Nintendo Posts Annual Profit on Wii U Sales Growth, Weak Yen

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Nintendo said Thursday it swung to $350 million annual profit thanks to a weak yen and upbeat sales of its Wii U console, but the Japanese videogame giant warned its bottom line would shrink this year.The Super Mario creator reported a 41.8 billion yen ($350 million) net profit for the fiscal year to March reversing 23.2 billion yen loss a year ago while it forecasted a lower 35 billion yen net profit this fiscal year.

Revenue in the latest period slipped 3.8 percent to 549.8 billion yen, it said, as the company was hit by weaker demand for its 3DS portable games console.

The company is hoping to offset weakening demand for some of its consoles with plans to jump into the smartphone gaming market a long awaited move away from its consoles-only policy.

“A new source of revenue is expected from a gaming application for smart devices which will be released this year,” Nintendo said Thursday.

A sharp drop in the yen has helped make Japanese exporters such as Nintendo more competitive overseas while it also inflates the value of their repatriated profits.

The company benefited from stronger sales of the Wii U, shifting 3.38 million units against 2.72 million units in the year-earlier period, while sales of game software rose nearly 30 percent.

“With respect to ‘Wii U,’ Nintendo released two hit titles, ‘Mario Kart 8’ and ‘Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,’ which enjoyed robust sales,” it said in a statement.

“These titles continued to perform well especially overseas, and the global sales of the ‘Wii U’ hardware and software reached 3.38 million and 24.40 million units respectively,” it added.

The relatively strong results come as Nintendo moves past three straight years of operating losses.

Last year, company president Satoru Iwata said he would slash his salary in half for several months to atone for the struggles at the one-time industry titan.

The maker of the Donkey Kong and Pokemon franchises has struggled as rivals Sony and Microsoft outpaced it in console sales.

All three companies are also fighting off a trend toward cheap or sometimes free downloadable games for smartphones and other mobile devices.

Smartphone Microscope Helps Detect Blood Parasite Levels

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Using an Apple iPhone, a team of US scientists has developed a mobile phone microscope that rapidly detects parasite levels in blood.The team from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health and University of California, Berkeley developed the device to measure blood levels of the parasitic filarial worm Loa.

To rapidly screen for Loa infections in community settings, the scientists developed CellScope Loa, a video microscope integrating an Apple iPhone 5s.

With the help of a custom iPhone app, the device automatically captures and analyses videos of the characteristic “wriggling” motion of microfilariae, enabling quantification of microfilariae in blood from a finger prick in less than two minutes.

“No special preparation of the blood is required, limiting potential error and sample loss, and healthcare workers need minimal training to use the automated device,” the authors noted.

The point-of-care device may enable safe resumption of mass drug administration campaigns to eradicate the parasitic diseases onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).

Efforts to eliminate these diseases in Central Africa through community-wide administration of antiparasitic drugs have been suspended due to potentially fatal drug-associated side effects in people with high blood levels of Loa microfilariae, the filarial worm’s larval form.

A potential solution is to identify and exclude such people from mass drug administration.

“However, standard methods for measuring microfilariae are time-consuming and must be performed by trained personnel with laboratory equipment,” the team wrote.

Screening of blood samples from potentially Loa-infected people showed that CellScope Loa results correspond well to those obtained by standard methods, correctly identifying people with microfilarial levels over a certain threshold.

Although additional work is needed to prepare the technology for broad use, the researchers predict that a team of three workers could screen up to 200 people during the four-hour midday window when Loa circulates at its peak in the blood.

The work is detailed in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

DD News App Launched by Prasar Bharti

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Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday launched a mobile application of DD News and said the audience was extremely keen to have a comprehensive view of issues and events.Jaitley said there were multifarious channels of information dissemination and objective presentation of news should never become a casualty.

There was space for news based on facts and correct information in a news scenario which was competitive, event-based and anchor-driven, he said.

The minister said the launch of the application by DD News was an important milestone for Prasar Bharati as it catered to the information needs of a pan-India audience.

The application will provide DD News a platform to instantly communicate news on a 24×7 basis and it has added a new dimension to its profile, he said, adding that the application will address the needs of viewers who sought information through the mobile phone.

The minister also launched an ebook of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and electronic versions of India-2015 and Bharat-2015 – reference annuals brought out by the Publications Division.

“It was imperative to constantly and consistently improve the ongoing efforts to go digital,” he said.

Referring to the ebook, he said it captures the achievements and initiatives of the ministry in the last one year and presents the content in a multi-media and reader-friendly format with pictures and embedded videos.

The new mobile application of DD News will make live TV, news feed and top videos available on smartphones.

Officials said the mobile application has a user-friendly interface and is available even in poor network conditions. While officials said both Android and iPhone versions of the application are available, at the time of writing only Google Play listedthe app, while the App Store did not.

