Simpler Games, Simpler Times

Flappy Bird. Flappy. Fucking. Bird.

About a week ago, I was perusing the App Store as I normally do. Much to my surprise, I saw a new king atop the free app charts: Flappy Bird. This was odd to me because I usually feel like I’m paying enough attention to see an app’s rise in one way or another. But not here. The app seemingly rose from 0 to 60 overnight.

Even crazier: the same developer now controls three of the top ten spaces in the App Store with Flappy Bird at number one, Super Ball Juggling at number two, and Shuriken Block at number nine.

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Tom Warren:

Multiple sources have revealed to The Verge that Normandy is designed as an Asha equivalent to push low-cost devices with access to more traditional smartphone apps — something the company has struggled to achieve for its Series 40-powered Asha line. Nokia’s effort is similar to Amazon’s own use of Android, allowing the company to customize it fully for its own use. Nokia employees working on Normandy were informed the device is planned as a 2014 release, and one insider described the Normandy effort as “full steam ahead.” Unless Nokia manages to release Normandy ahead of its Microsoft deal, we can’t imagine Microsoft is interested in using Android to target the low-end over its own Windows Phone operating system.

Filed under: why Microsoft had to buy Nokia.

unsubtlewoods asked:

Have you tried the Nexus 5? As someone who has moved from Android to iPhone I am starting to get that 'itch'. Would going from a iPhone 5s to the Nexus 5 be a total shit storm?

I just got one a couple weeks back. Still testing out (iPhone 5s is still my primary, obviously). It seems very fast. The screen is beautiful. The camera leaves a lot to be desired, but apparently they’re trying to fix that through software. We’ll see.

Short answer: if you care about photography, you probably won’t want to switch back. Or if you use Verizon (which I do), you can’t. Otherwise, seems like a great device — best Android device I’ve used yet, though I haven’t had too much time with the Moto X.

Agam Shah reporting on the news that AMD is now committing to chips that will run both Android and Chrome OS:

"We are very committed to Windows 8; we think it’s a great operating system, but we also see a market for Android and Chrome developing as well," Su said.

AMD previously said it had no interest in Android and that its chips would be exclusively tuned for Microsoft’s Windows 8. 

Things change.

I’ll just repeat what I wrote a month ago after the initial unveiling:

It almost reads like so many new iPhone initial thoughts these days — “the same, but a little better”. Except that it seems that on top of the good, smaller iterations, Samsung added a bunch of stupid shit that no one will use as well.

Air View? Air Gesture? Smart Scroll? Smart Pause? I’m reminded of the the Dr. Ian Malcolm line from Jurassic Park, “But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

The last line is especially perfect since I just got home from seeing Jurassic Park in 3D this evening.

If Microsoft Were The Inventors Of Facebook Home, They’d Have Invented Facebook Home

Here we go again.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of communications, took to the company blog today to “congratulate” Facebook on the launch of Facebook Home. Except that he’s not really congratulating Facebook, he’s passive-aggressively signaling the old “WE DID THIS FIRST!!!” whiny bullshit that Microsoft loves to pull from time to time.

Microsoft, by way of Shaw, seems annoyed that Facebook is getting all this buzz for something they believe they did in 2011 with Windows Phone.  They’re pissed off that such a fact which seems so obvious to them wasn’t brought up enough yesterday, so they’re bringing it up themselves. 

Not mentioned is that it wasn’t brought up because Windows Phone, while a good product in many regards, is a complete after-thought in the smartphone market. You can yell “FIRST!!!” as loudly as you want to try to change that, but that never works. 

Said another way: If you guys were the inventors of Facebook Home, you’d have invented Facebook Home.

What’s deliciously awkward here is that Microsoft is actually an investor in Facebook, and a close partner. It must be especially maddening that Facebook would choose to utilize (or “spoon”) a product by their chief rival — hence Shaw’s comments about Android in his post. 

I’ll just repeat what I said a year ago on a similar matter:

If you have to tell people you won, you lost.

Nice scoop by Josh Constine of TechCrunch:

Facebook just invited press to an event at its headquarters on April 4th to “Come See Our New Home On Android”. Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years.

Others have since backed this up as well.

I was a few months off, but this is basically what I had heard back in January as well.

There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not this would constitute a “fork” of Android. It would seem there is a way for Facebook to do this with Google’s blessing (just as they bless TouchWiz and other “skins”). But make no mistake, this is not stock Android. Facebook will deeply inject their own apps into the core of the OS. As long as they don’t replace Search, Maps, and a few others, Google should be okay with it — for now.

One wildcard is the Play Store. Facebook has their own App Center (which right now links to Play Store and the App Store), which they presumably could make work as a stand-alone Android app store as well. But it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t piss off Google. See: Amazon.

Another question: what will the carriers think of this? Presumably, they’ll have at least one on board with the HTC phone. Facebook has been making a lot of noise about “free calls” within their Messenger apps — this could all but destroy the notion of cellular “minutes”. 

Of course, that writing has been on the wall for some time. Data phones are the way going forward. Still, the carriers must be a little scared of the post-minutes, post-SMS world that this Facebook Phone highlights. It’s a huge change. The carriers are finally becoming the dumb pipes they were meant to be.