Glu Introduces Real-Money Gaming to its Apps

[img_assist|nid=25818|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=150|height=87]App publisher Glu Mobile has partnered with tournament platform Skillz to introduce real-money gambling to some of its Android games in the US.

Starting with Deer Hunter Reloaded, selected Glu apps will offer players the option to buy into skill-based tournaments for the chance to win cash prizes. 

Due to the US’s gambling laws, this function won’t be universally available, but Glu says it expects the tournaments to be up and running in 37 states by the end of Q2. Free tournaments, also powered by Glu, will be available in all 50 US states.

“The Skillz tournament platform allows us to reach a significant number of US gamers interested in competing for cash prizes in their favorite skill-based Glu games,” said Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi. “We look forward to offering an entirely new multiplayer experience to our audience in the US; an experience that we anticipate will improve user engagement, retention, and monetization.”

Glu says it will be introducing Skillz tournaments to other Android apps during the second half of 2013.

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The Average US Adult Spends 58 Minutes on Their Smartphone

The average US adult spends 58 minutes on their smartphone each day, according to data from Experian – and traditional phone activities still make up the largest chunk of that time.

Overall, making and receiving calls accounts for the highest time spend, at 26 per cent of the total, followed by texting (20 per cent).

Social networking (16 per cent) is the most popular app-based activity, followed by browsing the mobile web (14 per cent), emailing (nine per cent) and playing games (eight per cent). 

The data also shows that the average iOS user spends more time in total on their phone, at 75 minutes per day, than an Android user, at 49 minutes.

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MoPub Marketplace Hits $100m Run Rate

Mobile advertising spend being transacted through the MoPub Marketplace ad exchange has hit a $100m (£65.8m) run rate.

Nearly 2bn ads are served daily on the platform, MoPub says, around 20 per cent of which are transacted through RTB (Real Time Bidding).

“Increasingly, we’ve seen advertisers shift to RTB because it provides more transparency and access to ad inventory than the traditional ad network approach,” said Jim Payne, CEO of MoPub. “This shift of ad dollars combined with better advertiser ROI has created a tremendous upsurge in demand. We couldn’t have imagined when we launched our Marketplace 18 months ago that we would have a $100m revenue business so quickly thereafter.”

MoPub’s revenues have tripled since Q4, 2012.

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Windows Phone 8 Gets Shazammed

Shazam has brought its media discovery app to Windows Phone 8.

As well as the usual music and TV tagging functions, the app features social sharing, local tags, and lyrics, reviews, and bios for tagged tracks.

This version also takes advantage of WP8’s tile-based UI by including a tagging button which can be pinned to the homescreen – cutting down on the time spent fumbling for the app as the track you want to identify finished. The app also enables users to buy the tracks they’ve tagged from Microsoft’s Xbox Music and, on Nokia WP8 devices, Nokia Music.

It’s surprising that it took so long for Shazam to come to WP8, given that the OS launched back in October 2012. Compared with the recent overhaul received by Shazam’s iOS apps – none of which updated functionality is included in this version, it’s worth noting – it’s apparent that, despite Microsoft’s commitment to attracting a wider range of apps, there is still a preference for the Big Two platforms, and iOS in particular.

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Social Networking Makes up Nearly Half of Smartphone Traffic

Social networks make up more than twice the amount of traffic on smartphones than tablets, according to data from Flash Networks. On smartphones, social networks accounted for a mighty 46 per cent of smartphone traffic, compared to 19 per cent on tablets.

Social networking is the single most popular activity on both types of device, however. In fact, all of the measured activities ranked the same on both. App stores came second (15 per cent on smartphones, vs 18 per cent on tablets), with entertainment content third (13 per cent vs 17 per cent). 

Shopping and adult content were tied for fourth place on both platforms, each making up six per cent of mobile traffic and 13 per cent of tablets’.

News was the lowest broken-out category identified in the data, though it was much more popular on tablets (making up 11 per cent of traffic) than smartphones (just four per cent).

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Alaska Airlines Introduces Passbook Boarding Passes

Alaska Airlines has updated its iOS app and mobile site to enable travellers to save their boarding passes to Passbook.

The functionality, powered by Urban Airship’s PassTools API, dynamically updates the passes to reflect any changes to seat assignments, gates and departure times. 

