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Samsung looking to acquire mobile companies (but not RIM)

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Samsung looking to acquire mobile company (but not RIM)

J.K. Shin, president of Samsung’s mobile business, sat down with The Wall Street Journal and revealed that the South Korean manufacturer has begun aggressively hiring foreign software engineers in an effort keep pace with Apple’s iPhone. Samsung, which has traditionally developed its own hardware, is also embracing the possibility of making key acquisitions in the mobile space. “The technology industry is growing very quickly and it is too much of a burden to try to do everything in-house,” Shin said. “There are many qualified workers from India that are very skilled in software. And there are small companies that we can acquire that have good research and development capabilities.”

Shin did not name any potential targets, however, and was quick to shoot down rumors regarding an acquisition of Canada’s Research in Motion. While Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility has Samsung on edge, the company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing Younghee Lee, maintains that Samsung will continue to work with Android because it is currently the most popular platform.

Shin called the company’s latest flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S III — an example of Samsung’s renewed focus on software. While the phone is based on Google’s Android operating system, Shin highlighted how Samsung engineers were able to write new software and enable unique features such as the Galaxy S III’s face-detection and eye-tracking capabilities, which control various functions on the handset based on whether or not the user is looking at the display.

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Android lost money in 2010

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Android lost money in 2010

During Google’s ongoing legal dispute with Oracle, the judge presiding over the case revealed the Internet giant’s Android mobile operating system was not profitable in 2010, Reuters reported. Google does not publicly report financial information regarding its Android operating system, however the judge did not disclose specific figures, but instead said it lost money in each quarter of 2010. “That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” he said. Oracle argued that Google should not be able to deduct certain Android expenses for the purposes of copyright damages related to the case.

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Unannounced hardware tweak gives new iPad 2 longer battery life

Friday, May 4th, 2012

iPad 2 features longer battery life from 32nm processor

When Apple unveiled its third-generation iPad in March, the company also announced that the iPad 2 would remain on the market at a reduced price. The Cupertino-based company did not reveal that the year old tablet had a significant upgrade to its internal hardware,however. The original 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2 featured a 45nm A5 processor, but the $399 iPad 2 is equipped with a smaller and more power efficient 32nm A5 processor, according to AnandTech. Performance remains the same on both devices, but the smaller processor delivers an overall increase of 16% to battery life while web browsing and a 30% increase when playing games. There is no way to tell whether an iPad 2 features the new smaller processor without opening the box and running a benchmark test, unfortunately, because the external packaging and the device itself look identical to the older model.

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Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Google to be fined by US over Safari breach

The United States Federal Trade Commission will fine Google for its breach of Apple’s Safari web browser security, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The Internet giant is currently negotiating with the Commission over an acceptable fine, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars. The fine would be the first time the FTC has ever punished a company for violating Internet privacy safeguards. Google in February was found to be bypassing the privacy settings of millions of unknowing Safari users by using a special code to install cookies on a user’s computer, even when such actions were supposed to be blocked by the browser.

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Mobile porn revenue to reach almost $1 billion by 2015

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Mobile porn revenue to balloon

Juniper Research’s latest report estimates that mobile adult content subscriptions will reach nearly $1 billion by 2015, led by increased growth in the smartphone and tablet markets, along with the availability of increasingly faster mobile data connections. The firm states that tablets offer a “more engaging experience,” allowing users to see content in more detail and delivering more browsing options. The porn industry still faces many hurdles in emerging markets, however, due to the limitations of low-end smartphones, lack of viable payment methods and legal and social barriers. North America and Western Europe are expected to account for over 70% of the total end-user mobile adult revenues, and the numbers of individual who use adult video chat services will more than triple by 2015, accounting for more than half of all mobile porn revenue.

