Why Do Some Games Launch Simultaneously on iOS and Android and Others Don’t? The Answer May Be Money.

Why Do Some Games Launch Simultaneously on iOS and Android and Others Don’t? The Answer May Be Money.

Apr 21, 2014

Ever wonder why some games seem to come to Android later than others? Well, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple is offering some companies promotion in exchange for giving games exclusive launches on iOS, with games like Cut the Rope 2 and Plants vs. Zombies 2 all mentioned as part of such arrangements. This is only true in some cases: Android is often the second platform that is targeted by developers, especially smaller ones, due to the challenges in working with many devices. Google and Amazon have also arranged for exclusives in exchange for promotion as well. So, the next time a game does or doesn’t come to Android when it’s on another platform, the reason might just be because money has changed hands.

Solitaire 3D Now On Android

Solitaire 3D Now On Android

Dec 13, 2013

Already making waves on the iOS App Store, Solitaire 3D is now updated and ready to go on the Google Play store in both an ad-supported free version as well as a paid Pro version that costs $2.99.

Players can play a very traditional version of Klondike solitaire in a lovely 3D environment, that now contains online leader boards, in both standard and Vegas scoring.

A New Real-Time Strategy Game, Autumn Dynasty, Is Released On Android

A New Real-Time Strategy Game, Autumn Dynasty, Is Released On Android

Sep 30, 2013

Strategic beauty and artistic beauty come together in a game that has rich, complex mechanics alongside fine graphics. It has already seen some success on iOS, and now, Autumn Dynasty finally has an Android Release. It is available for digital download from here: Autumn Dynasty on Google Play

Joining Hands 2 Joins Android

Joining Hands 2 Joins Android

Sep 9, 2013

Joining Hands 2 2

Joining Hands 2, a cute positional puzzle, got released on Android yesterday. The goal is to drop the small, cute creatures in the positions so that they all would hold hands together. It’s all lovely and endearing, until you get stuck. It’s always like that in puzzles. The game is available here: Joining Hands 2 on Google Play

The Hills Are Greener: Five Years Later, What Separates the App Culture on iOS and Android Still?

The Hills Are Greener: Five Years Later, What Separates the App Culture on iOS and Android Still?

Jul 8, 2013

The App Store turns five this week, and it looks like it’s going to be a big deal: a variety of high-profile freebies are being made available, including classics like Where’s My Water?, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, and even a recent hit like Badlands.

It’s hard to think that the land of mobile apps has been around for so long already – Google Play is actually close to turning 5 as well, with the Android Market having launched initially in October 2008. There’s a lot of apps, and a lot of Android devices out there – likely more than the App Store at this point.

It just still feels like the App Store is just a bigger deal, for whatever reason. Is it because of the Apple mystique that causes everything surrounding the App Store to feel more elevated, more important.

AppleStore

Perhaps it has to do with the community around the App Store? I’ve often felt that the lack of a promo code system on Google Play has limited what the press can do, as developers are often hesitant to send out APKs of their games. That’s an easy route to piracy.

As well, dropping an app’s price to free temporarily just does not happen on Google Play, so it’s not a way to promote apps. Why this has yet to change is baffling because it continues to arise as a problem.

But really, what do ascribe as the biggest reason for the difference between the culture of iOS and Android? iOS, because of the limited amount of hardware that can run it, has to focus on the apps. Android users tend to focus more on their devices, customizing them, hacking them…the app-focused culture isn’t there because it doesn’t necessarily have to be pointed in that direction.

However, Android continues to grow in prominence, and is still on the receiving end of many major apps and games. And I have talked to developers that have seen better performance on Android than on iOS because of the audience. As well, the core gamer audience may prefer Android. Perhaps it’s that hacker culture, or the availability of gamepads.

Whatever the reason for the different cultures, one can only hope that the app marketplaces can keep going strong for another five years. And who knows, maybe the culture will be dramatically changed by then as well…

The Hills Are Greener: Android’s Greater Mission

The Hills Are Greener: Android’s Greater Mission

May 6, 2013

One of the beautiful things about Android is how open it is for developers. It’s possible for anyone to make an app and put it out there to the world. One may say that the second part is true as well, but this has been difficult thanks to the regulations of the popular distribution mechanisms. However, there remains one big philosophical difference between the two platforms: Android allows unapproved software to live, Apple does not.

