Rumors about non-payment of developers my MobiHand’s have made circles in the BlackBerry market for some time – reminding veterans of the Palm ESD which also almost went belly-up and repaid the developers over a few years.

A recent CrackBerry forum post purpoted to be coming from MobiHand now reads as following – emphasis added by yours truly

To help you folks avoid further misunderstanding on a couple of issues, here is some information about recent topics we’ve seen discussed on these forums. First, MobiHand continues to provide customer service in the same manner as in past. In the few cases of activation code problems that have actually been referred to us, the cause has been the removal, by the applicable developer, of the linkage between our systems and the developer’s systems, which is needed to generate codes based on the application’s DRM model. We encourage developers to continue to provide service and enable us to provide service to our mutual customers. We are late on some payments, but we are working to resolve that and it is not appropriate or helpful to the situation for any of us to hurt or scare our customers.

Another issue recently raised has been “refunds” recorded on the system over the last few days. Almost all of these are not voluntary refunds to customers. These are “chargebacks” (forced refunds) imposed by the credit card companies when the original purchase was made by a user not authorized to use the credit card. Unfortunately, these fraud events are common in online commerce, especially for sales of items that don’t need to be shipped to a real physical address. We use several techniques to detect and reject many fraud orders, but some get through undetected. We historically experience fraud rates lower than industry averages and much less than 1% of sales. The experience rates for different products often vary as the fraudsters sometimes seem to target specific products. These chargebacks come from the credit card companies day by day, normally several weeks or months after the original sale (after the cardholders have examined their credit card statements) and we normally record them in big batches. The items recorded in the last few days represent an accumulation of chargebacks over about two months. We are simply completing the accounting after not recording them for some time.

We ask developers in this forum to understand that MobiHand continues to work hard to provide services, get all of you paid and generate growing revenues. If something is not perfect, please do not interpret it to mean that we have given up or do not intend to get it right. Most developers with questions and concerns have addressed them directly to us in a businesslike manner, using the help tool inside their MobiHand account, and most concerns are resolved to their satisfaction with the one exception being late payments. We appreciate that most developers are not using payment delays as a reason to create more problems by inconveniencing customers or encouraging panic by the developer community. You should also know that MobiHand is not some giant corporate monster — it is a small technology company with real people who have provided outstanding service to customers, developers and website stores for seven years. As usual, businesses go through easy times and difficult times and the only way we know to get through difficulties is to continue to work. MobiHand is continuing to provide services and intends to pay every single dollar owed to every single developer and we have several initiatives underway that we believe will enable that.

Finally, please understand that we don’t read these forums everyday, we don’t intend to become regular participants and, if we are silent about issues, it is not because we don’t care. We are simply focused on running our business. Instead of engaging in debates, we are trying to serve the developer community and our mutual customers.


As of this writing, not much more is known…

P.S. To clarify some accusations levied against Tamoggemon Limited by a hysteric developer who will remain unnamed: we have not made any revenue off MobiHand for ages. We stand in no commercial relationship to MobiHand whatsoever.

In the past, our business applications have fared extraordinarily well in India – Nokia is a large brand there, and business apps are extremely popular in this market.

Mobile Business Briefing now has the following bit of advice courtesy of Reliance:

…combined circulations of all of the English-language newspapers does not approach that of the single most popular local-language title,…

Feel like localizing? Let us know!

When it comes to promoting mobile applications, there is little which helps more than a nice discount campaign. Tieing these in with festive seasons can make sense – if only there were a calendar of all “rebate fiests”.

Tucows, a once-large ESD has now sent out the following in an email:

“Cyber Monday has become a very big deal to online merchants. How big? U.S.
consumers last year spent $846 million dollars on Cyber Monday”

–Ian Paul, PCWorld

So, to make this clear especially for our non-US readers:

Black Friday is on November 25, 2011.
Cyber Monday is on November 28, 2011.

Why not let us know about your promotions?

Even though the slides for the Qt on Android talk have been uploaded quite some time ago, we haven’t had access to the video so far.

The WHYMCA team has now provided us with the video below. Feel free to take a look at it if you want a quick introduction to both Qt and Necessitas (aka Qt for Android):

QT for Android from WhyMCA on Vimeo.

