The No. 1 app on Android and iOS is OMGPOP’s ‘Draw Something’

Pictionary-like drawing game “Draw Something,” developed by OMGPOP, has quickly become one of the hottest mobile apps for both of the industry’s leading platforms. A few days ago, the developer told TechCrunch it reached 25 million registered users, 10 million active daily users, and close to 1 billion paid ad impressions every day. That is just over 5 weeks after launching. With even more press following reports that Zynga is in talks to acquire developer OMGPOP, the app is continuing to climb app charts in both the App Store and on Google Play.

Currently the app sits at No. 1 in both stores as the No. 1 Top Paid and Top Free iPhone app in the App Store, and the No. 1 Top Free app on Google Play. The app is also currently the No. 1 Top Free iPad app in the game category and in the Top 5 of many other charts in over 80 countries. It looks like the company might get picked up by Zynga, which is not surprising, because a gain of 3.5 million daily users over the last week saw Draw Something take over Zynga’s “Words With Friends” as the most popular Facebook Connect game, according to AppData.

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4.6-inch HD Droid RAZR Fighter pictured

Engadget shows us something it pulled from Chinese language forums:

What you see on the right is called the Droid RAZR “Fighter,” and it has a 4.6-inch 720P display much like HTC’s 4.7-inch One and the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus.

You will note that it does not have physical capacitive buttons, instead opting for the ICS-y soft buttons. That allows Motorola to push the screen further toward the edges, which is something we complained about in our review.

The smaller bezel and lack of physical buttons allows Motorola to break out a much bigger screen without increasing the footprint…much.

Other probabilities: LTE on board, lots more graphics power, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Hopefully the Google buyout of Motorola cuts through the blur, but as with all Verizon phones, you will expect that Verizon will have its way with ICS.

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New iPad’s A5x chip beats out Tegra 3 in many benchmark tests, but not all

When Apple launched the new iPad on Friday, it did so with a new dual-core A5x processor and quad-core graphics inside. During the product’s unveiling, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talked about the new chip noting that it provides four times the performance of Tegra 3. Nvidia was quick to question the slide displayed by Apple onstage (pictured right), which did not provide any specific benchmark data. We now finally have some solid benchmark tests courtesy of Laptop Mag that provide us new insight.

For the benchmark tests, Laptop Mag used an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which is powered by Tegra 3, and put it up against the new iPad in GLBenchmark 2.1, Geekbench, and browsers’ benchmarks with Sunspider and Peacekeeper. In its last test (video above), the publication did a side-by-side subjective gaming performance test to try to spot any noticeable differences between the same title running on both devices. Here is what the publication found:

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Google VP, Apps & President, Enterprise Dave Girouard leaves to form upstart.com

As first reported by Venture Beat, and later announced on his Google Plus page, Google’s Vice President of Apps and President of Enterprise Dave Girouard is leaving Google after eight years to form a startup called “Upstart.com.”

It’s true. After eight wonderful and life-altering years, I’ve decided to leave Google to pursue my own adventure. I owe a lifetime of gratitude to +Larry Page +Sergey Brin and +Eric Schmidt and so many others at Google for giving me such an incredible opportunity. I don’t know if I’ll ever match the learning experience I’ve had here, but I’m going to give it one hell of a try!

In recent months, I’ve thought a lot about the younger generation; about the opportunities and challenges they face in navigating their careers and life choices. The result is www.upstart.com, which you’ll (hopefully) hear a lot more about in the coming months.

Thanks to all of you who have made my Google experience so wonderful!

I had the opportunity to interview Girouard a few years ago when I was at Fortune, and I found him to be extremely grounded and dedicated to the apps mission. Make no mistake, as far as apps and enterprise are concerned, Girouard was the pioneer at Google having manned the helm since its inception.

Other rising executives like Amit Singh, who came over from Oracle a few years ago, will continue to the rapid growth that apps have seen over the last eight years. Read more

Rumor: $150 Nexus tablet a ‘done deal’ without quad-core Tegra 3

A new report from Android and Me claimed a “senior employee at a supply chain company” in the United States confirmed Google has an ASUS-built Nexus tablet currently in the works, which we have previously heard rumors on. The 7-inch tablet was rumored to launch by May, and today’s report claimed it could launch for as low as $149 without the expected quad-core Tegra 3. Unfortunately, we do not get much more information from the report, but the source apparently said the tablet in question is a “done deal”:

The ASUS MeMo 370T that was revealed at CES has been scrapped after Google contracted with ASUS to produce their “Nexus tablet.” Earlier reports said the device would retail for $249-199, but we are now told the target price is $149-199. The quad-core Tegra 3 version that was previously leaked is no more. Other than the 7-inch display, no additional information has been provided on the specs.

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Apple rejected this Android app because it is too much like Siri

The last we heard, Apple was working with developers of Siri alternatives such as True Knowledge, the developers behind “Evi,” to iron out similarities between the app and the iPhone 4S‘s flagship feature. Apple is quick to warn developers who are submitting Siri-like apps not to mimic native features of the OS. Apple wants an app’s features to remain “distinctly different from the iOS behaviors and interfaces to avoid causing user confusion.” Developer Sparkling Apps reached out to let us know Apple rejected its latest app submission called “Voice Answer,” with Apple telling the developer the Wolfram Alpha-powered alternative is “too similar to Siri.” The good news for Android users is the developers have decided to release an Android-only version on available Google Play now.

