Rovio Updates Angry Birds Compatibility List, Will Develop a “Lightweight” Version


Following the latest update to Angry Birds for Android, Rovio received a lot of complaints about ad placements and the overall plummeting of the game’s performance, and your cries have forced their hands in more ways than one. First up: they’ve had to cut several devices from their list of supported Android handsets. For those of you running any of the following handsets (including the T-Mobile G2, oddly enough), I’m sorry:

  • Droid Eris
  • HTC Dream
  • HTC Hero
  • HTC Magic/Sapphire/Mytouch 3G
  • HTC Tattoo
  • HTC Wildfire
  • Huawei Ideos/U8150
  • LG Ally/Aloha/VS740
  • LG GW620/Eve
  • Motorola Backflip/MB300
  • Motorola Cliq/Dext
  • Samsung Acclaim
  • Samsung Moment/M900
  • Samsung Spica/i5700
  • Samsung Transform
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini
  • T-Mobile G1
  • T-Mobile G2

For the rest of you, if you don’t have any of those handsets, aren’t on Android 1.5, and aren’t running a custom ROM (of course), Rovio will continue to support you. This doesn’t mean that the aforementioned list of devices are being left dead in the water, though: they’re making a lightweight version for those of you on less-than-capable handsets. It’s an unfortunate side effect to the ecosystem that is Android and all of the curve balls it tends to throw a developer.


In an iOS world, you only have to write code once and know it is optimized for every phone that’s been sold. With Android some people are going to own the more capable devices and some are going to own the less capable ones, but they’ll all want the same apps and the same games. This optimized version of Angry Birds won’t have less content than the current version, though, as they’ve stressed that the changes will only help improve performance for devices who can’t keep up.

I can’t imagine it’s convenient to have to maintain multiple builds of Angry Birds on a platform where “write once, run anywhere” has become the norm, but that’s what must be done if folks on older devices want the newest and most demanding games. At least they’re listening though, guys, and you’ll have your smooth version of Angry Birds soon enough (though no real timeline was given)

[via Rovio]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Good to hear – it’s still in the market for my Hero, but if it’s the same version then it’ll still be really jerky.

    I don’t quite understand why it’s so slow though as I’ve run other games that have more detailed graphics, and the same level of physics simulation. In all, it’s actually a pretty simple game.

    If they’re not removing content then they could probably just optimise their existing code, and it’d either run even better on the more powerful devices, or run the same. There’s no need to maintain two codebases (or even builds) unless they’re worried that the lighter version will negatively impact the existing one – that suggests that maybe they’re reducing the size or quality of the textures that make up the background and sprites.

  2. My myTouch4G, same processor as the G2, runs Angry Birds just fine. Must be a typo or something.

  3. Thats odd cuz it runs perfect on my myTouch 3G on CM6.1 RC1.

  4. My G2 has absolutely no problem running the latest version of this game. I wonder why it would be on that list???

  5. I have a G2 and MyTouch and they both run the game exactly the same. Has to be a typo.

  6. if the desire z, desire hd, and mytouch 4g arent on the list, why ist he g2 on it?

  7. it is laggy on my Eris, so I use my wife’s droid2 to play it :)

    you know, at some point, iPhone hardware will evolve to the point that apps written for the latest iPhone will not work on early generations of iPhone.

    Because of Apple’s control, however, it just won’t happen as quickly as it does for Android-compatible hardware…

  8. I think that I’d prefer a PAID version of the app instead of having to put up with the ads. They are a major distraction, and inhibit performance.

  9. T-Mobile G2 refers to the European HTC Hero, it was called G2 in the UK.

    The American G2 can handel the game without a problem.

  10. Not all iPhones have the same capability. If I was to write an app for the iPhone 4 using the iOS 4.0 or greater it would not work with iPhone 2g and might even have problems with iPhone 3. The reason why we don’t hear such problem from the iPhone side of development is that iPhone users tend to upgrade their devices.

  11. 513 (comment #7): I thought in the UK the company was called Deutsch Telecom, not T-Mobile?

  12. This game is not simple. The coding is quite complex. The size of the app is significantly large, and the battery draw when I play this game is the greatest of any Android app I run. I’m guessing the physics of the game is the culprit here, since the graphics, though really nice, are not 3D or too complex.

  13. My Ally plays Angry Birds just fine. Also, why is the G2 on there?

  14. @Nick it’s called T-Mobile UK out there, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, as is T-Mobile USA.