Inner-active, the industry’s premier mobile ad mediation provider with over 100 ad networks and local agencies available at the click of a button, has released an infographic with and insight on “in app advertisement size and position”.

The infographic shows how, when and where to place an ad to make maximum profit.

ia info thumb Infographic–In app advertisement size and position

We all have played Bejeweled, Final Fantasy and Pac man at one time or the other. These games are the jewels of different platform, from arcade to console. But most of you reading this article might have played the same games on your smartphone or tablet.

Jason Kapalka, founder of PopCap Games, in his keynote at the PLANET OF THE APPS EUROPE 2011, shared some inevitable pitfalls developers overlook. According to Jason

…there are two main reasons to develop an app based on an existing title: to benefit from an existing fan base and brand recognition; or as a development shortcut based on existing programming work. 

PopCap’s Bejeweled was identified as a case of the former, while its Plants vs Zombies falls into the latter category.

It has to feel instantly good. There is no learning curve,”

If we’d released the first version of Plants vs Zombies we tried, with its original controls, I don’t think it would have been played by anybody, because they would have rapidly found it to be difficult and frustrating.

He also added that

….consider device screen size as the most important factor, rather than being distracted by rapidly increasing screen resolutions.

Regardless of resolution, there is only so much screen a user can see or touch when playing a game – you need to look at the worse case scenario…

Consider Pac man, the retro game that changed the world was never imagined without a joy stick. That was how it was developed, keeping the joystick  in mind. The same user experience can not be duplicated on the modern devices which are distancing themselves from buttons, let alone joysticks.

The mantra for smartphone success is that the game should be short and not long. Citing the example of Final Fantasy, he explained

Final Fantasy is a great game, but it didn’t do particularly well on the iPhone largely because it was just not the sort of game that people with iPhones wanted. They didn’t want to sit down for a 40-hour role-play, they wanted something they could play in one minute intervals.

The emphasis should be put on reinventing rather than porting. He also warned developers of the tablet trap due to two reasons:

…smartphone market has the real volumes…

…A smartphone game can become a tablet game, but a tablet game cannot become a smartphone game

The real example provided by him was when they  decided to deliver the same user experience across all mobile devices for Bejeweled and Bejeweled Blitz, which is available via Facebook and mobile devices. According to him,

it was a real pain in the ass to keep things in sync

That pretty much explains it.

The topic of software localization (aka the translation of apps) is a long and bitter one: for literally ages have developers been fighting about its merits and non-merits.

The fine folks from Distimo’s have now provided us with a few charts which could bring “clearance” into the clutter. Let’s dive in.

First of all, we see which sore has the most uni-national apps. Nokia clearly leads – this is what they get for repeatedly commiting “ovicide in China”:
localization pays 1 Localization   where it pays out

This finding is further clarified in the figure below, which also mentions the strong role of Hutchison’s proprietary channel in Italy:
localization pays 2 Localization   where it pays out

Finally, a chart which compares US and ROW popularity using the top lists of various app stores:
localization pays 3 Localization   where it pays out

How has localization worked out for your company?

P.S. Get more data here:

Traditionally, the BlackBerry was considered the number one platform for making money. It might not be hip, but is said to bring in the loot.

A market research firm has now announced a report with some interesting data. The full release is below, with key passages highlighted by yours truly.

Google’s Android Market is the most used app store amongst commercial developers with 47% of commercial developers having some experience with the store compared to 43% who have used Apple’s App Store, according Evans Data’s new Application Distribution survey of over 400 commercial developers, conducted in August. In addition, Android Market edged out Apple’s App Store as the store more developers thought would be dominant in two years. However, developers selling apps through BlackBerry App World made significantly more money than developers using either Google’s or Apple’s stores.

“The industry has a perception that developers are going to target either Android or Apple, and those two will define the market,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp. “However, there’s room for more than two. BlackBerry developers are not as plentiful but 13% make over $100,000 from the App World apps, which is considerably more than Android or Apple developers, and will help that platform continue to be compelling to developers, especially in the enterprise.”

