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    TinyCo, a San Francisco based developer and operator of popular mobile games such as Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends,...

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    TinyCo, a San Francisco based developer and operator of popular mobile games such as Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends, announced today that it is opening a new studio in Vancouver to expand its development of mobile games.

    Backed by an $18 million investment led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, TinyCo is looking to broaden its team of high-caliber engineers, designers, and artists who are passionate about gaming on mobile platforms.

    "We are thrilled to be bringing TinyCo to Canada," says Laurie Deneschuk of TinyCo. "The wealth of top talent and strong community make Vancouver the perfect place for us to continue to grow.  We see a great opportunity to further cultivate our winning culture, infrastructure, and creative there.  It was an easy choice already, but it didn’t hurt that I originally hail from Saskatchewan."

    Founded in 2009, TinyCo was named one of Pocketgamer’s top 50 developers in 2012 and has been highlighted as one of the first game developers to understand how to be successful with freemium monetization models on Android. Despite its rapid growth, TinyCo keeps its startup mentality, where people have a direct impact on not just the products they are working on, but the way the company operates as a whole.

     August 07, 2012
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    Posted by  see more Posted by Techvibes Newsdesk on 2012-06-22 11:25:00 AM

    People don't like writing emails from their smartphones. But they sure don't mind reading them.

    Email has gone mobile faster than most internet-based activities, probably because they're light on data, quick to download, and easy to consume—plus, it's something most people like (or have to) check often, and it's considerably more convenient to check from a smartphone on the fly than accessing a PC at home.

    But it's a little surprising to learn which smartphone dominates email consumption, and just how thoroughly it does so. It's Apple's iPhone, which accounts for an insane 20% of all email opens, according to new data from Litmus' Email Analytics.

    Google's Android, which notably has many more devices floating about, accounts for just 7%. And RIM's BlackBerry, which has been famous for its efficient email system for more than a decade, is lost in an "Other" category that represents just 3% of emails, probably because of its rapidly evaporating marketshare.

    Observe more statistics on email clients in the Litmus infographic below.

    SOURCE: June 22, 2012

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    Five months ago Renat Gataullin was in a park on the California coast.

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    Five months ago Renat Gataullin was in a park on the California coast.

    He was with the two co-founders of his company, some friends and their nephews. They were flying kites when an idea came to them. The three men had been searching for a name for a new phone app they’d created for children.

    It was right in front of them.

    “Kites have the freedom to fly around but you do have a string to pull it,” Gataullin says. It was an apt metaphor. Their app allows parents to control the phone but still lets children play games and make calls to trusted numbers.

    “Kids have the freedom to use it but parents still have peace of mind,” he says.

    It’s called Kytephone and it officially launched on Tuesday June 12. The app transforms any Android phone into a kid friendly zone. Parents control the numbers their child can communicate with and set limits to the types of apps they download through a browser program.

    kytephone interface 1 Kytephone transforms smartphones into a kid friendly zone

    Kytephone completely transforms Android phones, giving them a kid friendly look and feel.                                                                                                                                     Photo: Kytephone

    It also lets parents track their children using GPS. “One of the immediate questions parents have is, ‘Where are my children?’” Gataullin says. “If we have the GPS feature we can immediately answer this question. Parents can log into the dashboard and view the kid’s location in real time.”

    kytephone gps Kytephone transforms smartphones into a kid friendly zone

    What parents see from their browser when they check the location of the phone. Photo: Kytephone.

    Parents can also limit the use of games through Kytephone. They can set gaming time limits, such as one hour per day, or rules, like no games after 10 pm. They can also control the types of games their child downloads.

    “The idea was to enable only certain applications and hide the rest,” Gataullin says. “Parents can enable some educational games and disable other games if kids aren’t behaving well.”

    kytephone interface Kytephone transforms smartphones into a kid friendly zone

    Kytephone’s interface uses photos or character images instead of numbers.       Photo: Kytephone

    Kytephone is based in Toronto but much of the product development took place in Silicon Valley. This winter the team took part in an accelerator program (a type of bootcamp for young tech companies) called Y Combinator in Mountain View, California.

    Y Combinator helped fund Kytephone and also gave the team access to some of the brightest minds in tech. During their three month stint with Y Combinator the Kytephone team met the founders of both Twitter and PayPal.

    It was in Mountain View that the team made a drastic switch from Gataullin’s original idea, which was to create a simplified phone interface for older users, like his mother, who aren’t comfortable with technology.

    Realizing the number of people who aren’t comfortable using smartphones is a shrinking demographic rather than a growing one, they went in another direction. “We decided to look at the other end of the spectrum, which is kids,” Gataullin says.

    There have been attempts to make phones for children before. Firefly Mobile makes phones designed for kids but it focuses on creating hardware. Kytephone takes a different approach, modifying software to suit kids instead of creating a physical phone.

    Kytephone is available for free in the Google Play store.

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