Apple iPhone Apps BusinessIt's no secret that being an iPhone app developer is at times rough business, mostly due to Apple's goofy authoritarianism. But judging by some recent soul-spilling by a few leading devs, things are getting rougher.

Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, developers of Frenzic and Twitterific, started things off with a post lamenting the difficulties of rising above the iPhone app's endless sea of 99-cent mediocrity (a sea I’ve spent plenty of often painful time wading through for our Week in iPhone Apps column). In his post, he worries about being damned to endlessly constructing 99-cent so-called "ringtone" apps rather than well-designed and innovative apps that take more resources to develop.

Hockenberry's "Dear Steve" states that an iPhone dev's life would be a lot easier if they could accurately track who exactly is downloading their apps (and which ads/links they clicked on to get to the store), and the ability to offer free demo version of apps that expire after a given time, prompting people to purchase the full app.

After setting off quite a ruckus of folks accusing Hockenberry of groundless complaining, the folks at Appcubby came to the rescue with a full monty on their financial records, showing, down to the dollar, what goes into keeping food on the table for an iPhone app developer (wherein we learned just how much Jason's post on Gas Cubby spurred sales). The Cubby folks backed up the call for free demos and more ad-tracking capabilities as two things that would greatly help the situation.
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LEGO Brick iPod Speaker snapshotThis nifty LEGO brick iPod speaker from ThinkGeek plugs right into the base and "actually sounds great - thanks in part to its 'Active Bass System.'" Available now at priced at $19.99.

Looking just like a blue building brick, this sucker just plugs into your iPod (supported models listed below) and that's that. The center bottom pegs are really volume up and down buttons.
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Sony said that it would launch its online 3-D social networking service (Home) for users of the company's PlayStation 3 video-game console. Home is similar to Linden Lab's Second Life in that it lets people create virtual characters, or avatars, to interact in cyberspace. PlayStation 3 users will be able to join the virtual world through a free software download.

Home is the latest online service for the PS3. Sony recently added video downloads to the PlayStation Network, which, according to the company, has 15 million subscribers worldwide. Nevertheless, Sony is seen as behind rival Microsoft, which makes the Xbox 360, in launching online gaming and video-download services.

In addition, Nintendo, which launched its Wii video-game console the same month as Sony launched PS 3, November 2006, has outsold Sony more than 2-to-1. Nintendo has sold 34.5 million units worldwide, compared with Sony's 16.8 million units.
Sony is hoping Home will help take its struggling video games unit to profitability. The unit has lost about $3.8 billion over the last two years, according to BusinessWeek magazine.

While PS3 users will enter Home for free, Sony hopes to make money by charging companies to interact with participants. The first companies to join Home include clothing designer Diesel, furniture designer Ligne Roset, energy drink maker Red Bull, film studio Paramount Pictures, and video content providers Hexus TV and Eurogamer.

Besides offering mini-games, videos, and special events, Home will craft it possible for users to create their own social networks and set up meetings in their own virtual apartments or in public gatherings. Home will offer instant messaging, voice, and video communications.

Sony first announced Home in March 2007, saying it would launch the service later that year. The company announced the first delay in October 2007, and again in April 2008. Sony launched a trial of the service to a limited number of PS3 users in August.
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Unlike its game console predecessors, the PC version of Mirror's Edge is able to make full use of NVIDIA's PhysX engine for some stunning gameplay effects.

Check out the cool video here:
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Sony Computer Entertainment America confirmed the rumors that Playstation Home will be launching later this month.

Playstation Home Launch in DecemberPlaystation Home, Sony’s answer to Xbox Live, features a graphical virtual world where users can own a customizable apartment, play casual games with others, shop for products, and eventually access online media content.

BTW, It’s a free service. Will Sony have enough resources to maintain the quality and consistency necessary for a thriving online community? This is the one gamer that certainly hopes so.
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