Lengthy train trips, beer fuelled debates and some tasty cuts of beef of note, it's been a particularly packed – but definitely pleasant – week on the pages of PocketGamer.biz: the home of news and views on the business of app stores, smartphone platforms, developments in mobile game making and assorted technology.

All of the above came courtesy of a trip to this year's Mobile Games Forum in London, though – as delightful as said beef was – it would be foolish not to start this week's round-up with a look at what were the two biggest developments in the industry during the last seven days.

First up, after months of debate and calls for their departure from both inside and outside of the company, RIM's two founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stood down as co-CEOs this week to be replaced by former Siemens man Thorsten Heins.

Heins is no newcomer to RIM, however, having worked at the company for the past 5 years. Investors will be watching intently to see if his vision for the house BlackBerry built – which is currently trumpeting strong PlayBook sales and app downloads in the US post price cut – can make up lost ground on the seemingly immovable Apple.

Indeed, the figures released as part of Apple's financial results for Q1 2012 were nothing short of staggering, even for optimists. 

The company generated $46.33 billion in revenue in the first quarter of the year - net profits coming in at over $13 billion - shifting more than 37 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads in the process.

Cooking up a storm

The firm's financials came in a week when iOS had already been proclaimed the top smartphone platform in Europe – thanks to the strength of iPod touch – with Strategy Analytics later naming Apple as the top smartphone OEM in the world in Q4, nabbing top spot back from rival Samsung.

The combination of Samsung and Android, however, remains the issue most likely to be causing Cook and co. a headache or two. Though iOS is currently the undoubted platform of choice for most smartphone devs, Ovum believes Google's OS will have taken the lead on that score by the end of 2012.

Growing the platform's install base beyond it's already impressive borders will be key to such a shift, and Samsung looks to be distancing itself from the rest of the competition on Android, lifting Google's platform to new heights.

The Korean firm's telecommunications business alone made around $2.3 billion in profit in Q4 2011, with smartphone shipments believed to have totalled somewhere north of 36 million, bu also just shy of Apple's record 37 million.

In contrast, Motorola – Android's soon to be 'first-party' OEM – published full year losses of around $285 million in 2011, with smartphone shipments hitting a comparatively weak 5.3 million during the last quarter.

Worse news for Google's prime target is the fact that, over a year on, worldwide shipments of the firm's debut tablet Xoom have only just passed the 1 million mark.

That's the very same number of phones Nokia's Lumia range has managed to ship in its first two months on sale – a figure that acts as the one silver lining to the firm's operating loss of $1.3 billion in Q4 2011

It's also a hit the firm will no doubt argue it can take, as long as Windows Phone helps deliver the goods in the years to come.

Partner power

Indeed, Microsoft will be hoping its partnership with the Finnish firm pays off too: Nokia's financials revealed that it's currently pocketing a cool $250 million from the US giant each and every quarter as "platform support payment" - funds no doubt used to ease the pain of the Finnish firm's transition from Symbian to Windows Phone.

Forming a similarly influential partnership this week was Pocket Gamer publisher Steel Media, which named Kristan Reed as the site's new editor-in-chief.

Having previously held the reins at the likes of Eurogamer and Computer Trade Weekly, Reed is no stranger to moderating the intellectual excesses of enormously talented writers like yours truly.


"Joining one of the most respected, authoritative teams around is an honour, and it's the kind of challenge that doesn't come around very often," said Reed of his new position.

"The creative energy and ambition within the handheld gaming sector makes it an exciting place to be, and I'm looking forward to helping the team to take the Pocket Gamer sites to the next level."

Tweet feat

Reed was also one of the many Pocket Gamer faces making an appearance at the aforementioned Mobile Games Forum 2012 conference at the Hilton Tower Bridge in good ol' London town.

Though it would be easy here to, once again, get caught up in the event's sublime catering – seriously, the beef alone was worthy of a spot on Masterchef – the Osney Media organised shindig played host to talks on some of the biggest issues facing the industry today.

As well as a fair bit of entertainment. Ticking both such boxes was Spilt Milk Studio MD Andrew Smith and former Pocket Gamer writer Stuart Dredge's talk on how indie studios should approach mobile games PR.

Twitter, it appears, is a major weapon in that regard.

"On Twitter, all these journalists are hanging out because they can't face their inboxes, so they're talking to developers on there," said Dredge, explaining the phenomenon.

"Journalists are genuinely nice people," added Smith, encouraging developers to befriend them on social networks. "It's a small industry so everybody kind of knows everyone, so the arseholes are filtered out."

Changing climate

Equally insightful was one of Social Games and Virtual Goods Forum's main discussion panels.

The sister event played host to the likes of Mobile Pie creative director Will Luton, who stressed it's time for developers to stop debating whether the freemium model works: instead, they should accept it's here to say and work out what's the best way to monetise it.

Those who say freemium's place in the market is still in doubt "are equivalent to climate change deniers", said Luton.

"As a designer I want people to play my games. Why stop them at the door and say you've got to pay 69p? Just come in."

You can check out our coverage of both MGF 2012 and SGVGF 2012 in full by clicking the respective links.

Sadly, reading through the reports in question won't illustrate just how good Osney's beef was. The rest of 2012's events behold: your caterers have a lot to live up to.