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3 years ago

How high is 'unbelievably high' piracy? Dead Trigger dev's not saying

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This morning Madfinger Games took to Facebook to explain why it lowered Dead Trigger from 99 cents to free. The reasoning? Rampant piracy. "Unbelievably high" piracy, actually. "The piracy rate is soooo giant," the developer continued.

One thing, though: We have absolutely no idea what that means. 

There always will be piracy. It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that so long as applications can be stolen, they will be stolen. We wish that wasn't the case. How many people stole the 99-cent Dead Trigger? Raise your hands if you dare. Was it 10 instances? One hundred? One thousand? Dead Trigger is currently in the 100,000 to 500,000 download range on its Google Play listing. We've e-mailed Madfinger Games in hopes of getting some more details on this. If 1,000 instances of piracy were noted, that's just 1 percent of the minimum total downloads. We've got an e-mail in to Madfinger seeking some details. 

Here's Madfinger's complete statement on moving Dead Trigger to free:

Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck. - It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN but on the other hand we didn't dare to provide it for free, since we hadn't got XP with free-to-play format so far. - However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free. Anyway - DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM, it always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY, that means, all players are able to play it without IAP! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) DEAD TRIGGER without IAP.

This is important just as it's important in the television industry, where piracy also is a real issue (though more self-inflicted, we'd argue). The vast majority of Android users out there, we presume, don't download pirated apps. 

Anyway. Kudos to Madfinger for making a great game even greater by making it free -- not that 99 cents should have kept anyone away. But let's hope the next time the piracy card is played, we see some numbers to back it up.

Source: Facebook

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3 years ago

Minecraft creator sued for patent infringement in Android game

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Uniloc, a patent protection company specializing in anti-piracy technologies, is suing Mojang, developer of Minecraft, for infringing on an Android-related patent called "System and Method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data". It's basically a system for authenticating license data. The lawsuit reads:

Mojang is directly infringing one or more claims of the ’067 patent in this judicial district and elsewhere in Texas, including at least claim 107, without the consent or authorization of Uniloc, by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including, but not limited to, Mindcraft.

(You'd think they could at least get the game's name right.) You can see the full lawsuit over here. Notch, the beloved creator of Minecraft, is vocally against software patents. After getting handed the lawsuit, he wrote up am astute blog post linked below and tweeted: 

Ric Richardson, the founder of Australia-based Uniloc, begs to differ

It amazes me that people complain about paying a royalty for a technology that stops up to a third of a software companies sales from being lost to piracy. What are you saying? "Its all right to steal from Uniloc as long as it helps stop pirates stealing from me? ... I had to spend $40,000 back in 1992 to protect my idea. It was not frivolous for me... it was the difference between having a deposit for a house and having a patent.

Uniloc is requesting a jury trial and that Mojang pay in both previous damages and in future royalties. Hopefully Mojang can get away with simply changing the supposedly infringing lines of code. Let's just hope that these Uniloc guys don't start taking their litigations to other app developers.

Do you guys agree with Notch that software patents are obtrusive to innovation, or is there a legitimate use for them?

Source: The Word of Notch

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3 years ago

Samsung Spare Battery Charging System review

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Your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) might get you though a full day of use on one charge – but it might not.

When most people get a smartphone with the capabilities and beautiful screen of the Galaxy S3, they tend to use it…a lot.  Even though the Galaxy S3 comes with a rather large 2100mAh battery, the size of the screen and the use of LTE can still drain the device before the day is done.

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3 years ago

How to use S Memo on the Galaxy S3

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Samsung has put a bunch of proprietary software on the Galaxy S III (S3) and some apps, like S Memo are particularly useful.

There are lots of note-taking apps for Android.  Some of them sync with cloud servers like Google Drive and others sync with desktop note-organizing apps like Evernote.

Samsung has attempted to create a proprietary note-taking app that syncs with all these services, uploads to Dropbox and allows you to post your notes to your various social media networks. In short, S Memo tries to be all things to all users, and, surprisingly, it does a pretty good job. 

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3 years ago

Staples president alludes to 10-inch Amazon tablet, among other versions

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The president of U.S. retail for Staples has thrown more fuel onto the blaze that is the Amazon Kindle Fire -- specifically, the next version (or versions) of the online retailer's Android-based tablet.

Reuters reports that Demos Parneros says Amazon "is to introduce up to five or six tablet SKUs," and they we will see different sizes, including a 10-inch model. 

It's important to note the use of the words "up to," meaning we may as as many as five or six, or as few as one or two. Also, note that the Reuters report says "five or six tablet SKUs." An SKU is a "stock-keeping unit," so we could be talking two or three versions of a single model. For example, 16-, 32- and 64-gigabyte versions of a single tablet would mean three SKUs. So it's unlikely we're looking at a 5-, 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-inch versions of a Kindle Fire tablet. (Though if we were talking about Samsung here, it wouldn't be out of the question.

