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Android Person of the Year Nominee: Mikael Hed

December 22, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

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Mikael Hed
CEO, Rovio Mobile

Reason nominated:
Lead behind Android’s most significant game

Those damn birds! In an epic war with pigs, for reasons no one quite understands, a flock of catapulting birds engaged in a war that propelled Angry Birds to heights achieved by few games on any platform. Mikael Hed, CEO of Angry Birds developer Rovio Mobile, helped send those ticked-off birds soaring onto devices.

Angry Birds was the unofficial Game of the Year that attracted more attention online than any other mobile title. A Birds-fueled download frenzy crushed the GetJar servers, generated an estimated $1 million per month in ad revenue, and led to more than 5 million downloads in 2010.

Hed lead Rovio to a successful year in which the company embodied multiple important trends. The high downloads and revenue totals proved that Android is not a platform with large revenue potential, but one with revenue results. The instability or unavailability on certain devices also represented the pesky fragmentation problem that Android struggles to shake, which has led Rovio to consider building a lighter version for legacy devices and QVGA screens. “It does take up manpower to do it and in some cases we can’t support all of the handsets because of processors,” Hed said. “But most of the Android handsets can support it.”

Angry Birds was not the first Android success story, but it was 2010′s most-noteworthy blockbuster. Mikael Hed led the charge as Angry Birds, and its “Seasons” spin-off, made important partnerships that put a glaring spotlight on Android’s power and problems. Hed’s comments and vision for Rovio just might push that momentum towards more games, fanfare, and feather-based mayhem in 2011.

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This article is part of a series of profiles on the people who most-impacted Android in 2010. Read more about the Android Person of the Year series here.