The thing that reminded me of this was learning of the existence of a store called F-Droid. Does the world need another app store? Probably not in most cases, but this store’s hook is interesting: it’s all free and open source software. There’s a wide variety of apps, many of which are on popular stores like Google Play as well, but their featuring here is in support of a greater mission. The store has limited regulations, largely regarding the open source nature of projects and the privacy of the data that apps should use.

fdroid-135Is this store going to change the world? No, and it doesn’t have to. It just has to exist as a way of showing that apps that believe in the free distribution of software can exist on a platform built on those principles. Google may have their own restrictions and regulations for Google Play, some of which are solely self-serving, but ultimately, their decisions are always tinged with the ultimate reminder that “just because we reject something, doesn’t mean it can’t exist.”

This is the thing that has always annoyed me about Apple’s policies. They take many steps to remove apps that they disapprove of either due to silly policy reasons, or even due to outright censorship. Now, when Google rejects an app, it’s not the end. On Apple, it very much is so. Jailbreaking is not an acceptable alternative when Apple goes to such lengths to shut it down. The culture has also led to that scene to be as much about going against what Apple wants rather than just as a way to openly distribute software in alternative ways.

Such is the thing that annoys me about iOS. Apple’s OS is so patently against openness that it gives me pause. It’s all in the name of making the OS work in the way Apple wants, but surely there has to be a balance between that and having a platform that ultimately serves a greater good? Android’s openness, part of its very nature, means that it will likely be the OS, or at least spearheading a greater Linux movement, to be part of many different technologies. Our appliances, wearable technologies, people can make them smart with free software and while Google’s track record is not perfect in this respect it’s light years ahead of what Apple does and continues to do. Apple is out to make Apple and their products better. Google is looking to do that as well, but even as just a byproduct of their mission with Android, they’re promoting something greater.

The Hills Are Greener: One Way That Google Needs to Make Google Play More Appealing for Developers

The Hills Are Greener: One Way That Google Needs to Make Google Play More Appealing for Developers

Apr 22, 2013

Google has been slowly rolling out version 4.0 of Google Play, with a redesigned user experience. Google is far more willing to tinker with Google Play than Apple with the App Store, who have made only one major change since launching the store in 2008. Plus, Google’s store is actually a native app as opposed to the embedded web views that Apple uses with the App Store. It’s just a better experience, one definite advantage for Google Play over the App Store.

But there’s one area where Google Play continues to lag behind the App Store, and it’s something that consumers aren’t directly touched by, though they play a role in it: taxes.

See, Apple, for apps sold on the App Store, they’ll handle paying taxes to the various local and national governments that demand a cut. It’s essentially part of the 30% fee that Apple takes from developers, that Apple will handle that.

Play Books Home - Tablet

Play Home - Phone

Play Home - TabletNow, Google takes that same 30% cut, but that’s basically just to get on the store – by default, they don’t do the kind of tax handling that Apple does. Essentially, 30% gets you distribution on Google Play, and that’s it. Individual developers have to give their cut to governments on their own – and considering that there’s 50 states and many countries on Google Play, it’s difficult for small firms.

I’ve spoken to developers who have been nervous about this – going legal would be nearly impossible for a small team. One such solution has been to just make their apps ad-supported on Google Play, which solves that problem by only having to report revenue from the ad provider, seemingly, but limits apps’ revenue opportunities, especially with in-app purchases, and limits premium apps. It’s something that Google should make easy for developers, and yet it remains a difficult experience.

Developers have it hard enough on Android, what with all the hardware permuatations to support. Google needs to make it as easy as possible to be on Android for developers. It has a direct consumer impact too: if developers are more willing to make software available for Android, then there’s more reasons for people to come to the platform (or remain on it) and to spend money. In the world of iOS and Android, Google is not doing the job they could be at making Android the attractive choice that it should be.

The Hills Are Greener: Apple “Pass”-ing on to Android

The Hills Are Greener: Apple “Pass”-ing on to Android

Feb 11, 2013

Apple has a reputation for locked-down devices and services that try to keep users on the Apple side of the fence. It’s hard to leave when they offer so many services that can helpfully tie in with other Apple services, isn’t it? It’s a great way to get people to not stray. However, there’s one particular irony that has struck me recently as I was doing some research into Passbook: the file format they created for displaying membership cards, tickets, and other information, is actually on Android. There’s an app caled PassWallet that can open up manually-downloaded Passbook files and use it to display Passbook cards. While apps that integrate with Passbook will not quite work with this, it’s still one of Apple’s killer features done through a third party.

Now, this seems distinctly un-Apple, right? After all, protocols like iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime are all essentially locked down to Apple devices. Apple would never create a standard that others could use openly?

