Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Kindle Sales Still Burn Bright

Tablets the tops for Small and Medium businesses
According to market research firm NPD Group, the demand for tablets is expected to grow in the small and medium business market, which is companies with less than 1,000 employees, over the next year with Apple’s iPad leading as the most popular tablet choice.

According to the group’s SMB Technology Monitor for the third quarter 73% of respondents said that they intend to purchase a tablet in the next 12 months, up from 68% in the second quarter survey. 90% said that they plan to spend the same or more than in the previous year.

The largest firms, 501 to 999 employees, in the survey are the most likely to purchase tablets, with 89% indicating intent to purchase while in the smallest group, under 50 employees, only 54% expect to buy.

Amazon reports Kindle sales still sizzling
Amazon reported that it sold over 1 million Kindles each week of December, making it a very happy holiday for the on-line retailer. While other tablet manufacturers have struggled to gain traction in a market that has been dominated by Apple and its iPad since its introduction, Kindle has been a nice exception.

Amazon said that since the introduction of the Kindle Fire it has been the top selling product on its site for 13 consecutive weeks. It should be noted that Apple is expected to sell 61% of all tablets in the quarter but Amazon is starting to make a dent in Apple’s overall market share.

Will the next generation Android OS work in my device?
Always a good question. At first it seemed (maybe just to me) that 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, would work on any existing Android device. ICS, built to work on both smartphones and tablets, will apparently not be backwardly compatible with all current devices. The people at International Business Times have gone to the trouble of listing many of the devices that will and will not be upgradeable.

Dell steps back into the Venture Capital market
Dell has returned to the venture capital market, its second effort in this space. During the heyday of the dot com boom and beyond Dell was an active investor with its Dell Ventures effort and reached over $1bn invested at one time. It started departing the space when it sold off the bulk of its portfolio in 2005 and then quietly exited afterwards.

Well now it is back with the formation of Dell Capital Ventures and has hired Northwest Venture Partners executive Jim Lussier as managing partner and Ingrid Vanderveldt, who has experience in founding and spinning off startups as the ‘entrepreneur in residence.”

The investment effort will focus on early stage companies and Dell has not indicated what type of funding the effort will initially receive. According to the Wall Street Journal Dell will seek to eventually establish the program as its own business unit inside the company with its own resources and budget.

Microsoft’s new mobility

Will 2011 be the year that is remembered as the time when Microsoft breaks the tether of its desktop software/Windows business and embraces mobility and a more flexible software development approach as eWeek posts? If so that would make for an interesting company- you have to wonder how many solid products have been killed over the years due to turf wars dominated by the Windows team.

Cnet chimes in with a list of 5 things to look for from Microsoft in 2012, and includes its Windows 8 tablets due to the company’s decision deliver its tile-based OS rather than the Windows interface users are accustomed to. The piece also expects an increase in litigation from Microsoft towards Google’s customers for its Android and Chrome software.

This week in lawsuits
An intellectual property firm claims that Apple could make $10 per device in royalties from the vast array of Android manufacturers if it dropped its lawsuits and went the licensing route. Just over the holidays there were nearly 4 million Android activations. But where is the fun in settling? Intel and AMD once spent over $1 bn in legal fees in their dispute over x 86 technologies.

Do nice phones finish last? Or do people just not want Microsoft phones?
Is Microsoft’s lack of an intimate relationship with carriers the reason the Windows handsets have not been flying off the shelves? Well that is the position put out by former Windows Phone General Manager Charlie Kindel in a blog posting. A few interesting takes on his comments here and here. If you feel like it you can find more comments on the posting.


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