Friday Grab Bag: Watch NBA Finals on Select Mobile Devices: New Rival to Google Glass

Just a reminder that with the NBA Finals now being fought out on the court you can still watch the games if you are not in front of your television on ABC. Well on most but not all mobile devices. For users of Apple’s iPhone and iPad there is an app at the iTunes store.

There is also an app for users of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. Viewers using laptops as well as desktop computers can log into Looks like Android users are out in the cold on this for some reason. This is all part of a free access preview running through the end of June.

Asus fights for tablet share with low cost Memo Pad HD7
Asustek’s latest offering is a 7-inch tablet that could create demand for lower cost offerings in the tablet space. The $129 Asus Memo Pad HD7 has a 7-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution and it includes a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and a 5 MP rear facing camera. Depending on market it will be available with either 8GB or 16GB (at $149) of storage.

The company also delivered a 10-inch tablet this week, the 10-inch Transformer Pad Infinity that has the Android 4.2 operating system and is powered by a quad-core Tegra processor. It also features a 2048 x 1600 resolution display. Pricing is not yet available according to

Intel invests in gesture control technology developer Thalmic Lab
There has been a great deal of talk about the advent of wearable computing devices, from smartwatches to Google Glass and Intel does not want to miss out on the fun. It has joined an investment round to provide $14.5 million in Series A funding to Thalmic Labs.

Thalmic Labs has developed a wearable gesture control device called MYO and said that it will use the funding, which came from a round that was led by Intel Capital and Spark Capital and included Formation 8, First Round Capital and FundersClub, along with the following individual investors: Paul Graham, Marc Benioff, Geoff Ralston, Sam Altman, Garry Tan, Fritz Lanman, Hank Vigil, Tom Wagner, Alex Bard, Michael Litt and Daniel Debow.

Intel will provide access to manufacturing and technology to Thalmic to help it both scale production of its existing devices as well as develop future generations.

Rivals to Google Glass starting to emerge
At the annual Computex trade show a developer called Oculon Optoelectronics surface, that has a rival product to Google Glass that Oculon calls Oculon Smart Glasses. It claims that they will have better battery life, a better display and will cost less, around $500. Well that is settled.

Google Glass is not the first time a developer has created a wearable computer in the form of glasses, although Google’s effort is by far the largest and best financed effort. I wonder if developers that once sneered at the idea of a tablet now want to try and be in front of the acceptance curve rather than behind it and so are working to have products out simultaneously with Google so as to not initially surrender the market?

Friday Grab Bag: Apple to Expand iPhone with Mid- and Low-Cost Models?

If you are wondering about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s opinions on a variety of topics from the future of mobile computing, an Apple-owned social network to the future of the Apple iOS tune into the video of his interview at All Things D.

He does not delve into any topic too deeply, but then that often seems to be his trademark, but does hint about the phones and discuss Google Glass a bit. Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, due to start June 10, should be when most of the details for upcoming products emerge.

Apple to open additional APIs to developers
One interesting note from the All Things Digital talk was Cook commenting that Apple plans to open more APIs to third-party developers. On the face of it that does not sound too interesting but then you look at what is currently locked up.

It could give users the ability to select their home screen and lock screen as well as change their keyboard. In other words function more like an Android phone.

Google to embrace HTC One
The HTC One smartphone, ridiculed as the failed first attempt by Facebook to establish its own version of its app as the startup page on phones looks to be getting a new life from rival Google. It will be one of two new offerings from Google expected in the upcoming weeks. The difference here will be that it runs an unmodified version of Android.

Also expected from Google is the long awaited Motorola X phone, which will be called the Moto X, and should be available for the fall holiday gift giving season i.e. October.

HTC to deliver 7-inch Windows Tablet, yet killing 12-inch?
Speaking of HTC Bloomberg, via Engadget, is reporting that HTC will be killing off its planned 12-inch Windows RT tablet due to its belief that there will be little demand for that version of the Windows operating system and/or tablets that size.
Smaller form factor tablets have been selling at an increasingly fast rate and Bloomberg is reporting that HTC will be delivering a 7-inch Windows RT tablet, probably in September or October of this year.

