1）雅虎日前针对智能手机应用检索及曝光率难题，推出了一项新的搜索服务Yahoo App Search（面向电脑用户），以及一个Yahoo AppSpot应用程序（面向iPhone和Android用户）。
4）Unity Technologies公司日前面向在线及iPhone游戏开发者推出新版3D游戏开发引擎，支持他们使用Unity 3D技术提高游戏画面质量，缩小与传统掌机游戏在视觉效果上的差距（从下图的《ShadowGun》这款游戏中，我们就可以看出使用该技术开发的游戏画面质量）。
据该公司高管Chris Akhavan所称，有不少顶级开发商向其表示，他们在Android平台的应用内置计费服务的营收分成高于在iOS平台的情况。Akhavan则认为，Andorid Market的应用排名算法仍侧重于下载量，所以Tapjoy提供的刺激下载服务在Android平台更不易引起争议，不过他们也有打算推出按用户粘性提供奖励（cost-per-engagement，即用户如果按要求完成阅读新手教程，或升级至某一关卡等任务，即可赢取相关奖励）这类新型服务。
6）手机游戏开发商Smith & Tinker近日推出一款根据惊奇漫画（Marvel Entertainment）人物角色而开发的iPhone游戏《Marvel KAPOW!》。玩家在这款动作冒险游戏中的任务就是扮演金钢狼、蜘蛛侠、雷神托尔等角色，打倒Magneto和Dr.Doom等反派角色。
1）Yahoo wants to navigate the flood of mobile apps
“Discovery” is one of the most common complaints about the ever-growing number of smartphone apps: With hundreds of thousands of apps, how can people find the best one for whatever they’ re looking for? Now Yahoo is making an effort to solve the problem, both on your computer with a new Yahoo App Search service, and on iPhones and Android devices with a new Yahoo AppSpot app.
Shashi Seth, Yahoo’s senior vice president of search and marketplaces, compared the current state of the app world to the early days of the Web, before Yahoo’s founders made navigation easier with their listings and search engine. In fact, he said that people are already using Yahoo Search as a way to find apps. So, as part of the company’s broader mission to provide “answers, not links” (a common claim among search engines), Yahoo tried to provide more information for people searching for apps.
Now, when you search for an app by name or type, instead of just offering a link to a listing in an app store, Yahoo now points people to a Yahoo profile page about the app, including reviews, an overall star rating, screenshots, and pricing. If you decide that you want to try the app, you can scan the QR code on the profile with your device, or Yahoo can send a text message to your phone with a link to the store. Yahoo also points to related apps and, if you’ve downloaded the AppSpot app, it provides daily app recommendations, personalized based on factors like what apps you’ve already downloaded to your phone.（source:venturebeat）
2）FunChat Combines Text, Chat, Pranks, Virtual Goods, And Social Gaming All In One Free App
Today, FunMobility introduces a new app to its menagerie of fun, called FunChat, which blends chat, multiplayer HTML5 games, virtual currency, rewards and achievements into a realtime user experience for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android.
The app’s multiplayer HTML5 game rooms include casual games like concentration, carnival duck shooting, match-3, racing, and more, optimized for HTML5 on iPhone and Android devices. Within the FunChat app, users can compete for FunGold, the app’s virtual currency, which is earned playing games and messing around on the app and can then be redeemed in-app to get goods and prizes like avatars, chat bubbles, and pranks.（source:techcrunch）
3）Apple Patent Application Describes Location-Based Social Network
by Jordan Crook
After Ping’s not-exactly-earth-shattering launch, Apple has remained relatively quiet on the social networking front. However, a freshly discovered patent application suggests the company isn’t quite ready to toss in its friend-making towel quite yet.
Filed towards the end of 2009, the patent application describes a location-based social network that lets users find people nearby that share common interests, including books, movies, and,of course, music.
The idea bears some resemblance to Color, the recently launched photo-sharing network which groups people according to venue. Like Color, Apple’s social network can connect you to others nearby, allowing you to partake in the Internet generation’s favorite pastime: sharing experiences with complete strangers without having to actually talk to anybody. This isn’t Apple’s first time to play around with the idea of a location-based social network; an “iGroups” patent application surfaced midway through last year, but nothing really ever came of it.（source:mobilecrunch）
4）Unity launches new version of 3D game engine technology
Hoping to close the graphics quality gap with game tool makers that focus on console-quality graphics, Unity Technologies is launching a new version of its game engine that powers online games and iPhone apps.
The new version of the Unity 3D technology means that online games and iPhone games will start to look a little bit more like console games with high-end graphics. The image from the game ShadowGun above shows that Unity’s 3D quality is pretty good. But it’s still not quite as good as some of the best graphics you see in games such as the upcoming Battlefield 3. It’s a long time before Unity gets there, said David Helgason, chief executive of Unity, but he said this is a step in the right direction.
“The most interesting part is we are accelerating our roadmap continuously,” Helgason said.
San Francisco-based Unity launched as a low-end browser-based 3D technology six years ago. Now it has more than 500,000 developers, with 150,000 of them active every month. Games built with Unity can display decent quality 3D graphics, for both online and iPhone games. When a user downloads a Unity-based game, they also download the Unity plug-in. That plug-in has now been installed more than 60 million times.
