Smartphones Selling More Than Feature Phones: IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) reported in their Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker study that mobile phone sales increased to 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 402.4 million the same quarter last year. Smartphones sold 216.2 million units during the first quarter, making up 51.6 percent of the market and surpassing the sales of feature phones for the first time in history.

“Phone users want computers in their pockets. The days where phones are used primarily to make phone calls and send text messages are quickly fading away,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “As a result, the balance of smartphone power has shifted to phone makers that are most dependent on smartphones.”

“In addition to smartphones displacing feature phones, the other major trend in the industry is the emergence of Chinese companies among the leading smartphone vendors,” noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “A year ago, it was common to see previous market leaders Nokia, BlackBerry (then Research In Motion), and HTC among the top five. While those companies have been in various stages of transformation since, Chinese vendors, including Huawei and ZTE as well as Coolpad and Lenovo, have made significant strides to capture new users with their respective Android smartphones.”

Nokia sold 70 million smartphones, but that represented a drop off of more than a quarter compared to last year. Apple sold 37 million smartphones during the first quarter, and while it’s a record, it was not double-digit growth for the first time since 2009.


SCEA Hires Agency For Crowdsourced Ads

Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that it has hired MOFILM as its crowdsourced ads agency. The company’s previously helped with the release of LittleBigPlanet Karting in the U.S. and a campaign for PlayStation in Latin America.

“We have been incredibly impressed with the creativity and quality of work that the MOFILM community has produced while working with us over the past year,” said SCEA’s PlayStation brand marketing SVP Guy Longworth. “As PlayStation moves into its next phase of growth, we look forward to continuing our work with MOFILM as our agency of record for crowdsourced advertising.”

2K Games: No Booth For E3 2013

2K Games has announced that it will not have a showfloor presence at E3. The company will instead be focusing on “live gameplay and event broadcasts” to highlight their upcoming games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, and WWE 2K14.

“We are going to have a meeting room in the upper concourse level and we’ll be doing some business meetings as we usually do,” said a Take-Two spokesperson. “2K is not participating.”


Pain & Gain Wants To Pump You Up

Paramount Pictures Pain & Gain debuted at #1 over the weekend.  Part of the launch strategy included a robust animated GIF creator.  Fans on Facebook and at the official website can upload an image of themselves, crop their face and insert it into a scene from the film.  After selecting a scene, an animated GIF is rendered with the option to share across multiple types of networks.

T-Mobile Merger Approved By MetroPCS Shareholders

MetroPCS shareholders have approved the merger with T-Mobile. The deal had been enhanced by T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom, lowering the size and interest rate of a loan to the joint company.

The deal gives Deutsche Telekom a 74 percent stake in the merged entity and MetroPCS shareholders a $1.5 billion cash payment. Meanwhile, this enhanced T-Mobile will be exchange-listed and Deutsche Telekom will be barred from selling shares on the market for 18 months.

The deal cuts the shareholder loan to $11.2 billion from $15 billion and trims the interest rate by half a percentage point. It importantly won the endorsement of MetroPCS’s largest investor, Paulson & Co., as well two shareholder-advisory firms in the run-up to the vote.


Amazon Preparing TV Set-Top Box

Reports are that Amazon is looking to make a a television set-top box. The device will reportedly launch this Fall dedicated to streaming video over the Internet and into its customers’ living rooms.

This box will give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings, including the Video on Demand store and the Instant Video service free for subscribers to Amazon Prime. The device will be competing with similar products like Roku, Apple TV, and the Boxee Cloud DVR along with consoles with similar functionality like PS3 and Xbox 360.

“It would certainly make some sense,” says Jason Krikorian, a general partner at DCM and the former co-founder of Sling Media. “They have a ton of content, an existing billing relationship with millions of users, an existing Android app marketplace that could be leveraged on the box, a reputation for solid hardware products, and a terrific channel through which to promote the product.”


Metro 2033 Not Marketed Enough, Says Developer 4A Games

4A Games indicates that THQ did not market Metro 2033 enough, which the publisher admitted to them after the game’s release. The first-person shooter, made in the Ukraine, will be handled differently by Metro: Last Light‘s new publisher, Deep Silver.

“THQ admitted at the time that they didn’t realize until too late that they had this kind of gem in their portfolio that no one had paid any attention to,” said creative strategist Huw Benyun. “They didn’t put any kind of marketing campaign into it and yet through word of mouth it’s gone on and you look now at the number of players over Xbox Live or PC sales, we’re around the 4 million mark which is a pretty good.

“I think we have that kind of ‘buzz’ around it,'” he added. “THQ had already put their hands up and said ‘we made a mistake, but we’re not making it this time around’ and you already saw with the live action trailer that came out last year that there’s a lot of promotion around it.”

“There was a much more serious marketing effort in place already and with Deep Silver now it looks like that the torch is being picked up and carried,” he concluded.


Easter Eggs In Facebook Photos

By Elena Zanone

Marketers just scored a powerful new way to engage their Facebook audiences through interactive images. The free interactive tech is courtesy of ThingLink, which integrated with Twitter earlier this year.

ThingLink’s platform allows publishers to embed content such as music, video, sound, site links and text inside Facebook images. The aesthetic and functionality is similar to YouTube video annotations.

When users hover over an image they can experience a menu of content. It’s an appealing draw for brands and advertisers on Facebook, where they can add loads of content that can be consumed without ever having to leave Facebook Timeline. It can certainly help a brand cram a lot of information into a single impression.

“Images are becoming forums for conversation and discovery that include sharing, touching, commenting, and remixing rich media content created by others,” said ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström. “ThingLink is now enabling a new kind of discovery experience on Facebook Timeline that evokes emotion and brings moments to life in ways that drive higher engagement.”

According to Twitter representatives, measurement of branded content on the network last November showed ThingLink drove five times more engagement for brands that used it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out on Facebook, currently the most rich media friendly social network.

Los Angeles Times, Hyundai and Ikea and are among brands taking advantage of the new tech. Los Angeles Times’ creative approach has been to upload a virtual photo of their hardcopy newspaper packed with links to top stories on their website.

ThingLink isn’t the first interactive-image service to hit Facebook. Stipple did so in January.

“ThingLink allows content producers to better understand how their images are being used by consumers on the different social media platforms, both in terms of interactions with the image as well as a wide range of social behaviors.”  said ThingLink in their blog.

The technology is available for users now. What are creative ways you can see brands or even users taking advantage of ThingLink powered photos?

Source ThingLink

Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 — Launch Trailer

Meet the cast from Poker Night 2: Claptrap from Borderlands, Sam from Sam & Max, Ash Williams from the Evil Dead franchise, and Brock Samson from Venture Bros. Compete to win the items like exclusive skins and heads for use in Borderlands 2, character accessories for the Steam version of Team Fortress 2, Xbox 360 Avatar items, and Premium Themes for PS3.