[Via IntoMobile]

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Samsung Galaxy S III tipped to land on all four major U.S. carriers

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Galaxy S III coming to all four major carriers

Samsung’s new flagship smartphone may launch on all four major U.S. carriers as well as a number of regional carriers beginning this summer. Samsung on Thursday unveiled the Galaxy S III during a press conference in London, and the vendor said its sleek new smartphone will launch on nearly 300 different wireless service providers around the world in the coming months. At the same time, Samsung added a page on its U.S. website that allows users to sign up to receive more information about the Galaxy S III when it becomes available. On the page, a drop-down menu asks users to select their carrier preference, and found within that list are AT&T, C Spire Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. While this is by no means confirmation that the handset will launch on each of the seven carriers listed, it seems unlikely that Samsung would simply list random carriers and omit popular options such as Cricket, which currently offers a Samsung smartphone, and other sizable regional carriers. Samsung’s current flagship phone, the Galaxy S II, is available from all major U.S. carriers with the exception of Verizon Wireless.

[Via TmoNews]

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Smartphone shipments estimated to reach 1.7 billion in 2017, led by Android

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Smartphone shipments to reach 1.7 billion in 2017

Market research firm Ovum estimates that smartphone shipments will continue to grow and reach 1.7 billion units in 2017. The company cites increased demand from emerging markets, alongside the growth of Android, which will fuel ballooning handset shipments. “Android will dominate the smartphone market over the next five years,” said Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum. “While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signaling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers.” Android-powered handsets accounted for 44% of the smartphone market in 2011, a significant increase from 17% in 2010. The firm estimates Android’s share will reach 48% in 2017 and Apple’s iOS will account for 27% of the smartphone market, an increase from 23% in 2011. “Although it will remain behind Android in terms of shipment volumes, Apple will continue to be a key player and innovator in the smartphone market over the forecast period,” said Leach. “We expect Microsoft, despite its slow start, to have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017.” Ovum’s press release follows below.

Ovum expects smartphone shipments to reach 1.7 billion in 2017 and Android to dominate as OS

London, 3 May 2012. Smartphones will outperform the overall market for mobile phones, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9% for the period 2011–17 to reach 1.7 billion units, according to Ovum. Predictions show Android as the dominant operating system over the next five years as handset vendors rush to make it their primary smartphone platform.

In its latest forecast*, the leading telecoms analyst house reveals global annual mobile phone shipments will grow at a CAGR of 6.3% between 2011 and 2017, driven primarily by demand from emerging markets where connection growth will continue to fuel handset shipments. New shipments in developed markets, such as North America and Western Europe, will be almost entirely made up of smartphones, while feature phones will continue to play a small role in emerging markets in 2017.

“Android will dominate the smartphone market over the next five years,” said Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum. “While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signaling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers.”

Smartphones based on Android accounted for 44% of the smartphone market in 2011, significantly up from 17% in 2010. However, its share will reach 48% in 2017, as Android-based smartphones are expected to grow at a CAGR of 26.8% over the forecast period. Apple’s iOS will be the second most widely deployed software platform in 2017, accounting for 27% of the smartphone market, a slight increase on the 23% share of the market it reported in 2011. Sitting some way behind the Android/iOS duopoly will be the remaining smartphone players.

“Although it will remain behind Android in terms of shipment volumes, Apple will continue to be a key player and innovator in the smartphone market over the forecast period,” says Leach. “We expect Microsoft, despite its slow start, to have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017.”

The Windows Phone platform, with the assistance of Nokia, will account for 13% of the smartphone market in 2017. Despite losing significant market share since its high point in 2009, RIM’s BlackBerry platform will still represent 10% of the market in 2017.

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Microsoft hires 14 Yahoo researchers for new NYC lab

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Microsoft hires 14 Yahoo researchers

Microsoft has hired 14 Yahoo researchers for its brand new New York research lab, AllThingsD reported. The hires come after Yahoo made significant layoffs last month to its research and development unit. According to Jennifer Chayes, who manages Microsoft Research in New England and New York, the researchers were’t hired as a package deal. “I don’t feel like we hired a group; I feel like we hired 15 amazing individuals, some of which became available because there were some problems at Yahoo,” she said. The software giant has an extensive research division that includes some 850 Ph.Ds, and the New York City lab will be the company’s 13th global office.