Other highlights from this comprehensive survey, conducted in August 2011, include:

—Visibility for their apps is the biggest complaint that developers have about app stores in general with 37% citing this as the biggest problem.

Paid apps with no ads is the monetization model more developers use followed by subscriptions.

—Games are the most likely type of apps to wind up in app stores, with 27% placing that type of app in a store, followed by business apps at 21% and productivity apps at 20%.

The Evans Data Application Distribution survey examines the views and usage patterns on commercial developers and focuses on monetization models, distribution channels, app store features and policies, end user support, and also shows ratings of detailed feature sets by users of various stores of those stores.

Those interested in buying the report can do so here:

After the launch of the Apple App Store, classic ISVs like MobiHand found themselves under pressure.

The company has now updated its developers backend. In particular, the following changes were implemented:

Product list:
The My Apps tab is now used to access your product list.
Product groups (master/slave) now show as just a single master item, with slaves managed within the product entry.
As always, begin product entry creation with the Create New button. The Overview tab will appear, and when saved, additional product detail tabs will appear.

Overview tab:
We’ve move the Features/Device-matching section to the Version/Files tab.
Currency-based pricing is now supported, in recent months, for dozens of currencies.
We’ve included, for a number of months now, a section for In-App Purchase products. (Android only: to use In-App Purchase, get SDK and documentation here:

Version/Files tab:
DRM: While the MobiReach System continues to support traditional registration methods on most platforms, users increasingly expect code-free delivery and installation of apps. On Android we support a straightforward DRM approach, which you’ll see listed in the available licensing options as “MobiHand DRM”. In order to use our DRM solution, all you have to do is to upload a license-free binary, and we’ll take care of wrapping it up with our DRM verification system. On initial use, and on a schedule intended to balance offline access use with secure license validation, the app will verify, via the MobiHand validation servers, the customer’s eligibility to use the app. (This will go live next week.) On all other platforms, including BlackBerry, you’ll find support for the traditional licensing methods.
File Upload: We support groups of versions of a product (master/slave groupings). These are now handled within a single product entry in MobiReach. For standard products with only one build for all supported devices simply upload a single product file; and for multiple builds for various devices on a platform, simply create a new build using the “New File (Other Devices)” button as needed. Also, note that on product groupings, each individual product file must be given a distinct “File identifier” which is appended as a suffix to the product name in some store contexts.
Trial files: We see a trend away from trial versions, and instead toward either full, paid products, or lite versions (continuous, but limited functionality) with up-sell to full versions. We support this and other “freemium” models with our In-App Purchase SDK. For upload, please create separate product entries for trial or lite versions, and for full products. (Note that, especially on Android, few of our stores now support time-limited trial versions.)
Devices: As always, MobiReach gives you total control to manually include or exclude specific devices from the list of compatible devices. The Devices tab has been removed, however, and it is replaced by a “Compatible Devices” popup in the Upload Files section.
Images: For Android, we now support a Coverflow image, used for display in some of our stores.

Not much to add here…

When it comes to app stores, comparing but the top apps can be misleading – the chances that your app makes into the top of the store are rather slim.

When it comes to the downloads per average app, the situation can look different. Markus Pohl has now sent out the following press release:

Apps On Nokia’s OVI Store Had 2.5 Times Higher Download Numbers In Q2 2011 Compared To Apps on Apple App Store

The “average app” has a better chance to generate downloads on “non-hyped” platforms.

pohl downloads Ovi Store beats Apple App Store on average downloads per app

Despite all the hype around the major platforms Android and iOS, publishers are still overlooking the hidden potentials of the niche players.The Q2 2011 results of our smartphone application monitoring report indicate that those applications published on the less popular platforms, such as WP7 marketplace or Blackberry’s AppWorld, generate significantly more downloads compared to the Apple App Store.

Significantly lower competition, yet a sufficiently large user base that desires apps, are the major reasons for this. Symbian still retains, by far, the highest potential user base. Even though its users are incomparably less active than iOS’s heavy downloaders, it still generates significant download volumes to Symbian publishers. This is largely because whilst Apple boasts of its 400,000 apps, the OVI store contains less than a tenth of that number.

Looking into average numbers, the Android Market stands not far behind the Apple App Store. This quarter, the average Android App attracted just 5% less users than iOS. Competition is harsh.

