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YC-Backed Grid Reinvents The Spreadsheet For The Tablet Age

brandingPopular wisdom has it that tablets are great for consuming content but aren’t that useful for creating it. Don’t tell that to Josh Leong, though. His Y Combinator-backed startup, Grid, is based around the idea that a tablet should be a great place for spreadsheets. Indeed, as Leong told me earlier this week, his idea is to reinvent the spreadsheet around touch, all the tools available in mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, and the ways normal people (as opposed to Excel power users) actually use them.

Grid is launching in beta for iPhone and iPad today and you can sign up for an invite here. There are still some features missing in this beta, but you can already use Grid’s collaboration tools and get a feel for its ingenious “Maestro” user interface.

Y Combinator Alum MakeGamesWithUs Wants To Turn High School Kids Into iPhone Game Developers

makegameswithus logoMakeGamesWithUs is a new iOS game publishing company with a twist: its focus is on helping high school and college students to build games. MakeGamesWithUs us will take the kids’ creations, provide professional graphics and art and publish them in the App Store. The kids will own the code, and the company will own the graphics and take a cut of the sales. The company already has a few games built by students available, including Elemental Fury.

Kantar On Smartphones: Samsung 45% Of Euro Sales; Apple Gained Only In UK, US; RIM Holds On In France

galaxys3We have seen reports from Strategy Analytics, IDC and Canalys detailing how many smartphones that handset makers shipped in the last quarter (the takeaway: Android is still on top, with Samsung the chief benefactor); today, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, WPP’s market analytics business, has released its rolling monthly update on how that translates into on-the-ground sales in some of the biggest markets in the world. The results give more weight to Samsung’s current domination; and underscore how important it is for Apple to wow the market next month with the launch of a new handset.

Kantar, which bases its conclusions on millions of interviews with consumers every month (1 million in Europe alone, it notes), found that Samsung is currently the top-selling brand in Europe at the moment, thanks in part to a successful launch of the S3 in May, but also aggressive pricing in a region hit by economic pressures. Samsung accounted for 45% of all smartphone sales across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the last 12 weeks that ended July 8. Arch-rival Apple, in contrast, accounted for just 16% of all sales in the region, Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo tells me. In fact, Apple has declined in every market Kantar surveyed, except for the UK and U.S.

Google Launches Its New 3D Maps On iOS, Desktop Coming Later This Year

App Store - Google EarthGoogle just launched the latest version of Google Earth for iOS. This update brings Google’s new highly detailed 3D imagery of a select number of cities to the iPhone and iPad. Google first announced these new features in a hastily arranged press conference in early June to scoop Apple’s own 3D maps announcement a few days later. The company first launched this feature on Android phones and tablets in late June. This new version of Google Earth for iOS also features Google Earth’s new tour guide feature.

Pearltrees Comes To The iPhone, Goes Beyond Bookmarking And Adds Photos, Notes, Offline Mode

pearltrees_ipad_logoFew startups make it through a year without a pivot or two these days. That really can’t be said about social bookmarking service Pearltrees, however. The company has stuck pretty closely to its roadmap ever since its launch in 2009. After launching on the web, Peartrees is now available on the iPad and, starting today, on the iPhone. Ever since its launch, the company wanted to provide its users with a library of what they discover online and create a community of people based on their common interests. Until now, that mostly means sharing bookmarks, but the new iPhone app significantly broadens this concept to also include photos and short notes. In addition, the updated universal iOS apps now also cache a user’s libraries for offline access (including the text on any website they bookmark).

iOS Soars Ahead of Android Development As Apple Quietly Makes Move Into The Enterprise Market

ipadbizThe Apple iOS is surging ahead of the Google Android platform for enterprise development, according to survey results from Appcelerator, the mobile platform development company.

In the largest survey of its kind, Appcelerator developers were asked what operating system is best positioned to win the enterprise market. Developers said iOS over Android by a 53% to 38% margin. Last year, in its second quarer survey, the two companies were in a dead heat for the enterprise market, tied at 44%.

Opera’s First Mobile Ads Report: Rich Media Rules, iPhone Rocks

Opera-logo-JPGOpera Software is probably best known for its mobile browser software for smart and feature phones, but over the last couple of years it’s also been buying up mobile advertising companies to help it monetize those browsers. Today it’s released its first report looking at trends in its ad network — partly, perhaps, to raise the profile of that business, but also to highlight where some of the biggest action may be today on its platform.

There have been a lot of mobile ad reports published — they seem to have replaced the infographic as the primary visual marketing currency — but this one caught my eye, not just because Opera may get bought by Facebook (although hasn’t that rumor gone quiet).

Adfonic: Android Tops iOS As Most Popular Platform On Global Ad Network; iPhone, iPad Still Top Devices

android-v-iphoneAndroid is now most-used smartphone platform worldwide, and that swing is being reflected in other areas like mobile advertising. Today some numbers out from Adfonic indicate that in Q2, Android accounted for the majority of mobile ad impressions on its network worldwide, with 46 percent compared to iOS’s 34 percent of impressions. This is the first time Adfonic says it has recorded Android being more popular than iOS. In that, it joins other big ad networks like Millennial Media and InMobi, which both noted Google’s OS overtaking Apple’s earlier this year.

Adfonic’s Global AdMetrics Report is based on 4,000 rich-media campaigns run monthly for brands like Samsung, Warner Bros, eBay, McDonalds, Groupon and Google, reaching 200 million mobile unique users monthly over 80 billion ad requests. The company notes that today’s Android popularity is a near-mirror switch from the quarter before, when iOS took 45 percent of traffic to Android’s 38 percent. The only region where Android has yet to dominate over iOS, Adfonic says, is South America, and overall iOS lost marketshare in every region. The U.S., on the other hand, has seen the most drastic flip:

Report: Chrome For iOS Now Owns 1.5% Of iOS Browser Market

Chrome-logo-2011-03-16At its I/O developer conference last month, Google launched Chrome for iOS. Despite the fact that it’s being held back by Apple’s security protocols and can’t use its own rendering engine, Chrome has been among the most popular free downloads in Apple’s App Store since then. According to the latest data from online advertising network Chitika, Chrome for iOS currently has a market share of about 1.5% on its network. Safari, of course, continues to have a virtual monopoly on iOS browsing, but according to Chitika, Chrome continues to see moderate growth on Apple’s mobile platform.

Android And iOS Still Lead In Smartphone Market Share, But The Race For Third Rages On

android-v-iphoneNielsen released another of their periodic looks at the U.S. smartphone market today, and aside from the revelation that two-thirds of U.S. phone purchasers went for smartphones in Q2 2012, the results are as you’d expect.

Android still leads the pack in terms of pure penetration — as of this past June, it accounts for 51.8% of smartphones in use (up from 50.4% in Q1 2012) with Apple’s iOS right behind it at 34%. Don’t feel too bad for Apple though, as they still have the highest manufacturer share by far (34% in Q2), with Samsung at a distant second.