Not true! Consider your web browser. If it’s the stock Android browser or Chrome, then it’s based off of WebKit, which is an Apple invention that they released as open source. Yes, Android fanboys, there’s significant technology that Apple helped to create powering Android devices. Go figure.

So what’s the point? Well, when Apple goes and makes things that can be used by everyone, good things happen. If Passbook cards get officially opened up and adopted on a more widespread basis, mobile users could come one step closer to lightening their wallets or ditching them entirely. And Apple can still claim a quality advantage. Safari still works better than Google Chrome on mobile (desktop is another story). Passbook has the advantage of Apple’s official integration, meaning it works extremely well. When I’m near a location, my cards automatically show. It’s very cool.

But just think if Apple finally opened up FaceTime – the potential for a video calling standard could finally be realized. Or if iMessage opened up. If Apple adopted some form of mobile payments, the industry would have to follow. Apple is an industry leader, and they make quality products and services: if they stopped hoarding them, then who knows what benefits would come to everyone, including Android users?

The Hills Are Greener: Up and Down

The Hills Are Greener: Up and Down

Jan 28, 2013

When comparing iOS and Android, there’s a fairly curious dichotomy between the two platforms and their patrons, Apple and Google.

Apple’s stock took a hit recently based off of what some may consider misconceptions. One, Apple posted record revenues and profits yet saw their stock take a dip on the unconfirmed rumors of iPhone 5 orders being cut, and their failure to hit analyst projections.

Meanwhile on Android, Google’s running into problems with stocking their Nexus and Chromebook devices. The Nexus 4 has been sold out for weeks. The Nexus 10 has been sold out for a while as well. Even the Samsung Chromebook has been sold out for…well, I don’t recall ever seeing it actually on sale. Perhaps it never was. Even in retail stores it’s still sold out.

Yet, these show how far apart the two companies are: Apple, who are extremely susceptible to the rumor scene, can ahve massive dips in stock prices based solely on rumor and speculation, never mind if it’s actually true, as Tim Cook seemed to hint at. But at least Apple can sell iPhones – while stock was tight early on, things started to even out and it’s a lot easier now to go and buy a new iPhone 5.

Meanwhile, Google should be facing severe stock questions, in that even in dealing with multiple suppliers, they can’t provide adequate numbers of devices to meet their demand, what’s going to happen when they finally start to take advantage of their Motorola acquisition? Will they be able to produce enough stock to meet up with demand? Or will the short supplies of Nexus devices turn people off? I still want a Nexus 4, but the lack of availability of one helped turn me into an iPhone 5 owner (though I’d still like one for testing!). I’d love a Samsung Chromebook too, but good luck buying one. I sometimes pop into Best Buy to see if they have them, but nope.

Google is in a good position of where they know that people want to buy their phones and tablets from them. Long-term, that’s a good thing. But confidence in doing so needs to be built, and for the Nexus devices to have been out of stock this long is surely throwing off people who would have otherwise bought them by now. Compare this to Apple, who are able to make enough phones and tablets for everyone, yet fear that they may have too many is throwing off their stock price.

It’s a crazy world in the land of Apple vs. Google.

The Hills Are Greener: A PC Home For Android?

The Hills Are Greener: A PC Home For Android?

Jan 15, 2013

While Windows Phone still is kind of sauntering around in the background of the iOS and Android scene, waiting for an opening, it should not be ignored. Its App Store is growing and phones are selling. But there’s one particular aspect of it that long-term could have Windows 8 doing well: OS integration with Windows.

Yes, the big sexy trend is moving away from desktops and moving in to the mobile space, particularly with tablets. But Windows is definitely starting to make a move in to tablets, or at least with hybrid devices. And with the Windows 8 experience being more consistent across different devices, there’s the potential for Microsoft to use this to sell the OS on phones, tablet, or PCs, wherever appropriate.

It would be a move in the direction of Apple, who increasingly make their mobile OS and computers cross-compatible with one another. iCloud has helped to make Macs and the iPhone a more seamless experience. There’s definitely a lot more that could be done, yes, but it’s something Apple’s got a heads up on. If Microsoft does it well, they can sell Windows as a cohesive OS from the phone up, especially with the modern interface formerly known as “Metro” across different devices.

Because Android is not connected to a specific OS, there’s an inherent disadvantage. They can’t push that kind of deep-level integration that Apple and potentially Microsoft can. However, there is the advantage that by connecting to software like Chrome and web services like Google+ and its Instant Upload. Not to mention all the things like Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts that already exist in a cloud service capacity. Google has a heads up there. But internally-integrated solutions are as a general rule more user-friendly, and Google will always exist as an outside provider on these platforms.