  15. I own a spica, and I went back to the previous version (1.3.5 I guess) because the latest was too laggy, plus I still got a lot of levels to unlock before I start complaining ;-)

  16. Interesting news, but I like the fact that Rovio is listening to it’s users. (that part really impresses me) Sucks to be one on the list, but at least their working to hook you guys up so that’s good news.
    Hey Thierry: how were you able to go back to a previous version of AngryBirds? I’ve never (nor has anyone I know) been able to do that with any app from the Market. I assume you saved it before your latest update?

  17. @Quentyn, you should update the OP, to indicate that the T mobile G2 is referring to the UK version. Just my .02

  18. @9
    I think you are correct in your assumption that they mean the european Hero when mentioning the G2. I was thinkinng the same thing.

    BTW, the game runs swimmingly on my Streak, Magic, Aria and N1, but not so much on my Dream. It’s more of a nightmare on her. lmao

  19. Angry birds works on my LG Ally, and pretty much at full speed if you wait for the adds to load on the more complex levels, if not it can get a little jittery if you start playing while the add is loading.

    If you want to disable the adds and don’t mind not receiving calls, email, or messages while playing, just put the phone in airplane mode before playing and the game runs very smoothly on an a stock Ally! I was surprised to see this phone listed as not supported.

  20. Sucks on my MyTouch 3G

  21. So maybe they will make a version that will run on my Android 2.2 HTC Dream, good news cause the current version crashed after a few seconds.

  22. Angry Birds has ads? I must be missing something… Where are they at? During game play?

  23. I couldnt even install it on my hero O.o
    it just fails…

  24. Odd. It runs perfectly on my LG Ally. *shrugs* I suppose I’ll move to the “lite” version when it comes out, but truthfully I’m not in all that much of a rush.

  25. With the kind of money Angry Birds has made, they *SHOULD* be making sure it works for customers that want it. I mean they have the resources. This isn’t rocket science! It’s just basic programming practice. Don’t treat them as *Special* because they are trying to support multiple versions of things. This is what programmers *DO*, and it’s expected in the software field to have issues like this!


  26. yeah no adds here. i am rooted and have “adfree” installed

  27. The ads pop up during gameplay if you do not block them which I don’t.
    It’s the ads that allow these devs to offer us these great apps at no cost. Least I could do is leave their ads so they are still able to make profit. Now ads in paid apps I am completely against, but not in free apps.
    Once the level starts, a small ad banner is present in the top right corner for like 3-5 seconds then goes away. Completely non-intrusive.

  28. This ran pretty well on my Moment owned by my wife… until the last update. Now it is unusable. Luckily I have a spare droid that I got at Google I/O that my son can play it on (instead of my EVO).

  29. The ads pop up at the bottom right of my screen and do not intrude on gameplay, but I have yet to download the new 45 levels. (supposedly that’s when the ads started getting in the way)

  30. The argument about the game being complex is all fine and well, but the problems happened AFTER their update. So, as complex as the game is, fragmentation is not the main culprit here. The game could work just fine on most Android phones. AB just chose to make it less compatible.

    I have an X, so it works fine for me, but I can see where in the next year or so, my phone is the obsolete one.

  31. Runs fine on my Evo and I have yet to see an ad. Guess that ad-blocker really does work.

  32. I have it on my Liberty (Aria). I’m rooted with CM6.1 RC1 and overclocked to 825mhz. Everything ran perfect until they included ads in gameplay. If I turn on airplane mode which stops the adds it runs perfectly. If I leave it on it drags like crazy. It is obvious that they should remove the adds from gameplay and add it to the startup and menu screens. That would be the easiest fix, and satisfy everyones needs.

  33. Wow, these guys really are noobs. The previous version had *none* of these problems on these handsets, yet their solution is to unlist those devices instead of fixing their bugs? Pretty terrible.

  34. Did you read the whole story joe? They are going to fix the bugs, these things take time though. I’m sure the developers didn’t purposely intend for the ads to block gameplay. Why are android users so impatient? Be happy Rovio didn’t charge you for the game to begin with.

  35. I love Angry Birds… but not on my phone cuz it’s sidekick lx 2009.. I borrow my co worker, I m addict!

    that would be nice if Rovio make new game called “Angry Dogs” u know? Dogs attack after cats.. lol

    I look forward to buy new phone in few months.. I prefer buy any T mobile 4.3 inches w/ physical keyboard.. (hopeful Sidekick Twist!)