The new version of Unity supports the Substance technology from French tool-maker Allegorithmic. That technology lets a developer create pieces of game art, known as textures, semi-automatically. It saves on bandwidth and costs. The result should be that graphics will look better in Unity-based games.
Unity now has more than 125 employees. About 50 percent of the company’s revenues come from outside the U.S. and 30 percent of the revenue is non-gaming related. The company has been on the iPhone since 2008 and launched on Android last year. The number of games using Unity is perhaps 2,000 or so on the iPhone and more than 12,000 on the web.（source:venturebeat）
5）Tapjoy Launches $5 Million Fund to Port Games to Android
By Kim-Mai Cutler
Tapjoy, which drives downloads for mobile developers by cross-promoting apps across a network of titles, launched a $5 million fund to port iOS apps to Android.
Basically, for certain types of games (e.g. freemium ones that monetize with virtual goods), Tapjoy will finance adapting them so they can work on Android devices. The assistance could include just financing, or it could involve Tapjoy actually doing the port in-house with their own developers, or outsourcing it to other companies. Porting a title can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on what language the app is originally written in.
In return, the company’s wants the ability to distribute and monetize these titles through offer walls once they launch on Android. In some cases, Tapjoy will give developers free credits that will cover the cost of downloads.
For background, Tapjoy is the biggest player in incentivized installs, where developers pay every time their app is downloaded through an offer wall in another game. Game developers often host offer walls so that players who can’t or aren’t willing to pay for virtual currency in a game can get virtual rewards for free if they download other apps.
The fund’s launch comes at a sensitive time for Tapjoy after Apple began cracking down on such offer walls two months ago, arguing that they are used to manipulate chart rankings. Since then, many of Tapjoy’s biggest partners have pulled their offer walls out in order to comply with Apple’s new policies and the company’s network on iOS has likely shrunk dramatically since then.
However, Android is picking up as the platform is seeing north of 400,000 device activations a day. Tapjoy’s Chris Akhavan, who heads the company’s publisher development team, said that in December, Tapjoy was driving “tens of thousands” of downloads a day, but now it’s doing “hundreds of thousands” of downloads.
He added that Google’s in-app billing system is turning out to be more comparable to Apple’s in-app purchases system than the company thought.
“In some cases, top developers are telling us that the share of revenue coming from in-app billing [versus advertising, etc.] on Android is higher than it is on iOS,” he said.
He added that because Android Market’s rankings take much more than download rates into account, it’s harder to raise the criticism that Tapjoy’s incentivized installs are gaming store rankings. Still, the company’s trying to offer other products like cost-per-engagement (or paying every time a user reaches a certain action in the game like finishing a tutorial or leveling up to a certain point) that counter skepticism about their model.（source:insidemobileapps）
6）Smith & Tinker returns with Marvel superhero game for iPhone
Updated with comments from Smith & Tinker CEO Joe Lawandus.
Mobile game developer Smith & Tinker has resurfaced with Marvel KAPOW!, an iPhone game based on Marvel comic book characters.
Given the spate of movies based on Marvel comics coming out these days (XMen: First Class, Thor, the soon-to-be released Captain America), its no surprise the company wanted to launch a game based on the epic superheroes.
Marvel Entertainment inked a licensing agreement with Seattle-based Smith & Tinker last year. The resulting game is an action adventure that lets players take on the role of Wolverine, Spiderman, Thor and others to fight villain bots like Magneto and Dr. Doom.
“We’re huge fans of Marvel characters and their storylines; similar to what they’ve done theatrically with the near universal appeal of movies like Iron Man, we felt there was an untapped opportunity to go after a huge, casual audience in the mobile gaming space,” said Smith & Tinker CEO Joe Lawandus in an email exchange.
There are two versions available in Apple’s App Store, a free version and one for $1.99, and players use gestures like a finger swipe or flick to defeat the villains. The free version features 23 classic play levels, three boss levels and an arcade mode. Smith & Tinker said more hero powers and villain bots will be released later this year.（source:techflash）
7）Symbian on top in Spain as Nokia backed OS takes 65% smartphone share
by Keith Andrew
Given the North American perspective of much of the mobile press, it’s easy to assume that Finnish giant Nokia is a spent force, given the lack of presence the manufacturer has in the region.
There are territories in Europe, however, where Nokia and its associated OS Symbian is still the one to beat, as proven by statistics released by Nielsen that hand it a 56 percentage point lead over both iOS and Android.
Based on said stats, which conclude that more than 39 percent of all mobile Spaniards now own smartphones, Symbian holds a 65 percent share of the Spanish smartphone market.
That puts it well ahead of its closest rivals iOS and Android, which both hold a 9 percent share each.
“Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are both tied with 9 percent, though Android seems to be growing its share more quickly, with a 7 point gain since the last quarter compared to the 3 percentage point increase seen by iOS,” Nielsen states on its blog, also noting a 9 percent decline for Symbian since Q4 2010.
Still, during a period where bad news about Nokia is hardly hard to find, such reports will be valued by the firm as it nears the adoption of Windows Phone in 2012.
Indeed, though Microsoft currently holds just 6 percent of the smartphone market in Spain, that’s a share that could leap dramatically if existing Nokia customers stay loyal to the brand when they upgrade their handsets in the coming years.（source:pocketgamer）