They said e-version of the India/Bharat-2015 was aimed at providing better reading experience to the public.

Microsoft to Bring Android App Support to Windows 10

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Microsoft is likely to announce that its Windows 10 devices (smartphones, tablets and PC) will be able to run Android apps, if long-time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott is to be believed.The Redmond giant is expected to confirm the news at its Build developer conferencethat kicks off Wednesday in San Francisco.

Thurrott however seems to be questioning Microsoft’s strategy to provide Android app support on Windows 10. He writes, “But letting Android apps run on Windows is another thing entirely. Indeed, it is the literal opposite of opening up universal apps to Android. And I question the logic of this strategy.”

If the report turns out to be true, Microsoft may be able to fix one of the biggest qualms of Windows Phone users, which is the platform’s small app ecosystem. With this, Windows Phone users would gain access to a number of apps that were never released on their platform. It however remains to be seen how Microsoft will manage Android apps on its platform and also whether this will affect the company’s Universal app strategy for Windows 10. Other touch-based Windows 10 devices, like tablets, are also likely to benefit from access to Android apps.

“For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft’s platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face. This sends the message that they have wasted their time and that it’s time to move on to a more successful platform since, after all, the apps you create for Android will now work on Android and Windows/Windows Phone. This completely usurps the presumed value of universal apps, which I assume Microsoft will also spend a lot of time promoting this week. It will not sit well with the developers who go to Build,” notes Thurrott.

He went on to suggest that adding Android app support to Windows 10 will make Microsoft’s platform “even less important.”

“The ability to run Android apps on Windows-this utter capitulation-is not a “win” or a positive development. It’s a defeat, an avoidable suicide. And it makes Windows even less important than it already was. To me. To you. To the world,” Thurrott added.

Microsoft is also expected to reveal more technical details of its universal app platform at the Build conference. The company alongside is also likely to release more code samples for developers.

To recall, Microsoft announced Universal Windows apps, a move that claimed to bring a new common Windows runtime to PCs, phones, and tablets (and the Xbox One) at last year’s Build conference.

Sony Xperia new Android 4.4 update brings option to move apps to SD Card

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Sony started rolling out Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) update for the Xperia T2 Ultra (v19.1.A.0.473) and its dual SIM variant T2 Ultra Dual (19.1.C.0.116) from yesterday. The new update brings option to move apps to the microSD card in addition to new features. This was not mentioned in the official changelog from Sony.

Even the latest Android 4.4.4 update for the Xperia Z1, Z1 Compact and the Z Ultra did not bring Apps to SD feature. It is not clear when Sony plans to bring this feature to these smartphones.

Today Sony announced that it would update the Xperia E1, Xperia M2, and Xperia M2 Dual to Android 4.4, so there are chances for these smartphones to get the update. This feature is most required for low-end phones with less internal memory.

If you are using the Xperia T2 Ultra or T2 Ultra Dual with the new KitKat update, go to Apps inside settings to move them to the SD card. The “On SD card” option shows the apps that are compatible to move.

Amazon touts nearly 250,000 apps and games ahead of presumed smartphone launch

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In what can only be a matter of sheer coincidence (hardly), Amazon is touting some incredible figures surrounding its Appstore. Nearly tripling in the last year alone, the selection now figures to more than 240,000 apps and games. What’s more, it’s widely available (nearly 200 countries) and continues to build steam.  Developers seem to be more than pleased with the services and tools available and features like Amazon Coins only add to a high rate of user satisfaction.

Sounds like a lot of great stuff to entice new developers for that upcoming smartphone, eh?

Statistics shared by Amazon today:

  • 65% of developers said that Total Revenue on Kindle Fire is the same or better than developers’ experience with other platforms.
  • 74% of the same developers said that Average Revenue per App/User is the same or better on Kindle Fire than other platforms.
  • 76% of developers indicated that the Kindle Fire platform helps them connect with new market segments—an important indicator that the Kindle Fire platform can be a significant source of net-new business and “reach” for developers at a time when new market segments may be difficult to find on competing platforms, the study noted.

We would expect Amazon to thump their chest a bit in the run-up to announcing their first smartphone. With all eyes on their new device later this week, the door is wide open for added revenue opportunities for developers.

Open Web Apps now run as Native Apps on Android, courtesy Firefox of Android

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Firefox OS was targeted at the lower end smartphone segment, but it hasn’t really made an impact yet as no phones running on Firefox OS has been launched in India. As Mozilla mentioned, the Firefox OS is based on Open Web Standards and any web app can be wrapped into a Firefox App with just a few lines of code.