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Numerous websites found to contain malware specifically targeting Android devices

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Android malware found on numerous websites

Hacked websites are frequently used to infect PCs with malware, however the team at Lookout Mobile Security has discovered that hacked websites are specifically targeting Android-powered mobile devices for the first time. The malware, called NotCompatible, is a Trojan that poses as a system update but acts like a proxy redirect. After visiting an infected website, the Android mobile web browser will automatically begin downloading the NotCompatible malware, which is named “Update.apk.” Like any drive-by downloads, to become infected a user needs to install the downloaded application. The malware is found on a number of websites, but all have relatively low traffic. Lookout notes that the threat does not appear to cause any direct harm to an infected device, although it could potentially be used to gain illicit access to private networks by turning an infected Android device into a proxy. If an Android device has the “Unknown sources” settings disabled — thus disabling sideloading — the NotCompatible malware will be unable to install.

[Via Gizmodo]

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Apple owns 8.8% of cell phone market, 73% of cell phone profits

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Apple owns cell phone profits

After posting the most profitable quarter in technology company history to close 2011 — and the second most profitable quarter among all companies, ever — Apple came back again in the first calendar quarter of 2012 and managed another monster quarter. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant earned $11.6 billion on $39.2 billion in sales during the second fiscal quarter of 2012, and its iPhone was responsible for an estimated 80% of all smartphone profits during the quarter. According to Apple watcher Horace Dediu, Apple’s share of all cell phone profits was nearly as overwhelming.

Market research firm IDC states that Apple’s share of the global cell phone market was flat at 8.8% last quarter. Despite accounting for such a small portion of global cell phone shipments, Apple’s share of all mobile phone profits reached 73% in the quarter.

“The new market disruption is the migration of a large number of demanding customers away from phones-as-voice-products to phones-as-computing-products,” Dediu notes as one of the driving factors behind Apple’s performance. The analyst also states that Samsung accounted for 26% of all major handset vendor profits last quarter, while Sony, Nokia, Motorola, LG and RIM all lost money and HTC was roughly even.

[Via CNNMoney]

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New iPhone to feature 4-inch display, metal case, smaller dock connector, fall release

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

New iPhone photos

Apple’s new iPhone, which is currently rumored to launch in September or October, is reportedly going to be the first iPhone to have a larger display. Multiple reports have suggested that the new iPhone will feature a 4-inch screen, and iLounge’s Jeremy Horowitz is throwing his weight behind it as well. Additionally, he’s reporting that the device will be taller and 20% thinner than the current iPhone 4S. The back of the device will have a metal panel according to the report, though it won’t cover the entire back of the phone. This seems a little strange, especially with iLounge’s rendering. What about the white version? Lastly, there will indeed be a new dock connector to make room for the thinner case, so no doubt third-party accessory manufacturers are going to be thrilled about that, but Apple’s move to introduce a thinner and smaller dock connector is likely a necessary step toward making the iPhone insanely thin. One barrier that Apple has not yet tackled is the 3.5 mm headset jack, which some day might disappear completely in favor of Bluetooth and AirPlay streaming. One more mockup of the new iPhone from iLounge is after the break.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S III unveiling happens today; here’s how to watch it live

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Galaxy S III announcement

Samsung is hosting a press conference on Thursday during which it will unveil the next installment in one of the most successful smartphone franchises of all time. The Galaxy S III is expected to be a technological marvel, packing a gigantic high-definition Super AMOLED display, a quad-core Exynos processor, 4G LTE, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and more into an ultra-thin ceramic case. Samsung has gone to great lengths to keep its new flagship phone under wraps, but an inevitable series of leaks paints what is likely a complete picture of the Galaxy S III. The flow of rumors will finally come to an end on Thursday as Samsung takes the wraps off its next Galaxy phone in London, and the company is streaming its “Unpacked 2012″ press conference live for eager Android fans around the world. The event kicks off at 2:00 p.m. EDT, 11:00 a.m. PDT on Thursday, and the live stream can be found on the read link below.

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Barnes & Noble plans to bring NFC to the Nook

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Barnes & Noble to bring NFC to the Nook

Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader business is expected to see continued growth and was recently spun off into a new subsidiary that Microsoft invested $300 million in. The company’s CEO William Lynch sat down with Fortune and spoke about the future of the Nook business, and the executive said NFC-equipped Nook eReaders will be released as early as this year. “We’re going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks,” the CEO said. “We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That’s coming, and we could lead in that area.”

