iPhone app record: Crash Bandicoot downloaded close to a million times, nets $4 million

If you want to see how high iPhone applications sales can go, look no further than Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D, the Vivendi Games Mobile produced iPhone game.  While no official numbers have been released, Apple is saying that it is the number one all time downloaded game, ahead of Koi Pond.  Koi Pond, the $.99 app that simulates a Japanese fish pond, is the second highest selling app of all time and the New York Times puts its number at 900,000 downloads.

If those numbers hold true, that means that Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D is closing in on a million downloads if it hasn’t already surpassed that (the first paid app to do so).  Additionally, at a significantly higher $5.99 per download, it took in a lot more money.  Probably at least $4 million after Apple takes its cut.

This shows that the iPhone App Store can be a huge success both for indy developers like Koi Pond as well as commercial houses like Vivendi.

Commercial Times ups the ante to 3 different iPhones in June

The Commercial Times, which does have a solid iPhone prediction history (including the original iPhone), now says that they expect to see three iPhones in June.  One will be an EDGE version, likely for India (where 3G is slow to deploy) and other developing markets which may benefit from lower price points.  Another is everyone’s favorite, the 3G model for Western nations.  The third is a CDMA version possibly for China and…dare we say…Veriz….nope, we aren’t going there (again).  This would be a blow for China Unicom which plans to have a 3G network going in May and is already running iPhone ads. The Chinese populace would probably appreciate a choice between carriers. 

Speaking (again) of choice, we do know that Apple has recently taken steps to make the iPhone more open in the US and available on Tmobile.

Or maybe that third iPhone is really a tablet of some sort?  The Commercial Times also mention that Apple is prepping an initial build of 4 million devices.  Read the translation and see if you can get anything more out of it.

[Commercial Times via Slashphonevia Gizmodo/MR]

 

Buy.com offering Apple official unlocked iPhones for $799

Buy.com is offering an official Apple Unlocked iPhones now for $799.   This is an official Apple iPhone which isn’t jailbroken.  You can do iTunes updates and not have to worry about locking your iPhone up again.  Apple warranty also applies.

Strangely, they say that the iPhones may be from other countries so they might have instructions in languages besides English. 

This looks like another inventory clearing measure by Apple in anticipation of upcoming new iPhone models in June.  

If you’ve wanted a Tmobile iPhone without jailbreaking hassles/issues, now is your chance.  Or perhaps you travel a lot and want to be able to change SIM cards as you go?  Check the video on Buy.com’s website.

The site states:

The Never Locked iPhone!!

Apple iPhones have typically been locked to only use on the AT&T network, so they are not capable of being used on other GSM carriers such as T-Mobile or for overseas travel.

Hackers were able to break the software to use the iPhone on carriers other than AT&T, but any connection to iTunes or any software updates provided by Apple lock the iPhone and render it useless.

Now the iPhone is available without any locks or restrictions to any GSM carrier.

Also, the Apple guarantee is valid for all never-locked iPhones.

You are now able to:

 

  • Connect the iPhone to iTunes
  • Update the iPhone software when the updates are available from Apple
  • Purchase apps from the iTunes library or the Apps store on the iPhone
  • Use AT&T or T-Mobile in the USA Or one of the 30 different GSM carriers all over the US.
  • Use with any GSM carriers globally Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more features at your fingertips. And like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML email and a desktop-class web browser. iPhone 3G. It redefines what a mobile phone can do again.

     

Elan reveals rationale for Apple lawsuit: eFinger transparent touchpad

We knew something was fishy with that Elan lawsuit last week.  Why would a company that makes multi-touch trackpads for inexpensive Eee PCs make a big stink about Apple’s use of multi-touch.  And why now?  Apple laptops had multi-touch before any other manufacturer. 

Seemed like much to do about nothing. 

But turns out that Elan has some more tricks up its sleeve, including "eFinger" Multi-touch interface for (in this case) Google’s Android.  This isn’t a just a wild concept technology either, it looks ready for showtime.

The demo appears to be really smooth and very quick.  Notice how fast the keyboard keys are recognized.  iPhone users will no doubt be a little green on this one.  Remember though, this is a demo so the final product might not be quite as amazing with other operations running.

Also, remember that Google was "asked to stay away from Multi-touch" and complied?  Perhaps they just outsourced it.  That’s one of the advantages to having a more open operating system.

iPhone Mania via Engadget

Will the new iPhone have a better processor? (Yes)

Forbes says that the iPhone Needs A New Brain.  We tend to agree with that assessment.  One of the things that kills us in the current iPhone experience is sluggishness.  The long pauses between switching apps and startup times for applications are great for a phone but could certainly be improved upon.  Applications like Safari take a few seconds to start up, especially if there are other processes running. Mobile Safari is great, but wouldn’t it be cool if it could render pages even faster?  A faster processor could help.

Remember, even though Apple doesn’t support background execution on third party apps, all of the main apps do work in the background.  If Mobile Mail is downloading a big attachment or you are getting an SMS while trying to open a Safari window, you might have to wait a few seconds more than normal.

A few seconds here and there starts to become annoying.  Never fear, however,  these types of user experience improvements are what Apple is famous for methodically trying to improve.  Pre-iPhone, no one would have believed you could have any type of enjoyable web surfing experience on a phone.  That myth was broken in 2007 when Apple released the iPhone with a Samsung ARM Processor.  But it isn’t 2007 anymore.  iPhone competitors have the same Webkit based browsers that Apple employs and are building app stores and running on Unix and Linux.  Apple needs to stay ahead of the game.