Is there a chance that Windows integration just never plays out? Sure. Android could still be the biggest fish in the sea on mobile (as far as raw numbers go) without this kind of integration? Sure. Heck, the personal computer could be a dying concept for many people and so this won’t matter. Or perhaps Chrome OS is the next huge thing. But if not, this does come off as a potential point of weakness for Android.

The Hills Are Greener: Why is Google Paying Such Attention to Their iOS Apps?

The Hills Are Greener: Why is Google Paying Such Attention to Their iOS Apps?

Dec 24, 2012

Google released an interesting new app recently called YouTube Capture. It’s designed to quickly shoot and upload video to YouTube – and to topple the tyranny of portrait-orientation videos by forcing landscape recording. It’s available now on Android as well as iOS, and…wait, it’s not on Android yet?

Well, this is awkward.

This actually isn’t the first time that Google has launched an app for iOS first, or skipped Android altogether – Google Catalogs actually made a stop on iPad before Android. Now, Google is a giant company, and they have their iOS team along with the Android teams, but it’s just strange as it seems like Google is spending an uncomfortable amount of time on iOS lately. Why, they pushed out a major update for Gmail that dramatically changed the look and feel of the app along with adding key new features that make it a lot better. They released a standalone version of Google Maps that brings new features on top of the standard feature set that came with the original app that was ditched in iOS 6.

So yeah, it seems like Google is paying a lot of attention to iOS, releasing apps for it as they please. But remember, Google, unlike Apple, serves many masters. Apple aims to sell and promote Apple products, which are primarily hardware. The software is there to sell the hardware Google wants to sell Google, and that is more of an idea – supplemented by advertising. Pretty much everything Google provides is designed to help push the advertising product. That means that if there’s an opportunity for them to make money by releasing iOS products, then they’re practically obligated to go for it.

As well, consider that this is pretty much the most attention paid to their iOS apps in a very long time. And they’re building the kind of quality, and in many cases a consistent look and feel, that wasn’t there before. Google is making sure that anyone who wants to use Google services is going to get the best possible value out of them, no matter where they use them. After all, when people use Google services, Google gets more advertising opportunities, and more data to farm. And if people use Google services, then maybe when that contract comes up, or the desire for a new tablet hits, then maybe they’ll consider going back to Android. Either way, Google wins. Simple as that. Doesn’t matter which platform they’re on, Google benefits.

But seriously, why isn’t YouTube Capture on Android yet?

KickStarter Spotlight: FloJack

KickStarter Spotlight: FloJack

Nov 14, 2012

Near Field Communication. It is one of the biggest things that any Android fanboy will trump as the easiest bet for the future. Everything will be NFC-enabled and it could just completely replace credit cards as we know it. If I seemed a bit sarcastic in this onset it was completely by accident as I, myself, am excited as anyone for NFC to take off. In the very near future customers will be traveling the aisles of their closest grocery outlet and collecting coupons is as simple as tapping their phone up to a daily deal it is stored in their phone for checkout where another tap is all it takes to pay and the most efficient grocery run ever is complete.

The only problem with NFC is is it having trouble getting off the ground and the biggest anchor is the fact that there are still a very small number of devices that are NFC compatible. Sure the top flight Android and Windows phones feature NFC chips but until the current “legacy” versions of Android are phased out and Apple jumps on the NFC train this convenience will remain a nice service. While this will certainly happen it does not hurt to expedite the service some, right? This is exactly what the great minds at Flomio have done. Most companies have a dogged relationship to certain brands and further drive the wedge between Android users and iOS, but that is not the case here at Flomio; all they want is to simply unite the smartphone collective under one standard NFC flag. They do this by means of a detachable NFC dongle, the FloJack, that resembles Square’s card reader. This circular paddle can be used to interact with all the NFC goodies around our world now, but also to write data onto Flomio’s ZAPPS which are little NFC chips that might be the most intriguing aspect of Flomio’s KickStarter campaign. These small, domed plastic stickers are rewritable and can be used for almost anything. One could place a ZAPP on the car dashboard that would turn the phone into driving mode, or place one in each party invite that comes with an address link that opens the recipients map app.

The possibilities are unlimited and with a completely open developer program new ideas will be rolling in faster then they can be processed. By bringing NFC to the masses Flomio aims to remove one of the last excuses companies and local businesses have for not adopting NFC. What’s more, if funded successful, I wholeheartedly believe they can succeed.