This weekend is all about one thing: The Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers show down in the final football game of the 2012 season to determine which team will be crowned champion. It’s three hours of pure intensity and human drama, which provides just enough of a distraction to make us forget about the PED stories, Ray Lewis’ legal issues, and the backward thinking 49ers locker room. While it looks like everyone involved in Super Bowl XLVII is losing at press week, the official winners and losers will be decided on the field. Since mobile companies will be taking part in the real draw of the big game – the commercials – we figure it’s best to take a look at the winners and losers of the past week in mobile. Let’s be honest, you’ll be spending as much time looking at your phone as you will at the TV screen during the game, so you might as well know what’s going on in mobile news from the week of January 26-February 3, 2013.
Winner: Temple Run 2
There are always new apps coming out. So often, in fact, it’s hard to keep up with all of them. So while new apps are on their way and some of our favorites keep getting better, it’s pretty easy to pick a winner when an app racks up 50 million downloads in just two weeks. Temple Run 2, the cleverly titled sequel to Temple Run, ran into the record books by becoming the fastest growing mobile game ever. Perhaps this is why those birds in that other game are so angry.
The inevitable increase of mobile devices means more and more people are starting to frequent their favorite websites on the go. So it’s a no-brainer that Facebook’s mobile visitor base has increased significantly. The company saw the mobile-only users jump by over 30 million in the 4th quarter. Despite this, Facebook is losing money. Net income is down 79 percent and investors are moving on. Maybe if it didn’t take you forever to fix broken features on those popular apps of yours, things would be better, Facebook.
Winner: BlackBerry 10
Not sure if you guys heard, but BlackBerry released its new operating system – BlackBerry 10 – and some new devices to run it on this week. It might seem like a no-brainer to give the win to the new guy, especially with expectations so low, but we think BlackBerry really earned this one. In true eccentric athlete-like fashion, the company formally known as Research in Motion even renamed itself to signify how serious it is about its new dedication to its mobile product. The Z10 and the Q10 both seem like winners, and the OS has been pretty well received. Welcome back, BlackBerry.
Loser: iOS 6.1
Never one to miss out on a chance to mooch off of someone else’s news cycle, Apple decided to launch the first major update for iOS since iOS 6 was released. Over 300 million users are using the sixth version of Apple’s mobile operating system, but if you’re going to try to get them excited while a competitor owns the spotlight, go big with it. Siri can now order you movie tickets? Great, we can’t wait for it to hear us wrong and get us tickets to whatever version of the Step Up series is in theaters now.
The IDC released its latest reports about the tablet market, and its findings aren’t all that shocking. Apple is still dominating, Android is gaining, and those trends are likely to continue. Our winner by default are Android tablets because the internal competition between the biggest players in that market is more interesting than the big picture. Amazon made devices once were the kings of the Android population, but Google’s critical hit with the Nexus 7 has cut into the lead. Now Acer has announced its attempt to take on the biggest players in Android tablets, things could get really interesting.
By default, the loser of this report has to be Apple. Yeah, it only lost market share because it absolutely owned the market for the longest time, and statistically it’s continuing to do so. But its share of the pie is shrinking. If Asia is any example, people might be getting sick of Apple. Then again, workers in Asia see under the hood of Apple products. Perhaps they don’t like what they see.
Winner: 128GB iPad 4
Alright, we just declared Apple the loser in the tablet market. Are you ready for a contradictory statement? Apple’s supposed 128GB iPad 4 is the winner of the new tablet conversation this week. Why? Because it’s capitalizing on the fact that tablets are becoming used more and more for tasks computers would usually be used for. It’ll have a bigger price tag, sure, but Apple users are used to paying top dollar for their devices. If everything goes according to Apple’s plan, you can pay for that 128GB iPad with someone else’s money.
Loser: 64GB (but not really) Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet
A bigger hard drive scored Apple a win in this column, so the company that does the exact opposite has to take the loss here. Step up to the plate and disappoint some people, Microsoft! The computing giant confirmed rumors that its Surface Pro tablet will ship with almost two-thirds of its internal storage already in use. The 64GB Surface Pro with 23GB of actually usable storage ships for $900, though we suggest when you go to pay for the device, you offer one-third of your total.
Winner: Apps that break the rules
Everybody loves a rebel. They break the rules and they do what some of us would like to do but are too afraid to. When we see rule breakers we like stick it to the man and come out on top, it’s hard not to celebrate a little. That’s why apps that break the rules are the winners of this category. The popular new Vine app got away with something that 500px couldn’t: Featuring porn. The guys behind Vine claim it was an accident, and it very well may have, but the app is still around to tell its story, no matter how explicit it may be. Speaking of 500px, it’s back in the App Store. Meanwhile, the popular messaging service Whatsapp is having the legality of one of its features questioned. Keep fighting the power.
A time honored past time for mobile users died this pass week: Jailbreaking your phone is now illegal under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The reasons for the decision vary, most of them being uninformed and unengaged lawmakers, but it’s on the books now. Of course, no one’s really sure how anyone plans on enforcing this law. But we’re sure the first time it is enforced, we’ll be hearing an awful lot about it.