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Pebble smartwatch partners with RunKeeper

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Pebble smartwatch partners with RunKeeper

Pebble, the smartwatch that can display and interact with apps on Android and iPhone smartphones, announced on Wednesday a partnership with popular fitness app RunKeeper that will allow users to wirelessly control and display information from the app on their Pebbles. “Making the RunKeeper app accessible from Pebble is another step towards making fitness tracking simple for our users.” said RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs. “People don’t just want to track their fitness activities, they want to do so in the most convenient way possible, and you can’t beat the form factor of a smart watch.” RunKeeper boasts more than 10 million users and was one of the highest grossing health and fitness apps in Apple’s App Store in 2010. “We welcome RunKeeper to the Pebble app family and we’re flattered that they are our first app partner,” said Eric Migicovsky, founder of Pebble Technology. The smartwatch is being fully funded through the crowd-source website Kickstarter and has become the most funded project in the site’s history. The Pebble has garnered more than 53,000 backers and thus far has raised over $8 million. The device is slated to be released in September. Pebble’s press release follows below.

Pebble Announces RunKeeper Will Build First Watchapp

RunKeeper Data Will be Displayed on Pebble’s E-Paper Display And Runners Can Now Control the App Without Ever Having to Touch their Phone

PALO ALTO, CA – (May 2, 2012) – Pebble, the revolutionary smart watch that will display and interact with apps on your iPhone or Android device, today announced it’s first app partner will be RunKeeper, one of the most successful mobile apps ever that makes tracking workouts fun, social, and easy to understand.

With this app for Pebble, RunKeeper’s in-activity fitness data will be shown on Pebble’s E-Paper display, which looks great indoors as well as outdoors under direct sunlight. Runners, cyclists, hikers, walkers and skiers will be able to use Pebble to wirelessly control the RunKeeper app, eliminating the need to remove the phone while on the go. Pebble even makes it possible to pause or skip music tracks right from the watch.

“Making the RunKeeper app accessible from Pebble is another step towards making fitness tracking simple for our users.” said Jason Jacobs, CEO of RunKeeper. “People don’t just want to track their fitness activities, they want to do so in the most convenient way possible, and you can’t beat the form factor of a smart watch.”

RunKeeper has more than 10 million users, and it was one of the highest grossing health & fitness apps in the iPhone App Store in 2010. It is available on both iPhone and Android.

“We welcome RunKeeper to the Pebble app family and we’re flattered that they are our first app partner,” said Eric Migicovsky, of Pebble Technology. “One of the most exciting things about Pebble is that anyone will be able to build apps for the watch, which is going to result in new capabilities and functionality that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Pebble will release an open software development kit (SDK) in August, enabling even more applications to be developed for the Pebble platform. A watchapp directory will be launched later in 2012 to provide a distribution method for all Pebble apps.

Consumers have already registered their interest in Pebble with more than 53,000 individual backers on Kickstarter, the crowd sourced funding platform. The project was posted on the Kickstarter platform on April 11 and since that time backers have pledged more than $7.5 million towards Pebble.

Pebble is the first watch built for the 21st century. It’s infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watch faces and useful internet-connected apps. Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages.

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Nokia’s 41-megapixel camera phone launches this month

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Nokia 41 Megapixel Camera Phone

Nokia on Wednesday announced that its 41-megapixel camera-equipped 808 PureView smartphone will begin rolling out later this month in Russia, India and additional unnamed markets. Nokia unveiled the impressive camera phone in February during the annual Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, and BGR took a hands-on look at the device during the show. While a 41-megapixel sensor coupled with Carl Zeiss optics place the handset in a league of its own, the 808 PureView is powered by the Symbian operating system, which Nokia is currently in the process of dumping in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. ”PureView has completely raised the bar on imaging performance for the whole smartphone industry – and Nokia is not stopping here,” Nokia smartphone boss Jo Harlow said. “We’re going to carry on developing PureView for our future smartphones in ways that will again revolutionize the imaging experience.” Nokia’s full press release follows below.

Nokia to begin rolling out award-winning Nokia 808 PureView in May

Espoo, Finland - Nokia today confirmed that the Nokia 808 PureView will start rolling out in select markets in May. The Nokia 808 PureView is the first smartphone to feature Nokia’s award-winning PureView technology. PureView represents Nokia’s highest level smartphone imaging experiences, bringing together high-performance sensors, exclusive Carl Zeiss optics, and Nokia developed imaging algorithms. The first markets to begin selling the Nokia 808 PureView include Russia and India.