Now, Firefox OS allows users to do the same with web apps like adding it to the home screen, app drawer and so on. Another significant update is that the latest Firefox for Android(version 29) now runs Web apps like native apps. It also allows the users to install, uninstall and update the application. In addition to that, it behaves very much like an Android app by giving up the flexibility of adding the application to the app drawer screen or the recently used apps list.

What this means for developers is that, just by creating a web app with Open Web Standards, they reach millions of Firefox for Android users and provide them an Android application like experience without changing a single line of their application code.

Editor’s Picks: 15 of our favorite Android apps and games (May 28)

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Welcome to the Editor’s Picks, where we have filed through various apps and games in an attempt to curate a list of 15 of the best to present to you! We find it to be our duty to help you determine what is worth downloading on to your precious device, and what will just waste your internal storage. We can’t get all the amazing apps into one story, but we hope that we’ve gotten the most useful/entertaining/etc in this list!

For a more comprehensive selection, we are constantly posting to our social media networks. So feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to keep up with our latest app suggestions!

Timely is an alarm clock not just for one device, but another, and another! Unlike most alarm apps for Android you can sync Timely to several of your devices, and set the alarm form the device of your choice. When the alarm goes off, you simply press “snooze” on the device closest to you, and all the devices the alarm was set for will “snooze!”

The app is beautiful, and has a great sense of style. It will be a welcome addition to your device that you won’t want to get rid of! Its elegance only adds to its infinite usefulness. Trust us, you will always need an alarm clock, Timely just does it better than the rest.

Peek is an app that was originally derived from the custom build Paranoid Android. It is similar technology to Motorola’s Active Display in that it brings up notifications based on your movement. If the sensors pick up movement, the screen lights up to display whatever notification you may have.

Do you like a little optical illusion with your Android games? Well so do we, and luckily Monument Valley is here to provide! Monument Valley puts you in the character of Ida, a princess who has entered a dream-like world where she travels from point to point in an attempt to solve puzzles. Ida has no voice or face, so you are somewhat left to fill-in the blanks with her story!

Most Android phones of today are equipped with an auto-brightness feature, but do they really work the way they should? Lux Auto Brightness would argue that they don’t! Lux brings a competent brightness control to your phone that, given the right adjustments, can really do your phone some good!

Flappy Bird seems to have become the new rating for how frustrating a game can be, and Fives comes through in the same vein. Modeled after the popular iOS game “Threes,” Fives uses the same basic concept. It is a puzzle game where you combine similar numbers. For example, you can combine 2 and 3, but not 2 and 2, or 3 and 3.

The basis sounds simple enough, but trust us it is not! The game can quickly become frustrating and confusing. It definitely fills the hole that Flappy Bird left in us as far as frustrating games go, therefore Fives makes a good substitute until it is brought back!

Amazon giving away one dozen music apps worth $40 today

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Amazon on Friday is giving away twelve music-related Android apps as part of its Free App of the Day program. Indeed, the entire collection is worth $40 and you can grab all of them if you choose. There are a number of familiar and popular names here, including TuneIn Radio Pro and Shazam Encore. If you don’t plan to use or play with it in the short term at least grab it today. You’ll have the rights to it down the road and won’t have to worry about paying for it later.

  • TuneIn Radio Pro ($3.99)
  • Shazam Encore ($4.99)
  • WavePad Master’s Edition ($9.99)
  • Mini Piano ($0.99)
  • Ultimate Guitar Tabs ($2.99)
  • Metronome: Tempo ($1.25)
  • edjing Premium DJ mix rec studio ($9.99)
  • jetAudio Music Player Plus ($3.99)
  • iReal Pro – Music Book & Play Along ($10.99)
  • Treble Cat – Learn to Read Music ($4.99)
  • Guitar Riff Pro ($2.99)
  • G-Stomper Studio ($7.99)

 

Find which apps are using the most permissions with F-Secure App Permissions [App of the Day]

Just about every time you install a new app, there is a page of permissions that you “should” read. If you’re like some of us, you find yourself clicking OK and just skipping through it. But what if you skip over something important? App Permissions is here to help with your application permission needs.

Once the app is installed, you’ll see a few different columns with helpful information like which apps can cost you money, impact battery, and see your personal information. Click on an application, and tap View Permissions. It will show a giant list of permissions that the app requires to be installed on your device. If you’re in a certain category, the permission that put it in its category will be highlighted in pink.

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For instance, why would Hangouts be able to read my personal information? It can read contacts, read SMS messages, and store account information, all highlighted in pink. It’s super helpful, especially if you’re unsure of which permission does what.

You can filter applications by the number of permissions, or by category. You can even jump right into the Application Settings page or uninstall right from inside the app.

It offers a simple, clean interface, and should be installed by anyone who is concerned about their security. Check out App Permissions in the Play Store!