E3 Just two weeks away
E3, one of the premier game and entertainment trade show is set to run from June 11-13 in Los Angeles. Once this might not have meant much to both sports fans and mobile users but increasingly apps are being developed and debuted that are designed for smartphones and tablets. Expect a wave of iOS and Android apps from the show and hopefully some that are top notch sports ones.

MLB adds Mobile Ticket Upgrade Feature to At Bat


Major League Baseball expands its mobile ticket program that allows for seat upgrades from four teams to 13 as it continues to be at the forefront of utilizing mobile technology to connect with fans.

Last year we reported that Major League Baseball had adopted Apple’s Passbook Ticket technology, a mobile ticket option that enables fans to upgrade seats. At the time MLB was rolling the program out in four ballparks across the nation as a test program.

In its most recent release of MLB AT Bat the ability to support Passbook, first available in Apple’s iOS 6 release, has been expanded to 13 teams. The basic gist of the app is that a fan can use it to get a seat upgrade via a paperless ticket while at the ballpark.

It was initially rolled out at the end of last year with four teams participating: the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. Additional teams that will now provide the service include the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs.

MLB executives, speaking at a fan event yesterday in New York City said that additional teams will be added during the season. It is also working to further integrate its teams with Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Last year’s push with Instagram is an example of that.

Each team will handle the upgrades on an individual basis, allowing for differences in how teams want to upgrade fans. I suspect that this will also help spur teams to enhance their existing wireless infrastructure to handle this type of transaction.

As most fans know the wireless experience at sporting venues is often very unsatisfactory, with slow and dropped connections a commonplace event. The effort to build, maintain and expand a network is complex, but teams are increasingly making the effort due to how necessary it is now in a connected world.

While it has been reported that Apple’s iOS users represent 70% of all MLB At Bat users, MLB recognizes that it will need to support the growing users of Android and other mobile operating systems. Its support for the BlackBerry this year is a sign of that but right now there is no announced cross platform support for this app.

Friday Grab Bag: Apple Watch, Smaller Surface Tablets?

The New York Times has reported that Apple is developing a watch that will run the same operating system as its popular iPhones and iPads, iOS. That is about the sum total of the information provided but it is fun to think of all of the interesting things that you can do with such a device. I suspect schools will not be looking forward to students having access to answers via such a device.

Smart watches have been in vogue for the last few years, with Kickstarter favorite Pebbles probably leading the pack. There is also a range of task specific watches for activities such as golf, biking and other outdoor activities.

Changes in 2020 Olympic Sports

What do wrestling, softball and baseball have in common? Well for one they have all been dropped as Olympic sports, with a final vote now pending to drop wrestling starting with the 2020 games. The other two sports were dropped in 2005.

Still there is a line of sports seeking to be allowed at the Olympics including baseball and softball, which are seeking reinstatement. Others include karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing and wakeboarding while rugby and golf have made the cut and will be played at the next games in 2016.

Nike says no to Android

Users of Nike’s Nike+ Fuelband are being left out if they are also users of an Android smartphone as the company has said that it will not be developing apps for that platform in the near future, but will stay the course by continuing to support Apple’s iOS.

Nike tweeted the news, which was reported by a number of outlets such as Engadget, and said that it will be focusing both on the Apple side of things and that users can also use to sync their activity.

Microsoft to have smaller sized Surface tablets?
Microsoft’s chief financial officer Peter Klein hinted that the company was looking at developing next generation Surface tablets in a wide array of new sizes at the recent Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, according to

He said that the company was prepared to meet demand from its customer base and that anything from 4-inches to 13 inches are on the table. The company had slow sales for its Surface RT models but appears to have strong sales in the Surface Pro lineup, particularly at the high end.

Apple has iOS fix in the works

Users of Apple’s iPad and iPhone devices that have its iOS 6.1 operating system might have noticed that the operating system appears to have issues with Microsoft’s Exchange servers. Well it looks like Apple is acknowledging the issue and has a fix in the works.