Regardless, yes, we'll most likely see an improved Kindle Fire this year. 

Source: Reuters

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3 years ago

PSA: Galaxy Nexus GPS problems on Jelly Bean? There's an easy fix

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Some Galaxy Nexus users who've recently updated their devices to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean have been experiencing issues with the phone's GPS capabilities. Specifically, some Gnex owners are unable to get a GPS fix, even with several satellites in view. It's a pretty nasty bug that, at worst, can leave you unable to track your location.

To check if you're affected, open up an app that constantly tracks where you are, like Google Maps, (and wait a while -- GPS takes time to kick in) then check the notification shade for a GPS message. If the text says "Searching for GPS..." and you're not seeing a flashing icon, that means you're not getting a GPS lock. To confirm that you're affected by the bug, you can download the GPS Test app and see if you have satellites within view.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix for anyone experiencing problems -- simply go to Settings > Location services, uncheck and re-check "Google's location service," and you should be good to go. We've confirmed that this remedies the situation on our own phones, and we've heard that it's worked for others, too. It looks like this is just a weird server-side glitch, and clearing and re-enabling Google location services resets things on the phone's side.

If you've been experiencing GPS issues on the Galaxy Nexus, let us know how you're getting on down in the comments.

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3 years ago

International Xperia GX (LT29i) sighted in leaked pics

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While it's been releasing quirky low-end phones like the Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo, there's one Sony phone we've been fawning over, the Xperia GX. So far the GX is exclusive to Japan, though we've heard rumors that an international variant, dubbed the LT29i Hayabusa, is headed for Western markets in the third quarter of the year.

Now it seems we have confirmation that such a device is in the works, as photos of the purported phone have cropped up over on XperiaBlog. Though we can't confirm the specifications of the device shown in the leaked images, it looks almost identical to the Japanese version, except for the lack of an NTT Docomo logo. That phone has a 4.6-inch 720p display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and a 13MP rear camera, along with on-screen buttons and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The device pictured seems to sport the same slimline, Xperia Arc-style chassis with a slight camera bulge up top. On the "About phone" page, it identifies itself as an LT29i.

Nothing's been confirmed just yet, but we're hoping for an announcement at this year's IFA show in Berlin at the end of August. The device recently piqued our interest when it appeared at the FCC sporting a pentaband HSPA+ radio.

Source: XperiaBlog; via: Recombu

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3 years ago

HTC sells back half of its stake in Beats Audio

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HTC has sold half of its 50.1 percent stake in Beats Audio, less than a year after it acquired its share of the company for $309 million. The move leaves HTC with a 25.57 stake in Beats, with the remaining 24.53 percent being bought back by the company's founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, for $150 million. This comes after a year in which Beats failed to emerge as a major differentiator for HTC's smartphones, and after the company reversed its decision to include premium Beats-branded earphones with its high-end HTC One series phones.

In a statement, HTC said it will continue to "work closely" with Beats, and despite the sale, it's expected HTC will continue to include Beats software enhancements in future smartphones.

HTC remains in a somewhat uneasy position, following strong competition from Samsung and Apple in the mobile space. The company's second quarter numbers showed a 57.8 percent year-on-year fall in net profits, following lower-than-expected sales of the HTC One series. Despite this, HTC remains a major force in the smartphone world, as recently released Nielsen numbers show the manufacturer with a 14 percent market share in the U.S., behind Samsung's 17 percent.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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3 years ago

10 million Galaxy S III phones sold, says Samsung Mobile head

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Samsung Mobile head JK Shin has reportedly told the Korean press that the company's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, has sold more than 10 million units worldwide. The news follows earlier reports that Samsung intended to reach the 10 million milestone by the end of July, which it's now achieved with weeks to spare. In the two months since the device made its international debut in London, the Galaxy S III has gone on sale in all major smartphone markets, including the U.S. and Sammy's native South Korea, where it enjoyed record first-day sales.

The number puts the Galaxy S III on track to surpass sales of its predecessor, the Galaxy S II, which sold 20 million units worldwide inside of its first year of availability. By contrast, that phone took around five months to reach the 10 million mark.

Source: Yonhap; via: BI

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3 years ago

Google shows off Nexus 7 in new commercial

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Google has released a new commercial for the Nexus 7, showing off the features of the device with games and media. While it's a bit of a reach in regards to battery life and Wifi range, it's really well done and puts a happy face on the new 7-inch tablet. We'd like to see more like this from Google. Have a look and see.

Source: GoogleNexus on Youtube. Thanks for the tip, Ben!

