Roku Surpasses Apple TV as Most-Used Streaming Set Top Box

Roku-3According to a new report from Parks Associates, Roku has taken the lead as the most popular streaming video device in the US. Further, Parks Associates also showed the number of U.S. broadband households with streaming media device has doubled since 2011.

The group put out a report called Connected TV: Trends and Innovation (report for purchase). In this report, they found that 37% of households with a streaming media device use Roku – as opposed to 24% that use Apple TV.

Parks Associates expect the number of connected TV devices to reach 330 million by 2017. With newer, easier to use devices like ChromeCast entering into the market – along with Apple’s rumored upcoming updated Apple TV on September 10th, this number could grow a lot faster. Adding in 4K or Ulta-TV devices with simple app support that get people introduced to streaming media could spark the market even more.

“Roku customers are passionate about streaming, and we are delighted that independent research shows that we are the most popular streaming platform measured by usage on a U.S. household basis,” said Anthony Wood, Founder and CEO, Roku.

Roku’s newest version – the Roku 3 – is a media streaming device and small game console with programs like Angry Birds, Galaga and Pac Man. You can use the remote with Bluetooth headphones for privacy viewing or pull out your iOS or Android device to control the set top box.

This brings a true fight for the TV’s HDMI port.

Rovio rolls out account sync to iOS and Android

Rovio again makes the news, this time not with a major game release racing up to the top of the download charts, but instead with the beginning of its account roll out. Why is this a big deal? Simply because customers can now put down their phone, pick up their tablet and play a game right from where they left off on the previous device.

“We’ve been gradually rolling out Rovio Account over the past couple of months, listening to feedback and ensuring a seamless sync experience for all of our fans”.

angry birds

For now, the update has only hit the original Angry Birds game, but the company has plans to begin rolling it out to all of the platforms very soon. Users will see a “sign in” option on the home screen of the app. I have used the feature, already, to bring my progress from my Nexus phone to my tablet and can report it works perfectly well.

“We know that you’ve all been waiting for a way to sync progress between devices and we really feel that we have an amazing solution in place now” Rovio announces.

Now, we only have to await the feature to be rolled out to Space, Star Wars and the rest of the company’s hit games, a process which should take place over the coming days and weeks.

Rovio officially announces Angry Birds Star Wars II, makes you wait for it

Last week Rovio teased something big coming today and hinted it had to do with Angry Birds Star Wars. Most folks expected a release of new levels or, perhaps, even a new game. The latter turns out to be true, but there are complications — well, one. The Finnish game make only announced Star Wars II today.

“Today we’re extremely excited to announce the arrival of Angry Birds Star Wars II, launching on September 19 across app stores worldwide” reads the official post from Rovio.

For those who were less-than-happy with the Star Wars prequels, I am afraid this may be bad news — “the new game will tackle the prequels, introducing a wide roster of never-before-seen Angry Birds Star Wars characters”. The game will bring more than 30 new characters.

angry birds star wars ii

To add to the anticipated hype surrounding these new figures, there will also be a line of over 30 collectable TELEPODS figures from Hasbro. Placing these figures onto your phone or tablet camera will scan your character of choice directly into the game, allowing you to select new characters on the fly.

It is certainly an interesting concept — and an obvious marketing grab, but Rovio seems incapable of doing anything wrong these days and the figures will likely sell almost as quickly as the game gets downloaded.

Fake Bad Piggies Malware Hits Google Play, Android Phones

Bad-PiggiesIf you are a fan of the Angry Birds series, then you know about Bad Piggies – a sequel to the popular bird game. Security company F-Secure detected there was a faux app in the Play store that looked and felt like the Bad Piggies by Rovio. However, this app had a slight alteration to the name (Bad Pigs) and a different developer name.

Since the detection, Google Play has removed this malware version from their store. Unfortunately  10,000 downloads have occurred since May 25, 2013. The app asks the user for permission to do more than just push notification and simple data collection.

If any app asks for more information – including full access to your location and personal information, you should remove the app and report it. Usually trojanized apps are popular games, since they see more downloads.

Bad Piggies is a free app that sees between 10,000 – 50,000 app downloads on Google Play. It is available on Android and iOS apps, along with Mac and PC.

If you are one of the duped app users, simply delete the app through Android App Manager.

Angry Birds Friends tournaments begin today, complete with marriage proposal

angry birds

Last week Rovio released its Angry Birds Friends tournament -style game to the mobile world, making the popular bird-slinging, pig-killing game available to a wider audience. The Friends version had previously only been available on Facebook, but has now moved to both iOS and Android.

Today, the first full tournament gets underway — new ones will begin each Monday. Today though, something special is involved in the game. According to Rovio “if you play today you’ll see the incredible in-game marriage proposal made by one of our biggest fans”. The Finnish game maker goes on to explain that “a while ago a guy named Ben got in touch with an unusual request. He wanted to pop the big question to his long-term girlfriend Mel through Angry Birds! We jumped at the chance to bring these lovebirds together, and started building a custom-made level that featured Ben’s marriage proposal”.

While there have been no download statistics released for this latest Rovio game, it does appear as a featured app on the Google Play store. Combining the popular mobile game with the Facebook name should bode well for both companies.

Original Angry Birds comes to Windows Phone, free until May 15

It has taken quite a bit of time, but Rovio finally brings its popular Angry Birds game to the Windows Phone platform. The original game — the version that launched the craze — lands in the store today. “Good news for all of our fans who play Angry Birds on Windows Phone, we have a brand new version of the original Angry Birds for you to play” the Finnish game studio announces.