Apple is not flat-out rejecting all Siri alternatives/competitors. Sparkling Apps already has an app called “Voice Ask” on the App Store that sits in the top charts of the Reference category. Evi remains on the App Store as well. However, the Voice Ask app employs the same True Knowledge database as Evi. While Apple did not offer a specific reason for why the app was rejected, it is possible that Apple is more inclined to reject Siri-like apps using Siri’s Wolfram Alpha knowledge base. Unsurprisingly, the developers instead decided to release Voice Answer as an Android-only app on Google Play.

The app provides spoken answers, optional keyboard input, and configurable items stored in the app’s memory. According to the developer, Voice Answer’s “speech recognition works better than that of Siri, especially with foreign accents,” and the app includes a chatbot called “Eve” that you can teach answers. While most of these features are also baked into Evi, it is unclear exactly why Apple is working with some developers to coexist peacefully with Siri, and then flat-out rejecting others without discussion. Fortunately, the app did not have any issues making its way onto Google Play, and it is even marketed as the “Voice Answer- just like Siri.” We told you in January about the number of Siri clones hitting the market with the release of Evi for Android. The Voice Answer Android app is now available on Google Play for $3.99, and the developers promised that support for messaging and email is on the way.

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Google cuts the lights at server farm to hide gear from competitors

A story from Wired today interviewed Chris Sharp, the GM of content and cloud at data center Equinix where Google happens to lease space alongside some of its biggest competitors. Sharp told an interesting story about Google removing all the light bulbs above its server cages a couple years back. The company then required those working on the servers to wear helmets with lights:

About two years ago, Chris Sharp says, Google unscrewed all the light bulbs inside the hardware cages it occupied at that Equinix data center. “They had us turn off all overhead lights too, and their guys put on those helmets with lights you see miners wear,” he tells Wired. “Presumably, they were bringing up custom-built gear they didn’t want anyone else to see.”

The reason Google did this, according to Sharp, is “there’s a lot of valuable intellectual property.” He added that many companies try to conceal equipment, but he was “always amazed by Google and the helmets.” As Wired pointed out, Google builds its own servers and associated gear and most likely does not want competitors leasing space at Equinix to get a look.
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Google posts ‘College Hoops 2012′ basketball guide, builds bracket based on search queries

Earlier this week, we got the official “NCAA March Madness” Android app, and now Google just posted a “College Hoops 2012″ website acting as a resource for all things college basketball during the tournament. At the top of the page (pictured above), Google allows you to filter the bracket based on “Search Picks” or “Actual Results.” Clicking “Search Picks” will get you Google’s picks based on the teams with the most search queries. Actual results will get you the real/updated results from the tournament, and clicking any of the teams will send you to Google search with the latest news and scores.

On the page, Google also outlined a few ways to stay in the loop during the tournament. On Google+ you can join the conversation with hashtag #GoogleHoops, and there are even a few upcoming Hangouts with ESPN analysts and others in the weeks to come. As for scores, Google reminds us that typing the name of your team followed by [score] will get you results without leaving the search results page. We also get virtual tour of the stadiums during the tournament through Google Maps.

Swing by Google’s “College Hoops 2012” website for more information.
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Google hires Digg founder Kevin Rose

Hot off the wire from AllThingsD:

Rose’s mobile app incubator Milk yesterday announced it was shutting down its only product, Oink.

Google is not outright buying or “acqhiring” Milk, the sources explicitly said, but Rose and some others from the company have been hired. It’s not clear what will happen to Milk after Rose joins Google.

His social and more recent local background would seem to make him a natural at Google+. Rose is also an Angel investor having thrown in with Fab, Zynga, ngmoco, Foursquare, and Twitter.

Interestingly, Google was very close to acquiring Rose’s Digg four years ago, but the deal never went through.
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The Amazon Appstore for Android turns one, offers 50 percent and up off select apps

The Amazon Appstore for Android is officially celebrating its first birthday, and to celebrate it is offering 50 percent off or more on some favorite apps and giving away eight Kindle Fires. As for the apps, new apps will be revealed each day (two on Day Two, three on Day Three, etc.) during the week-long celebration starting with today’s app: Plants vs. Zombies for Kindle Fire on sale for 99 cents. Amazon also decided to share some stats for the relatively new store, which now includes over 31,000 apps up from just 4,000 at launch. The press release noted the “Free App of the Day” promotion has offered nearly a $1,000 worth of apps to users since launch. Amazon also highlighted a few more stats from the store (below).

If you are interested in entering the sweepstakes to win one of the eight Kindle Fires, you can get all the official details here. Go past the break for Amazon’s Top Paid and Top Free app charts for the last 12 months.

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HTC lists 16 devices which will be getting ICS over the next months

Here’s the scoop. HTC is updating most high-end devices that have existed over the past year and a half. It would have been nice to see the original EVO on this list. We are checking our Sensation daily as rollouts have already begun. Although, T-Mobile might not be the quickest carrier to pull the trigger. The HTC One (pictured, right) will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich later this year.

The following HTC devices are confirmed to get a tasty treat of ICS:

  • DROID Incredible 2 by HTC
  • HTC Amaze 4G
  • HTC Desire S
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC EVO 3D
  • HTC EVO Design 4G
  • HTC Incredible S
  • HTC Sensation
  • HTC Sensation XL
  • HTC Sensation 4G
  • HTC Sensation XE
  • HTC Raider
  • HTC Rezound
  • HTC Rhyme
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • HTC Vivid

As for timing, we’re in the early stages of rolling out Android 4.0 for the HTC Sensation and HTC Sensation XE and upgrades will be more widely available in the next few weeks. The update for the HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XL will follow. Please note, once we start pushing out updates it will take time for all carriers in each country to get the update. We are working closely with our carrier partners to nail down update schedules for our other smartphones and will have more to share very soon. Read more