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PG.biz week that was: Sony slumps with Vita, iPad 3 unveiling ousts Android, and Angry Birds takes home top honours

The past 7 days' news compressed bite-sized
Product: PocketGamer.biz | Publisher: Steel Media
 
PocketGamer.biz Multiformat, thumbnail 1
With half the team sunning themselves in Barcelona while the other were slaves to their keyboards back in Blighty, it's been a week of boarding passes and international phone calls aplenty at PG.biz: the home of news and views on the business of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

Yet, despite the industry's aforementioned annual jolly at Mobile World Congress, arguably the two biggest news events of the week happened outside of the Catalan capital.

Topping the roster was the reaction – or lack of – to PS Vita's launch the previous week, with details of performance at the tills slowly hitting the web, both via official and unofficial means.

Early signs were good, with PS Vita software dominating the UK charts and global sales pegged at the 1.2 million mark – not a figure to make its doubters blush, but nothing to be sniffed at either.

However, days later, figures obtained by PocketGamer.biz from a well placed source suggested the handheld's UK launch tally had come in at a quarter of the number PSP amassed back in 2005, sales barely breaking the 45,000 mark.

"It's disappointing, sure, but we all saw it coming," said the source.

Sony slump

Sony's woes were further exacerbated by the hype that continued to build for what could prove to be PS Vita's keenest competitor: iPad 3.

Apple finally detailed the device's due date – 7 March the day it plans to unveil the tablet, rather than launch it – with the announcement brilliantly timed to coincide with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's keynote speech at MWC 2012.

A speech that, as a result, no-one paid attention to.

Still, not everyone was quite so enthusiastic about the prospect of a new iPad hitting the shop shelves. Speaking exclusively to PocketGamer.biz, scores of iOS developers laid out their concerns about the device's likely leap in specs.

Development costs could rise, it was claimed, leaving many indies out of pocket, and worries older iOS hardware could be left behind also brought fears of fragmentation to the fore.

"I think right now the only thing I'd like from an iPad 3 is either for it not to exist, or for it to have the fewest new features possible," stated Zee-3 co-founder Ste Pickford, offering a candid take that mirrored the vide of many of his peers.

Hot hardware

Heading back into MWC 2012's halls, and new hardware was also on the agenda.

Nokia's refreshed Lumia line-up saw the Finnish giant branching out to tap up customers both rich and small – the 610 serving as the firm's cheapest Windows Phone handset to date, and a global roll-out of the formally US-only 900 putting Microsoft's OS squarely in iPhone territory.

The new Symbian-powered 808 PureView – complete with a 41MP lens – also nabbed a few headlines and managed to pick up one of the event's top honours in the process.

Other good news for Microsoft came in the form of Windows Phone Marketplace, which topped 70,000 apps according to unofficial figures. That's still not in the App Store's league, of course, but such a figure means the platform is growing at a faster rate than Android Market at the same stage of its life.

Back to hardware, and Android dominated the industry's big splash in Barcelona, with HTC, Sony and LG all lifting the lid on new ranges designed to offer their handsets a portion of distinction. Samsung, meanwhile, preferred to focus on its tablets, with a new 7-inch Galaxy Tab leading the Korean giant's charge.

Intel also continued its Android assault, announcing new partnerships for its Medfield chip with both Orange and ZTE, amongst others, while Google revealed the platform they're all supporting has now hit 850,000 activations a day.

Running with Rovio


Another software 'giant' enjoying a typically strong week was Rovio.

The Finnish firm came out on top in PG.biz's annual rundown of the top 50 mobile developers on the planet, while the studio ended the week by signalling an intention to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US.

Zynga, meanwhile, chose this week to relaunch its social games portal, with the platform now supporting games from third parties as well as those in the studio's own library – a move pitched by many as an attempt to relax its reliance on Facebook for revenue.

Such a shift in strategy pales in comparison to the one Microsoft is about to embark on with Windows 8, however. This week saw the firm launch its official consumer preview, giving those eager to sample the new Metro UI an opportunity to play around with it at their leisure.

The platform's roll out could prove to be the most important product launch for Microsoft in decades, but the firms used MWC 2012 to state its intent to be the first platform holder to scale its OS for multiple forms of hardware.

According to Windows head Steven Sinofsky, it's what consumers want.

"The goal should be that the operating system scales with you," added Sinofsky.

"That's what we mean by a no-compromise experience."

It'll be interesting to see just how long that confidence lasts if consumers don't take to Windows 8 when it hits hardware in full later this year.
 

Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew 3 March 2012
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