The best news for customers on the Microsoft mobile platform is that the new game is free from now through May 15th. The game will have over 400 levels from the start. The Windows Phone 8 version will also have Xbox Live integration with new achievements and leaderboards.

angry birds

“This will be a completely separate download from the original Angry Birds title that some of you may already own. The reason why we’re re-releasing the game is that it will be technically easier for us to support in the future” Rovio claims. If you are worried that you will lose your current progress, then rest easy. Rovio points out that downloading this new, improved version will not wipe your old game, including your stars and level progress. Both versions are completely separate.

Rovio teases Angry Birds cartoons, announces 1.7 billion downloads

We found out a few weeks ago that Rovio would be releasing Angry Birds cartoons. Now, today, the company added some more details to that news. According to a company announcement, “Rovio Entertainment is bringing its weekly Angry Birds Toons animated series to fans around the world, setting an industry first in launching a video distribution channel across all of its Angry Birds game titles on smartphones and tablets”.

The new animated videos will be available beginning the weekend of March 16-17 through a dedicated channel available in Rovio games. The Finnish game-maker will also make the cartoons available on select video-on-demand channel providers, Smart TVs and connected devices. An Angry Birds Toons channel will be available on all of Comcast’s video platforms in the US including Xfinity on Demand, online at Xfinity.com/tv and the Xfinity TV Player app.

The animated shorts will also be available on FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Network in India, MTV3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, the Children’s Channel in Israel, 1+1 networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile and Gloob in Brazil

Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio stated that “We’ve long wanted to tell our fans the story of the Angry Birds and the Bad Piggies, to introduce their personalities and their world in detail”.

Along with the cartoon announcement, Rovio also let it be known that it has now surpassed 1.7 billion downloads of its games, meaning that more mobile users are likely playing them than not.

Angry Birds celebrates 3rd birthday with new levels

Rovio is celebrating the third birthday, or ‘Birdday’, of it’s ground-breaking Angry Birds game today. As part of the celebration the company released an update, bringing the app to version 3.0, and adding thirty new levels of pig-bashing fun. The game from the Finland-based company is certainly not showing it’s age, as it continues to hover near the top of mobile download charts.

There is a lot more to this update that just the new levels of play. Rovio also added the pink bird, which was introduced in the Angry Birds Seasons “Back to School” update, as well as full support for iPhone 5 handsets. The thirty new levels include 15 “Birdday Party” and 15 “Bad Piggies” themed levels.

Angry Birds was of course the first game in the now famous franchise, which has gone on to include Seasons, Rio, Space and, most recently, Star Wars.

Angry Birds Star Wars Lands on Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Angry Birds Star Wars

Depending on what time zone you live in you may or may not have been ready to grab a copy of Angry Birds Star Wars when it blasted onto mobile platforms and computers at 11pm PST last night, complete with an online launch event.  Rovio even held a live-streaming event for those who were awake at that hour, which I suppose was morning in Finland where Rovio is based.

From that Scandinavian country the company has reached out and dominated the mobile markets on Android and iOS devices and even is available now on Windows Phone and OSX and Windows computers.

The last big release from the Finnish game studio, Bad Piggies rocketed to number one on the download charts in under three hours, making it the most successful release in history, surpassing Angry Birds Space.  At the same time, the original Angry Birds game remains in the most popular download list in the Google Play Store.

You can grab a copy now.  There are both free and paid versions.  You will find some very different birds here thanks to the Star Wars branding. The game play, while similar to Angry Birds Space, is also a bit different thanks to the George Lucas (recently purchased by Disney) influence.

Are You Game? Rovio and Kaiku to Release Angry Birds Visa Cards

Rovio, the popular game-maker based in Finland, has produced some of the most popular mobile titles, including record-setting releases like the recent Bad Piggies, which shot to the number one position on the download charts at breakneck speed.  As if the mobile and PC games, as well as the merchandising available in retail stores across the U.S., weren’t enough, the company has now announced a partnership with KAIKU to bring Angry Birds to your wallet.

KAIKU, while not being a big name in the financial industry, has scored exclusive rights to issue pre-paid Visa cards with Angry Birds images on the card front. The company describes themselves as “A provider in the global prepaid industry, KAIKU offers smart products that combine a unique blend of style and innovation, while providing a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional money management solutions.”

“Rovio and KAIKU share a common philosophy in that we love to delight our fans with products that are affordable and packed with great features that fit today’s lifestyle,” stated Andrew Stalbow, Rovio’s EVP of Strategic Partnerships and General Manager of North America.

For fans of the game this may be just one more collectible you will want to grab but, with the power of the Visa name, the card will also be useful at millions of locations across the globe. The only catch here may be the “pre-paid” part. Many people are probably reluctant to send their hard-earned money to cover a bill for something they haven’t yet purchased.

If you are game, however, KAIKU is showing off four versions of the card, featuring Bad Piggies and several different designs of the famous birds themselves. They promise the cards will be available in early 2013. In the meantime, you can grab any of the four Angry Birds games already on the market and also look forward to the brand new Angry Birds Star Wars edition that is coming later this week. Also, a word of warning if you haven’t yet installed Bad Piggies — there are a lot of malware apps posing as the record setting game so be careful out there.