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3 years ago

Internet rumor mill says Jelly Bean coming to Samsung Galaxy S III 'soon'

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According to the fine folks at Sammobile, we might be seeing the Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III as soon as August. We're certain that Samsung is in the process of figuring out the update schedule, but it's always nice to see the insiders mention that things are moving along. Of course, Jelly Bean on the Galaxy S III will not look like the Jelly Bean we've seen so far, but that's not a bad thing. Samsung has a pretty good handle on their TouchWiz operating system, and whether you love it or hate it you can't deny it's feature rich and runs pretty damn well on the SGSIII's blazing hardware.

We're excited to try Android 4.1 and "the butter" on some handsets with better hardware under the hood. The Galaxy S III is sure to impress us even more with the new features and polish that comes with Jelly Bean. We'll keep an eye on this one closely.

Source: Sammobile

 

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3 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Bad timing for Batman, Nexus 7 shipping (or not), and other odds and ends

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Hey there, everybody! Took a week off from this column last week, as my fingers (and the rest of my body) could hardly move after installing some hardwood floors. Don't let those TV shows fool you -- that stuff is hard. On the plus side, I've decided to wear kneepads 24/7, which should do wonders for those broken joints of mine, previously abused by too many years (and one ACL replacement) on the soccer field, and currently by a few too many inches on the ol' waistline. Don't knock it till you try it.

A few thoughts as we head back into another work week:

  • As I said atop our news post last week announcing the release of Gameloft's The Dark Night, we're all painfully aware of the shooting in Aurora, Colo., just outside Denver. It's a nice little suburb I've been to a number of times, when my maternal grandmother was alive. My question: Should Gameloft have postponed the release? There are arguments on either side of that, certainly. 
  • Oh, and you'd be amazed at how quickly I can (and have, and will again) ban people who think they're leaving funny comments in regards to a dozen people getting shot.
  • So the 16-gigabyte Nexus 7 tablet is back to "Coming soon" status on Google Play. Obviously, something weird happened with fulfillment. For my part, I got the one I ordered on July 3 (though the Nexus Q I ordered with it isn't shipping yet). What's odd is that the two 16GB Nexus 7s I ordered on June 27 -- during the Google I/O keynote, actually, as soon as they hit the store -- are still in limbo. The UPS label has been printed, but that's it. For what it's worth, this is the first time I've ever had an issue ordering a device from Google Play. Countless Galaxy Nexus phones have made it without issue. Is it a Google thing? An ASUS thing? Is the Nexus 7 just that popular?
  • I picked up the Kindle Fire this weekend for the first time since getting the Nexus 7 -- only so I could watch "The West Wing." Amazon created a nice little niche for itself with the Kindle Fire and streaming video, but it's time for the company to open things up onto non-Kindle devices. And releasing a better Kindle Fire (which we fully expect to happen later this year) isn't the answer. Want to put a hurt on Netflix? Get on the iPad. And on Android tablets. And push hard on all the new Windows gear.
  • Some great thoughts from Rene Ritchie on the Nexus 7. The whole "save state" thing doesn't bother me nearly as much as it does him, though, but that could that while I frequently use an iPad, I don't use it as thoroughly and completely as he does. (Or maybe it's just difference in the way we think.)

So what's coming next? Samsung's doing something on Aug. 15. (Good lord, it's almost August already?) We'll be at the IFA conference in Berlin in late August/early September, so there's that, too. And we're already looking ahead to the CTIA conference in San Diego in October.

This week I'll be meeting up with the other Mobile Nations editors in Winnipeg, which I'm told is in Canada. (Hey, I just get on the plane ya know?) Exciting things are afoot, and those of you who frequent CrackBerry might have seen the Mobile Nations Passport teaser. This is good stuff, folks. 

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3 years ago

Apps of the Week - Shine Runner, SMod Forever, Camera Launcher and more

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Android Central's editors have once again picked their favorite apps for the week. We've got a lot of games this go around, but also a few utilities you might find handy. Anyone who picked up a Google Nexus 7 will definitely want to check out our picks this week. Dig in after the jump!

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3 years ago

Kyocera Rise render spotted with Sprint software

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As we predicted during CTIA when Kyocera first announced the Rise, it looks like it will be headed to Sprint at some point in the future. A leaked press render showing the SprintZone app and Sprint ID button pretty much nail this one for the Now Network, and the source says to expect it on Virgin Mobile as well. If you have a look at our hands-on with the Rise, you'll see that it's a solid phone for the budget conscious. With a 1GHz Snapdragon and 512MB of RAM under the glass, the Rise fares well against other entry-level phones like the HTC One V, and if the "Tissue Conduction" audio technology ends up working as advertised, the Rise could be one of the best phones on the market for folks who need a phone. 

While it's not packing quite the punch that the EVO 4G LTE or Galaxy S III is, it's nice to see options of all shapes and sizes. We'll be on the lookout for any official word from Kyocera or Sprint.

Source: @evleaks

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