Issues such as reoccurring calendar items and excessive calling back to the servers and thus killing battery life were two of the principal issues associated with the bug.

Apple Expands Storage Capacity with Latest iPad Upgrade


Apple has said that it has expanded the storage capacity options on its flagship iPad platform with the addition of models that will now have feature 128GB of storage, doubling what had been previously available.

The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available starting next Tuesday, Feb. 5, and will be available in both black or white models. The MSRP for the iPad with Wi-Fi model is $799 and will be $929 (US) for the iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

The models will have what is expected of this generation iPads including a 9.7-inch Retina display, Apple’s iOS 6.1 operating system that includes built-in support for LTE networks. It will be powered by the company’s A6X dual core processor and will include the FaceTime HD camera.

The move could be seen as designed to counter Microsoft which is planning to release its Windows Surface 8 Pro tablet on Feb. 9, a tablet that will also have a 128GB capacity. The Surface RT that was released late last year currently supports 64GBs of storage.

At the upcoming World Mobile Congress next month in Barcelona a number of tablets are expected to be shown, including four from Samsung. It will be interesting to see if that company follows along and has its latest offering available with 128GBs as well.

Apple has been under increased pressure from its competitors in the second half of last year and continuing into 2013 as they have started bringing out significantly better developed and built products that they had previously. Samsung and Amazon have been the two most aggressive but Microsoft has also entered the game late last year with its Surface platform, and is expanding that soon with a model that is expected to be much better received that its Surface RT.

While this move is certainly more evolutionary rather than revolutionary it will help it keep its products features at the top of the charts.

NFL has Major Digital Push on for Super Bowl


In the past it has seemed that MLB has had a lead on the NFL when it came to using alternative delivery mechanisms such as the Internet but the NFL has a huge bradth and depth of offering leading up to this weekend’s game

You can start with two areas that the average fan s probably well acquainted- The NFL.Com and web sites that will provide the expected analysis, human interest stories and more prior to and during the game. Included will be live streaming of player and coach interviews all week long in a program called Live: Superbowl XLVII that will be available on both sites.

Two additional live streaming events will be the annual NFL Commissioner Super Bowl press conference, and probably of more interest to the average fan, the unveiling of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class, something that is always good for some dispute among fans.


Mobile Users have Plenty of Options
For the mobile user there is also a set of options available from NFL Digital Media if they want to stay connected leading up to the game, as well as features that will help fans that are in New Orleans for the game or just to experience the Super Bowl atmosphere. For Verizon subscribers they can also watch the game on their phone.

A user can download the Super Bowl XLVII Digital Program on both Android and iOS run devices that feature the official game program in all of its 264 page glory and features the scouting reports, player and coach features and other information that will be found in the program that is available at the game.

The NFL’12 app is also available for free download for Android and iOS devices. This free app provides all of the data and stats from the past season as well as live scores and stats from the game. A user can purchase the optional Audio Pass that will enable them to listen to the game on their mobile device.

For a guide to official Super Bowl events as well as a handy tourist guide to New Orleans night life, restaurants and other sights there is the Super Bowl XLVII Mobile Guide, presented by Verizon. It includes the ability to get push notifications for events.

fan pass

Then for the fan that needs to be in touch constantly here is the NFL Fan Pass, which launches this morning. This will provide actual access to the players enabling fans to post question and it will host a also host a Google+ Hangout on Media Day connecting fans with their favorite players and NFL reporters. It will also feature exclusive interviews and videos of not only players but also celebrities that will be attending the game.

There are a host of other features that the NFL will be delivering, from game rewind that will show following the conclusion of the game. You can follow events of twitter at @superbowl and there will also be a range of podcasts available during the week.

It really looks like the NFL is covering all of its digital bases, if I can mix metaphors, and is really reaching out to fans in a solid, proactive way so that if you miss all of the action on Sunday the blame will sit on you.