“Alaska Airlines has a long history of innovation, including being the first airline in the US to sell a ticket and check in a customer online,” said Curtis Kopf, VP of customer innovation at Alaska Airlines. “While we’ve enabled electronic boarding passes for some time through our own native apps, support for Passbook will offer our customers additional mobile functionality guaranteed to make the travel experience even easier. This has been a big request from customers.”

Alaska Airlines will also be leveraging Urban Airship’s push messaging capabilities in both its iOS and Android apps to deliver real-time flight alerts and check-in reminders to customers.

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CTR 70 Per Cent Higher on Samsung than Apple in March

In Q1, 2013, Samsung mobile devices showed stronger CTRs (clickthrough rates) than Apple devices in the US and UK, according to an Adfonic report – the first time the manufacturer has outperformed Apple for an entire quarter.

In January, Samsung devices had a CTR index of 1.09, 15 per cent higher than Apple’s index of 0.95. By March, Samsung’s index had risen to 1.41, while Apple’s fell to 0.83 – meaning Samsung scored 70 per cent higher.

That’s fairly surprising, given the historical performance of Apple devices, which indexed higher than Samsung in every quarter of 2012. It’s even more surprising when you consider that this figure includes both smartphones and tablets, and despite the iPad’s market dominance, Samsung tablets aren’t too far behind in terms of CTR – and look to be catching up.

While iPads’ CTR index of 1.1 was 40 per cent higher than Samsung tablets’ 0.66 in January 2013, by March this lead had reduced to 18 per cent, with Samsung’s index increasing to 0.86, and Apple’s dropping slightly to 1.05.

Tablets overall continued to gain ad share, accounting for 15 per cent of all ad requests in Q1, 2013.

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Evian Launches baby&me App

Evian has launched an for iOS, Android and Facebook app to tie into its baby&me online video campaign, which has attracted over 100m views.

The baby&me app, developed by BETC Digital and B-Reel, enables users to scan their faces in order to see a baby-fied version of themselves. Once they’ve created their baby alter ego, users are encouraged to share it via social media – which will presumably be the lynchpin of the app’s success.

Taking a video advertising campaign and adapting it indirectly into an app isn’t an approach we see very often, but it’s one that works well for brands like Evian, who would struggle to offer a practically useful branded app, this is a great approach.

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Telefónica, Santander and CaixaBank Form Joint Venture

Telefónica has signed an agreement with Spanish banks Santander and CaixaBank to create a mobile joint venture.

The joint venture’s remit is to “develop new business opportunities based on the latest mobile and communication technologies”, which Telefónica says has the potential to reach more than 600,000 businesses in Spain alone.

Its first project will be the creation of an ‘online community’ for retailers to deliver offers, discounts and promotions to consumers, followed by a digital wallet with P2P mobile payment functionality, which will only require users to have the recipient’s phone number.

“We are at a crucial moment in the market that offers excellent opportunities to develop innovation projects,” said Enrique García Candelas, senior executive vice president of Santander Retail Banking in Spain. “Uniting the efforts and the experience of three leading companies, we will be able to contribute to making the search of offers, selection of products and purchases more beneficial to both retailers and consumers.”

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Bulmers Refreshes AR App for #beginwithabulmers Campaign

Cider brand Bulmers has refreshed its AR (Augmented Reality) app, as part of its #beginwithabulmers summer marketing campaign.

Working in tandem with branded beer mats, 1.4m of which are being distributed across the UK, the iOS and Android app presents the user with a virtual glass of Bulmers, which they can ‘pour’ in a minigame on their device.

The experience, created by marketing agency Space, has been updated with new creative, to include the newly-launched flavours being promoted and reflect the #beginwithabulmers message.

“Drip mats provide a perfect medium due to our drinkers dwell time whilst sat in enjoying their drinks,” said Sean Kelly, group account director at Space. “By using the mats to trigger a unique AR experience, it lifts our message away from posters and clutter throughout the bar.”

The wider #beginwithabulmers campaign encourages drinkers to share the ‘beginning of their night with a Bulmers’ through social media by adding #beginwithabulmers to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook posts. It will be further supported by Bulmers ‘Hit Squad’ street teams visiting UK cities on Fridays to hand out samples and reward one person per city using the #beginwithabulmers hashtag.

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