Mobile gaming heats up with Ngmoco acquisition

by Kristen Nicole

Mobile games going global

Mobile gaming is getting a lot of attention. And why wouldn’t it? With smartphones nearly as powerful as PCs, gaming on the go has become a breeze. The global market is anxious to cash in on this phenomenon, snapping up game development companies left and right: Just look at how far Zynga has expanded in the past six months, with new offices from Dallas to Hong Kong.

This worldwide growth is a two-way trend, with Japanese gaming company DeNA announcing itsacquisition of ngmoco this morning. The deal gives DeNA a larger footprint on US soil, as this is its third state-side buy out. As ngmoco has plans to launch its gaming platform on the Android Market soon, the deal is a good move for DeNA.

Eyes-free navigation

Last week Google let us in on a big secret; it’s got thousands of cars on the road, with no human drivers, testing out some new technology. These navigation concepts are being applied to Android smartphones as well, with Google’s release of two eyes-free apps in the Android Market.

WalkyTalky speaks the address of nearby locations as you pass them, and also provides more direct access to the waking directions component of Google Maps. Now, the vision-impaired have a new way to interact with their surroundings, pulling up favorite and recent locations as well.

Google’s other eyes-free app is Intersection Explorer, which offers a new way to delve into a Google Maps neighborhood. This tool is an audio-centric way to take in your surroundings, as Google narrates nearby intersections based on your chosen location.

Getting to know your surroundings

While Google’s eyes-free experiments are futuristic to say the least, navigating one’s local surroundings is a popular idea put to work with Android devices. GrubHub has launched its restaurant-finding app on the Android Market this week, and Whrrl’s socially-oriented networking app is now on Android as well.