewise, it looks like Google just got a serious competitor.

TechCrunch first started circulating the news about an impending App Store for Amazon back in September of last year, and it looks to be spot on. January saw an open call for developer submissions, and three months later, Amazon is pulling the trigger. Again, while the initial news called a number of dead-on items, Amazon has managed to remain tight lipped about a few features that are clear USPs.

Amazon’s new App Store allows consumers to “Test Drive” just about any Android application directly from within their browser. Wow. Without getting into the highly technical wizardry that makes this happen; When a user clicks on “Test Drive,” Amazon triggers an Android emulator to launch. The emulator runs on flash, but allows for direct control of the app under consideration. Naturally, as an emulator, apps that take advantage of location and/or gyroscopes/accelerometer will not function properly, but just about every other feature remains true to the physical “real-world” counterpart.

To make sure that there’s a steady stream of traffic running through the Amazon App Store, the company has also instituted a “Free App of the Day,” program. Obviously, this has tremendous pull, as free apps will be selected by Amazon staffers, and provide an incentive for eager Android owners to return regularly to check in on their “Freebie.” Likewise, this freebie includes an upside for the developer(s). Amazon’s shake down works like so: If your app is selected to be the Free App of the Day, you’ll still be eligible for a 20% cut of the previously set list price. In other words, your decently selling app at $10, moving 1500 copies/per suddenly drops to free, you move 150,000+ copies in one day, and you still get a 20% cut. Bonus!

And now for the good news. Amazon’s launch of the App Store for Android now puts them in the driver’s seat of a car they know all too well: distribution. This marketplace marks the first serious competition to Google’s own official Android Marketplace. Taking cues from previous user experiences at the Google store, and adding a dash of Apple magic, Amazon has enacted a stringent app submission process, whereby they’ll be screening every app submission. This flies in the face of Google’s own process whereby screening standards can be a bit “relaxed.”

The one downside that Amazon is currently facing is combating the built in Android App market currently supplied on many Android devices. Instead of one clicking through to an app store, users would have to visit Amazon.com and then access the store. But then again, how long will it really take for an amazonappstore app to appear?

Amazon.com is a massive and long standing member on the digital front. They already sell their own hardware via the kindle, and now an Android apps store? Anyone want to lay their money down on how long it will take for Amazon to drop the Kindle OS, and start installing Android? My guess – Christmas 2011.

 

Stonetrip’s ShiVa 3D engine ports iPhone games to Android in under and hour

Friday, March 19th, 2010

France based gaming engine developer Stonestrip announced yesterday that their ShiVa 3D gaming engine now supports the Android platform. Those already employing ShiVa’s technology now have beta access to the authoring tool, with a full release slated for sometime within the next two weeks.

shivaDevelopers using ShiVa technology now have access to the PC, Mac, Linux, Web, iPhone and Android platform all under one familiar roof. In other words, this engine will now allow developers to write code one time, and then port to all these various platforms. To illustrate the power of this new development, ShiVa user DVide Arts demonstrated porting it’s Crusade of Destiny title for iPhone to Android with only a few clicks. Less than an hour later, the title was fully Android Ready.

“With the success of iPhone and the App store, we see Android as a platform with a lot of potential. Being on the target platform early will allow ShiVa developers to capture the audience early and build their brands,” said Philip Belhassen, CEO of Stonetrip. “iPhone apps built in ShiVa can quickly and easily be ported to Android with minimal effort. It’s literally just a few clicks to port a game.”

This new development opens a whole new world to developers. This is certainly not the first or last that we’ve heard surrounding the iPhone -> Android conversion process, but this IS the first real world demonstration of it that we’ve seen. Previously, games developers had to make a distinct choice: iPhone or Android? While Ngmoco’s Neil Young says that he likes Android, but that the company will still stay with the iPhone as their platform of choice. With the advent of the ShiVa 3D development tool, developers may no longer have to make that choice. Granted, they will need to rethink their development, and utilize the Stonestrip engine.

However, for startups and hobbyist game development folks, the ShiVa 3D engine could become extremely attractive, simply based on its “code it once, port it overnight” features. The ShiVa engine has been specifically designed to ease the process of creation, as well as maximizing the space for content on mobile and browser based platforms. More than 8,000 applications have already been developed using the ShiVa engine, according to Stonestrip.

Technical demos of Stonestrip’s Shiva 3D engine can be found here.

 

New, legal, iTunes alternative App Store premiers at CES 2010

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

While it’s waned in the overall ‘must see’ show of the year, the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is still alive and kicking. This year’s CES, held in Las Vegas has already had a notable highlight, and just on it’s opening day. The mind behind one of iPhone’s earliest hit apps, Steve Sheraton of Hottrix (iBeer), announced a fully legal iTunes app store alternative.

YourAppShopTitled YourAppShop, Sheraton says that the platform was created out of the frustration he, and a majority of other developers have faced in the past of Apple’s highly restrictive (and time consuming) approval process. Sheraton seeks to bypass the middle man with YourAppShop, and allow developers to ship directly to consumers.

“For years, developers of all sizes have been denied access to the world’s largest app store for a variety of reasons thanks to a lengthy and convoluted corporate process,” Sheraton said. “These policies have hampered certain labels from creating personalized, branded apps. Your App Shop is a brilliant opportunity for companies with content not allowed on iTunes or those that just want to bypass Apple completely.”

