This week, at its I/O conference in San Francisco, Google announced its first branded Android tablet.
But wait – that's not strictly true. It was actually Gizmodo that announced the Nexus 7, providing wholly accurate details of its pricing, specs, release date, and branding three days before Google lifted the lid on its project.
It was an astonishingly comprehensive leak, and one that highlights just how difficult it is for even the world's most secretive companies to keep their projects under wraps. The day an Apple engineer left his prototype iPhone 4 in a bar will stand forever as testament to this fact.
It also highlights just how good a job Microsoft did of keeping its Surface announcement under wraps. Hours before the scheduled press conference, blogs were insisting that Microsoft was gearing up to announce a Barnes & Noble slate with Xbox Live compatibility.
How wrong they were. But now's not the time for gloating – instead, let's move on to our bite-sized overview of the last seven days' worth of news.Platform wars
- Rumours suggest RIM may be preparing to split its business in two – holding on to its messaging and data networks while selling its BlackBerry business off.
- Samsung announces that it will have shipped 10 million Galaxy S III smartphones by the end of July, a success which UK trade association TIGA claims has cemented Android's position as a major gaming platform.
- Acer founder Stan Shih believes that Microsoft will pull out of the tablet market once Surface establishes Windows 8 as a credible tablet OS.
- Numbers published by San Francisco dev TinyCo suggest paying players spend more on Android than iOS.
- Microsoft senior product manager Larry Lieberman believes that Windows Phone 8 will be a "turning point", adding that "Windows Phone has arrived with this release."
- One year after forming a partnership with DeNA, Namco Bandai announces a new partnership with DeNA's social gaming platform rival GREE.
- The week ends with more bad news from RIM. The embattled company has delayed the launch of BB 10, posted a net loss of $518 million for Q1 2012, and is cutting 5,000 jobs in streamlining operations.
- appMobi calls HTML5 the "only viable option for cross platform mobile app development", and boasts of 50,000 devs using its HTML5 development tools...
- ... And just a few days later, industry veterans from Criterion and the PlayStation Home team announce PlayCanvas - an HTML5 development environment for 3D games.
- Another HTML5 tools outfit, Ludei, criticises Wooga's decision to 'bail' on HTML5, after the social dev decided to make its HTML5 project Pocket Island open source.
- YoYo Games highlights its GameMaker: Studio's HTML5 exporting abilities by publishing seven of its Android hits for the Google Chrome Web Store.
- Touchscreen action flight adventure game Iron Dragon has won the Activision Independent Games Competition, netting its creators $175,000 in prize money.
- UK ad platform StrikeAd raises $500,000 in funding as the company looks to expand State-side.
- Although it's only brought one smartphone to market, Chinese OEM Xiaomi already rivals RIM in terms of value.
- Frenzoo's Simon Newstead tells PocketGamer.biz about making 3D mobile games for women.
- Criterion Games creative director, Richard Franke, chronicles the making of Burnout Crash.
- NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil shares 11 development lessons for mobile studios.
- Infinity Blade is "the most profitable game we've ever made, in terms of man years invested versus revenue," according to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.
- PocketGamer.biz editor Jon Jordan points out that increasing mobile competition among Zynga, GREE, and DeNA, is good news for developers.
- Six To Start CCO Adrian Hon describes how his company went from Kickstarter campaigns to $800,000 success with Zombies, Run!
- Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes Microsoft's Surface will put pressure on Apple to innovate, and describes free-to-play as "the biggest problem for the games industry" right now.
- iQU's Fraser MacInnes argues against the use of data to manipulate players into spending. Instead, designers should use data to just make their games better.
- CEO Maria Alegre argues that Chartboost is a monetisation exchange that's focused on quality.
- GREE, DeNA, and other Japanese social gaming outfits revise their approach to the 'gacha' monetisation method.
- G5 CEO Vlad Suglobov suggests developers convert their casual games to free-to-play titles.
- Novarama CEO Dani Sánchez-Crespo claims that freemium developers are 'degrading the whole industry', in a talk at Gamelab 2012.
- DeNA's freemium card battler Rage of Bahamut could be grossing as much as $2.6 million a month after topping the App Store and Google Play top grossing charts.
- At the start of the week, rumours suggest that Google is set to unveil a Jelly Bean-based tablet called the Nexus 7 at its I/O conference...
- ...Those rumours turn out to be absolutely true. The 7-inch Nexus 7 is manufactured by Asus, runs Android 4.1 and will be shipping to consumers in mid-July.
- Google also used its conference to announce the launch of the preview Jelly Bean SDK, which is available now from the Android developer website.
- And it wouldn't be a conference without stats. Google announces that 400 million Android devices have been sold since the OS first launched, and the Google Play Store is now home to 600,000 apps.
- As the week closes, though, Adobe announces that Flash Player for mobile browsers will not be compatible with Android 4.1.