However, going in for very small niche platforms may not be the best idea either. LG World! and Samsung’s App Store are struggling to generate user attention. Although LG has less than 3,000 apps and as a result it is much easier to be discovered there, its user base is just too low.

Although the Symbian platform is seen by some developers to be clumsy and outdated, as well as Nokia’s transition to WP7 which has fuelled discussions as to when Nokia will give up its platform completely, the current status seems to be promising. Recently, Nokia reported the launch of three new Symbian Smartphones and confirmed that these will not be the last of the products, nor updates, to be delivered on Symbian.

Find other important Q2 2011 market developments in the new volume of the research2guidance Smartphone App Market Monitor. The third volume of the report includes a special interest chapter on mobile retail market

Find out more via the URL below:

After the aquisition of AdMob, Google found itself with a second web advertising service – logically causing competition for Google’s own product, AdSense.

It is only logical that this has to be unified. A post on the official Google Mobile Ads Blog now reads as following:

We’re now pleased to offer a unified, specialized service for mobile web site publishers – AdSense, which we encourage AdMob mobile web publishers to move to. AdMob support for older WAP mobile web sites will stop on September 30. For sites and ads made to be viewed on high-end devices (like iPhones and Android phones), the AdMob product will be around for a little longer, but we wanted to give mobile web publishers plenty of time to start the transition.

The net result of all this is that if you’re an app developer, AdMob is your solution for monetizing, measuring, and promoting your mobile apps. If you’re a mobile web publisher, AdSense can help you monetize your mobile web content,

Find out more via the URL below:

Discussing the topic of gender over smartphone users can quickly become political (not permitted in our comment area :-) ) or just messy – but if we get data, why not post it for the advancement of the field.

The folks from the in-app advertising firm InnerActive have just sent out the following chart:
females smartphones InnerActive on Genders in smartphone use

Not much to add here…

Well guess what? MSFT has blown the trumpet. It is now openly inviting webOS devs to develop for Windows Phone 7.

According to a tweet by Brandon Watson – senior director of Windows Phone 7 development at Microsoft.


Watson is the same man who had recently bet $1,000 on Windows Phone 7 with the author of popular comic strip Dilbert.

With webOS devs hitting the panic button, MSFT will surely be luring a lot of devs to develop on the Windows Phone 7 platform.

For Watson it’s a simple approach. “Someone asked me why,” he said over Twitter. “Because every developer matters, that’s why.”

Stay tuned for more…!!!!

So we received an email from HP saying that the devs need not worry as everything is in place….except the Hardware.

RIP WEBOS featured image thumb HP tells devs not to worry, WebOS will live

Dear webOS developer:

We have opened the next chapter for webOS, and we understand that you must have many questions. Yesterday we announced that we will focus on the future of webOS as a software platform but we will no longer be producing webOS devices. While this was a difficult decision, it’s one that will strengthen our ability to focus on further innovating with webOS as we forge our path forward. Throughout this journey, our developers will continue to be a vital part of the future of webOS.

We will continue to support, innovate and develop the webOS App Catalog. Our intent is to enhance our merchandising and presentation of your great products and to continue to build our webOS app ecosystem.

As many of you are aware, we are currently scheduled to hold many developer events around the world. We are planning to continue with these events, however, due to the recent announcements; the nature of them will change. These updates will be posted on our events registration site this coming week. We are eager to present to you the updated strategy for webOS and to hear your feedback.

Lastly, I wish to express our sincere appreciation for your ongoing support for webOS and the many teams responsible for it here at HP. This is a particularly dynamic time in the mobile industry and sometimes tough decisions need to be made about not only what to do, but also what not to do. This has been one of those times. Together with our great webOS developer community, we are confident that we will meet the challenges ahead and build momentum for optimal success.

We will be communicating with you frequently over the next few weeks and we look forward to hearing from you throughout this process.

Thanks for your support

Richard Kerris
VP webOS Developer Relations

Well HP, who do you think, would be interested in raising an infant who was born very late and whose parents left him to rot and die, hoping that someone will be it’s foster parent??

What do you think??

Image courtesy

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