The YourAppShop platform will provide developers with a ‘one stop shop’ solution that will allow developers and companies to reach customers with specific, targeted apps. On the other end of the spectrum, users can access these apps in very much the way the do now, however, instead of going to the App Store found within iTunes, users visit yourappshop.com to access apps. Apps are then downloaded for free and are available immediately via a cloud based admin. This method will allow for both on and offline content delivery. Notably, the platform also offers a integrated micropayment system that allows users to use the similar ‘one click purchase’ method familiar to iTunes App Store users. No word yet on the availability of microtransaction monetization for developers, but if the project is a success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be one of the first features added to the lineup.

YourAppShop isn’t a project that’s been born overnight. It’s already been tested and based on technology used by two genre specific app shops – the Premier App Shop, and store for magic trick apps, and the Sex App Shop, do I even need to describe this one? Incidentally, the Sex App Shop has already seen 2 million downloads since it’s launch.

“It’s amazingly simple for content owners to sign up, create an app and repurpose their content with our technology,” said Maria Gara, owner of Premier App Shop LLC. “The Premier App Shop was created out of our own need to find an alternative to iTunes. This means we did all the hard work so others can enjoy the benefits of having their own licensed, branded app store with the content they want, delivered when they want it.”

While market competition is always a good thing, there IS a word to be said about Apple’s approval standards. The App Store is already an overcrowded party, with special award ceremonies and spotlight features needed to help consumers separate the wheat from the chaff. And there seems to be arguably, quite a bit of chaff in the silos already. By letting just about anyone into the iPhone party, is YourAppStore simply letting poor quality/gimmicky apps in the front door? If the safeguarded iTunes App Store is already packed with useless apps, how will YourAppStore guarantee the same experience, without the corporate bureaucracy? And if they don’t…would you want YOUR business’ app swimming in a sea of mediocrity?

 

8 out of 10 ‘2009 Best App Ever’ contenders are games

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Sponsored by 148Apps, the second annual ‘Best App Ever Awards’ nominees have recently been published at bestappever.com and voting is now open. The annual competition seeks to find the best apps in the iTunes App store. The goal of the project is to spotlight the very best apps based on consumer views, not just the highest sellers of 2009.  And according to consumers, 8 out of the top 10 ‘best apps’ this year are in fact, games.

bestappeverLasting just under a month, the public nomination process saw 26,899 opinions, and listed 3,639 different apps. BestAppEver breaks apps down into 56 unique award categories. Along with public opinions, 148Apps also brought in a team of industry people and iPhone application developers to help narrow down the nomination process.

Again, while BestAppEver breaks nominations out into 56 distinct categories, there’s one category that is very unique: (quite literally) Best App. The nominees for this category represent the top 10 vote getters in the initial round of voting.  App developer Firemint had two entries make the list, Real Racing and Flight Control, priced at $4.99 and $0.99 respectively. But perhaps the most notable of all nominees is ngmoco’s free, free-to-play FPS shooter: Eliminate.

You’ll remember that ngmoco was one of the very first iPhone app developers to take advantage of Apple removing the microtransactions restriction, even choosing to break the news via a tweet. A little over a half a month later, they made good on their promise and delivered a free-to-play handheld shooter with quite good graphics and a microtransaction system in place. Now, not that I’m trying to rig the voting – but doesn’t a free-to-play app certainly deserve a vote? Especially when it’s the only free app in the list?

Voting is now open at bestappever.com and closes on January 31st. Winners will be announced on February 10th at the 2010 Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

 

Christmas Day: huge surge in iPhone and iPod Touch app downloads

Monday, December 28th, 2009

In case there was any concern whether or not Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch were to be a seller this holiday season, new data from app analytics firm Flurry shows Apple still clearly dominating the app download market.

The data released shows that the App store saw a 51 percent increase in activity between the 26th of November and the 26th of December. In comparison, the Android Market showed only a 22 percent growth rate over the same time period. According to Flurry, the App Store delivers a whopping thirteen times as many downloads as their nearest competitor, Google’s Android Market.

iPhone App Store vs

In terms of usage, Christmas Day saw an increase 10x of Apple app downloads when compared to the previous Fridays in December. Interestingly, it wasn’t just the iPhone that was driving activity. The big winner this holiday season might just be the iPod Touch. According to Flurry, Christmas Day saw a 10x increase in iPod touch activity, including present and past generation models. Flurry attributes the jump in activity to iTunes gift cards ranking high on shoppers’ lists. However, this spike in iPod Touch activity indicates the first time ever that the Touch has overtaken the iPhone in downloads. And not only did the iPod Touch beat the iPhone, it blew it away, with the iPod Touch seeing 3x the activity that the iPhone saw.

While this increase in iPod Touch activity overshadows iPhone app downloads, it’s most probably a fluke, as excited new iPod Touch users were eager to being playing with their shiny new toys. However, this activity does fall nicely in line with Apple’s commitment to taking a foothold in the hand held gaming market. Apple did sell a lot of ‘handheld gaming devices’ this Christmas season, and the question remains: can they capitalize on it (in time) in 2010?