  36. btw #34, I agree! :-)

  37. damn sucks to see the moment on this list. im happy to see that they are addressing this tho because this was my favorite game. just cant wait for them to put out the lite verison cuz i miss playing it and dont have other phones to play them on lol

  38. @Wilco I was actually just about to post the opposite. This game is NOT that complex. Its the same rehashed thing as the TON of other “knock over” or “blow up” physics based games out there. Its presented way better than most of them but its no different. You can go look at some of the game engines for Android and see basically how the game is made. I’ve run some of those games easily on my G1. Sure I could be wrong but I’m having a hard time seeing why they would need a lite version unless they haven’t optimized their code for performance. Maybe their physics engine is not native code. *shrugs*

  39. Still love the iPhone version better, more levels and a more refreshing experience. I hate the adds. But I guess people with Andriod phones will be able to experience Angry Birds now. :D

  40. I have a Samsung Moment (one of the phones on the list), and until their “update” the game was certainly playable, if only a tiny bit laggy at certain times. I’m less than a newb with code, but couldn’t they just input the new levels and such on the same codebase without ever “optimizing” it for older devices? Seems like that would fix their “fragmentation issue”…

  41. It’s the ads that are the problem not the game. iOS doesn’t have to deal with the stupid ads thats why it works so much better.

    Put out a paid ver with no ads and prob solved.

  42. Its amazing that I’m seeing this, I knew the first thing I wanted to get with my Transform was going to be Angry Birds because on my neighbors Ipod Touch, I love to play it, but now I gotta get the “lite” version? This really seems a tad overplayed on the developers part, I wish they would of removed the last update and reworked the current code, because honestly, I’ve played angry birds on an LG Ally and it was perfectly fine and the Ally doesn’t have the most “beefed up” processor. I’m really gonna be interested to see how this “lite” version goes. Who knows, maybe they’re gonna change there mind on this? That would be a nice thought. :)

  43. It’s not the ads that degrade performance, it’s the design of certain levels.

    On complex levels, if the building materials aren’t stacked exactly right, they will sort of “shift” at the beginning of each round to settle in. This causes lower end phones to slow down until the “bricks” stop moving.

    It APPEARS to be caused by the ads, but only because the ads are hitting at the same time that the bricks are settling in. It just a coincidental timing that the ads may go away when the bricks stop settling in.

    Try it yourself. Go to the more complex laggy levels and see if the performance increases when the blocks stop moving – or if it only increases once the ads disappear.

  44. Looks like Rovio updated their page, and removed T-Mobile G2; or rather, they moved it up and specified it as “HTC Hero/T-mobile G2 Touch”.

  45. I’m glad Rovio wants to reach every corner of the Android spectrum but I don’t understand why there are people complaining as if Rovio has the obligation to please everyone out there.

    I hate people talking exaggeratedly about “fragmentation” because of Angry Birds. Apple fanboys are getting weaponry to use against Android.

    There is no Android fragmentation, there is choice! People who bought a HTC Wildfire or Samsung Galaxy 3 shouldn’t expect to get the same functionallity than people who bought a HTC Desire or Samsung Galaxy S.

    The same logic applies to PC’s. If I choose to have the ultimate user and gamer experience I wouldn’t buy a crappy Celeron/integrated graphics computer but a i7/GTX580.

  46. They clearly learn from Apple. When something they make doesn’t work, it’s suddenly the user’s fault.

    It worked BEFORE their update. Then their update broke the app. They could have made it for-pay, reducing the processing overhead by eliminating ads. They could have done maybe SOME testing.

    There’s plenty of apps out there that do far more quite acceptably on these “lesser” phones. Their programmers just suck.

  47. Why would my Samsung Moment be on the list. If the pre-update version worked on it, why doesn’t it still? Doesn’t make any sense to me. I loved this game before the update and now its completely unplayable. Disappointed for sure.

  48. JD, you are incorrect that it’s not the ads. I have a Samsung Moment, and it ran fine until the ads started showing up in-game. If I use airplane mode or an ad-blocker, then the game runs much more smoothly.

    This is a fix btw for any of you that have a “lower-end” Samsung phone (great, my 1 year old phone with an 800 MHz processor is considered obsolete by the Android market and developers).

  49. I upgrades my Samsung Moment yesterday. I can play Angry Birds Seasons, but the beta version runs extremely slow on my phone. At least I have one version to play :-) It would be great if they could fix it for the Android OS.

  50. I found on the hero if you put the phone in airplane mode, it works much better. No ads,however you have to open the levels on a wi-fi or internet connection before you can play them.

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