Since its launch in February, the Nokia 808 PureView has receivedmultiple awards, including Best Mobile Device at Mobile World Congress 2012, as well as an award for Best Imaging Innovation for 2012 from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA).

“PureView has completely raised the bar on imaging performance for the whole smartphone industry – and Nokia is not stopping here,” said Jo Harlow, Head of Smart Devices at Nokia. “We’re going to carry on developing PureView for our future smartphones in ways that will again revolutionize the imaging experience.”

The Nokia 808 PureView features a large, high-resolution 41 megapixel sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology. At standard resolutions (2/3, 5 and 8 megapixels) this means the ability to zoom without loss of clarity and capture seven pixels of information, condensing into one pixel for the sharpest images imaginable. At high-resolution (38 megapixels maximum) it means the ability to capture an image, then zoom, reframe, crop and resize afterwards to expose previously unseen levels of details. With superior low-light performance and the ability to save in compact file sizes for sharing in email, MMS, and on social networks, the Nokia 808 PureView makes it possible for anyone to capture professional looking images in any conditions.

In addition to superior still imaging technology, the Nokia 808 PureView also includes full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world’s first use of Nokia Rich Recording.  Rich Recording enables audio recording at CD-like levels of quality, previously only possible with external microphones. The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.

Check out our Nokia 808 PureView photo gallery.

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Amazon to develop original programming

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Amazon to develop original content

Amazon on Wednesday announced an expansion of its Amazon Studios division, which will soon develop original content. The retail giant is currently accepting proposals for comedy and children’s programming to be distributed through its Instant Video service, the company said on Wednesday. “Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.” If selected for a full-budget series, the creator will receive $55,000 and up to 5% of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, along with other royalties and bonuses. Amazon’s press release follows below.

Amazon Studios to Develop Original Comedy and Children’s Series for Amazon Instant Video

Writers, animators and filmmakers around the world are now invited to submit comedic and children’s series proposals

SEATTLE—May 2, 2012—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that Amazon Studios is expanding its development efforts into comedy and children’s series. Amazon Studios is Amazon’s content development division that uses audience feedback to identify great, original entertainment customers will love. Starting today, series creators are invited to upload their proposals for comedy and children’s programming to Amazon Studios at http://studios.amazon.com/getting-started/series. The best comedy and children’s series will be distributed through Amazon Instant Video, Amazon’s digital video streaming service.

“Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.”

Each month, Amazon Studios intends to option one promising new project and add it to the development slate where it will be tested for viability with an audience. If Amazon Studios elects to distribute a full-budget series, the creator will receive a $55,000 payment, up to 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses. Amazon Studios’ production company, the People’s Production Company is signatory to the Writers Guild of America and to The Animation Guild, Local 839.

To submit, a project must have a five-page description, along with a 22-minute pilot script for comedies, or an 11-minute pilot script for children’s shows. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or invite the creator to add the project to the Amazon Studios site. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.

Amazon Studios new series development is led by Joe Lewis, previously with 20th Century Fox and Comedy Central and Tara Sorensen, formerly with National Geographic Kids.

Amazon Studios launched in November 2010. Since then, more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts have been submitted and 15 movie projects are currently under development.

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Draw Something begins to lose its appeal

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Draw Something loses appeal

OMGPOP launched Draw Something on February 6th and within seven weeks, the game soared to 35 million users while serving almost 1 billion ad impressions per day. The turn based Pictionary-style game soon became the most popular Facebook Connect game, beating out Zynga’s Words With Friends, and also the No.1 free app and No.1 paid app on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play marketplace for Android. Zynga noticed the success of Draw Something and quickly acquired OMGPOP and its team for more than $200 million. The sale may have been premature, however, as Draw Something’s user base is beginning to decline, The Atlantic Wire reports. The number of users who play the game on a daily basis has dropped from nearly 15 million users to 10 million, although the number of monthly users has stayed consistent, according to information from App Data. The crumbling daily user figures could spell trouble for Zynga, but it looks like the timing couldn’t have worked out better for OMGPOP, which seemingly managed to cash in at precisely the right time.

[Via The Atlantic Wire]

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