According to Forbes:

 

It’s more than just a power-management problem, however. "One of the drawbacks of the iPhone right now is it can only [run] one application at a time," says Will Strauss, president of wireless market research firm Forward Concepts. With a more powerful processor, he adds, the iPhone could run several applications concurrently[It already does - this is a misunderstanding].

Apple’s rivals are already heading down that path. Palm is pushing out a new phone based around Texas Instrument‘s OMAP3430 processor. One of the Pre’s key features: the ability to show the user information from more than one application at a time. The software makes it slick, but TI’s hardware makes that possible.

Apple, meanwhile, relies on an application processor from Samsung [S3C6400]. There are two problems there. For starters, Samsung also sells smart phones, allowing it to give its phones the same capabilities, on paper, as Apple’s iPhone. The bigger problem, however, is just about muscle. The relatively dinky processor can’t match the TI model’s power [for more on this, go here].

There are several possible solutions. Samsung could build a new processor around the same ARM Cortex-A8 architecture TI uses [Already released S5PC100], or Apple could switch to TI, Strauss suggests. Alternatively, Apple could build a processor of its own, presumably one based on the ARM-architecture, with the chip designers it picked up last year with its acquisition of PA Semi.

The Samsung S5PC100 - Samsung’s successor to the iPhone chip

We waiver on what chip makes the most sense.  Our thoughts are that Apple has maxed out the S3C6400 at 533MHz on the iPod touch 2.0.  That doesn’t mean they won’t put out a lower cost iPhone based on this chip that is, for most intents and purposes, the same as the iPhone3G.  This would be the lower end type of product (iPhone Nano?)…the kind they would hypothetically want to slang in developing world-type markets.  Apple doesn’t usually do this kind of thing, however.

If Apple is going to go head to head with the Pre and other smartphone OSes out there (remember these are year long life cycles we are talking about here – this iPhone will be still be selling in May of 2010), they are going to need some more "brains", as Forbes puts it.   There are at least five ways that Apple could go with this:

1. The TI OMAP 3430 chip that is in the Pre is a very quick chip.  That is why the Pre has the horsepower to do all of that fancy multitasking you see in all of those videos.  It has about double the horsepower of Apple’s current Samsung and can use less power (see why Apple should be changing?).  It is also in a few other hot new devices like the Open Pandora and the Archos phone

2. Samsung’s ARM Cortex A8  S5PC100 followup to their iPhone chip (schematic pictured above). This would be the easiest migration route and would require the least amout of low level code changes.  It looks to be on roughly the same level as the TI OMAP 3430.  Also, Apple buys lots of Flash from Samsung so their partnership is already strong.

3. Apple/PA Semi could be building their own chip.  After all, this is what Jobs said they bought the company for.  It will still likely be based on an ARM Cortex architecture and, like all of these other chips (except NVIDIA – which have their own hard-core GPU), work with Imagination’s multi-core GPU.

4. Macrumors said they’ve heard claims that the  Marvell PXA168 ARM XScale chip is going to be the next iPhone chip.  While this is kind of a wild card (Intel sold the XScale technology used to build the ARM processor to Marvell in 2006 for $600 million), Apple has been known to do some interesting things.

5. NVidia, Apple’s partner on DisplayPort technology on its new Mac line as well as OpenCL partner, has an incredible ARM line called Tegra.  Their chips have been shown to run head to head with Intel’s Atoms at multiples less power usage.  These chips are rumored to be entering Netbooks running Ubuntu and Android shortly.  Apple invests in and loves Imaginations GPU chips so it is unlikely that they would use NVIDIA’s.

All of these ARM Cortex chips benefit from the work that ARM has been putting into making these products "netbook worthy".  They will all run Flash 10 out of the box as well as modern browsers like Firefox and Webkit-based Safari very quickly.  They also blow away Intel’s Atom in terms of power usage.  A lot of these chips run in devices that  can measure their battery time in days, not hours.

That brings us to this 10-inch tablet device we’ve been hearing so much about.  If it is at all based on the iPhone OS X, it will definitely need an ARM processor that can handle hardcore computing.  The current iPhone chip simply isn’t an option.  Notice in the white papers above that  three processors listed above all support 720P decoding (TI is slightly less, PA Semi unknown).  This would be the high point in the resolution possibilities (720P= 720×1280 pixels = few vertical pixels shy of MacBook resolution).  Dell’s Mini 10 has this resolution and newer high end Netbooks are kind of congregating around this sweet spot.

Forbes is right.  Apple has to do something about the 2+ year old iPhone/iPod Touch processor.  It will be extremely interesting to see  which direction Apple chooses to take.  We’ll also be watching out for any big orders from these guys in the coming weeks.

 

Walk thru: NIN iPhone App

While we’ve kinda fallen off of the NIN bandwagon since Pretty Hate Machine was popular (truth be told), we have to admire Trent Reznor as a pioneer of the digital music revolution.  He’s been at the forefront of selling his music online and DRM free for mixing/enjoyment since Napster was the preferred method of downloading tracks. 

His latest project is a new app that pledges to bring the NIN.com social networking experience to iPod touch and iPhone.  Here he is explaining the thought behind it (thanks Jonny) with a special guest appearance:

As of this writing the app is still not in the App Store.