Apple Enters the 7-inch Space With iPad Mini

The suspense has been gone for some time but now that Apple has officially taken the wraps off of its latest member of the iPad family, the 7-inch iPad Mini we can actually look at the details and see how it compares to its rivals in this space.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook officially unveiled the latest at an event held in San Jose, Calif. today, seven months after its last iPad release. Apple’s iPad Mini is 53% lighter than the last generation iPad at 0.68 pounds, and has a 7.9-inch Retina screen with a 1,024 x 768 resolution, the same resolution as the iPad . Apple said that since the displays are the same resolution there should be no issue using existing iPad apps on the newest tablet. It features a 5MP backward facing camera and is capable of connecting to a 4G LTE network.

The iPad Mini starts at $329 for a 16GB version, $429 for the 32GB model and $529 for the 64GB model and Apple will start taking orders for the tablet on Friday and said that it expects to ship the Wi-Fi version at the end of next week with the cellular version to ship two weeks later.

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller said that the iPad Mini’s rivals in the 7-inch space were failures. Well Apple will have the chance now to show that it is better since its two top rivals, Amazon and Google, sell their 7-inch tablets at cost with the Google Nexus 7 starting at $199 and the Amazon Kindle at $159, both significantly lower than what Apple is selling the iPad Mini for.

There is no doubt that the company has had tremendous success with the larger iPads since its debut, with over 100 million sold and a dominating, almost 70% market share so far. This might be why Apple had been originally disparaging of the 7-inch market but the success first of Amazon’s Kindle tablet followed closely by Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Google’s Nexus 7 have shown that there was a large demand out there for smaller devices.

Tablet market no longer just Apple vs. Android
It should be noted that while Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google have been getting all of the press for their popular 7-inch offerings, more are expected from additional companies, starting with Acer’s announcement of its Iconia A110. The 7-inch tablet is approximately $30 less than the Nexus 7 at $230 and will have a 1024 x 600 resolution display, but this is another Android-based system.

However the Windows 8 revolution is about to hit us as Microsoft seeks to establish itself as a major player not only in the tablet operating space with its Windows 8 operating system but also as a provider of hardware with its Surface tablets, all of which will be unveiled this week.

Plenty of the Windows 8 hardware OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Asus and Lenovo have already taken the wraps off of their devices in advance of the official unveiling and Intel has talked about the features that t will bring to the space with its technology and processors. However, so far none of the OEMs, that I am aware of, have talked about 7-inch tablets, although Samsung has offered one in the past. I suspect that just like Apple they will be visiting the space, and soon.

It would not be an Apple event if there was just one center of attention. The company announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that features its retina display technology, a notebook that weights in almost a pound lighter and 20% thinner than previous versions. Currently available it has a $1,699 starting price tag. Then there is a Mac Mini at $599 and a new iMac with up to a 27-inch display and an interesting new hard drive/flash combo starting at $1299 for the version with a 21.5-inch display.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: New Nexus, Windows 8, iPads on Horizon

This should be the start of a great couple of weeks for techies. Apple has its event on Wednesday, purportedly to announce the new iPad Mini but with Apple they could have an entirely different product to surprise the market, although I doubt it. Then Microsoft takes center stage the following day in New York to announce its Windows 8 operating system and show off its Surface tablets, along with the offerings from its OEMs.

The following week Microsoft unveils Windows 8 Phone along with Nokia and other partners in San Francisco. At the same time Google is hosting an Android event in New York. After all of this settles it will be time to look for the holiday gifts, at least the ones that you are going to get for yourself to keep your mobile sports jones going.

The Google announcement looks as if there will be several major components, according to Cnet. The next generation of the Android operating system, 4.2 will be on the table as well as a Nexus 4 phone from LG and a larger Nexus tablet, the Nexus 10, this time made by Samsung.

Google to settle with FTC?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is considering settling a case with the Federal Trade Commission over claims its Motorola Mobility unit violated antitrust laws. It has to do with how it licensed patents that were listed as industry standards.

Acer’s 7-inch tablet priced at $230
According to a report in the WebProNews Acer will be listing its 7-inch Iconia Tab A110 at $230. Slated for release on Oct.30 the tablet will have a 1024 x 600 resolution, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage while powered by a Nvidia Tegra quad-core processor.

4K is now Ultra HD
If you have been looking at cameras, televisions and other devices that list among their features that they are 4k you probably know that it means that they have a horizontal resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels. Well now the Consumer Electronics Association has decided to toss that into the trash and use the term Ultra HD when used with televisions that support 4k.

The minimum requirements to use the Ultra HD tag will be resolution of at least eight million active pixels, which is a minimum 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. Displays must have an aspect ratio of at least 16×9 and must have a digital input capable of carrying native 4K video, instead of relying solely on up-converting.

Apps bolster smartphone usage
Market research firm NPD has studied the issue of whether additional apps lead to more time on a smartphone. It found that yes, the connected consumer does spend additional time using the smartphone. The company’s Connected Intelligence SmartMeter found that when comparing monthly usage of minutes per day for August 2012 versus August 2011, Android smartphone users spent nearly one-fifth more time on their smartphones daily – 247 minutes, or over four hours versus 210 minutes or 3.5 hours. While I think many intuitively have believed this it is very nice to have someone actually do the research to back up opinions.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Acer, Huawei, Best Buy tablets on the horizon

Acer Iconia W510 tablet reaches FCC
Acer’s forthcoming Iconia W510 tablet, a Windows 8 ready device, is the latest forthcoming tablet to start testing at the Federal Communications Commission. This makes it very likely that the tablet will be available on the day of the launch, according to Engadget.

Amazon’s profit margin on Kindle is nil
Amazon has admitted what a number of research companies have already said, that its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite e-reader are sold at cost. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the BBC as much in an interview late last week. This is not really that surprising since the company is using these tablets as tools to open up sales of other products and services that the company offers. Google’s Nexus 7 is also sold at roughly cost.

With Apple expected to enter the 7-inch tablet space later this month it will be interesting to see how it prices the new iPad since Apple does make money on its hardware, but then it develops the operating system and processor.

Kickstarter hits the UK at month end

Kickstarter, the ever popular crowd funding site, is opening its horizons a bit as the site is planning on going live in the United Kingdom on Halloween. The site will list projects in pounds but feature a conversion chart so that people interested in pledging can also see the dollar value.

Tablet due from Huawei
We mentioned a week ago that Huawei was looking to enter the tablet space and Slashgear has already gotten its hands on one of the offerings that are coming from the company. One is the MediaPad 10 FHD that features a 10-inch display with 1920 x 1200 resolution and runs the Android operating system using a Huawei-built 1.5GHz processor. Capable of supporting 4G LTE it will be available with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB of storage and feature 2GB of RAM.

Amazon admits Kindle Paperwhite flaw
Amazon has issued a statement that admits that there is a lighting issue with its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. Apparently the device has uneven lighting that can create odd gaps at the bottom of the screen. In addition the company pointed out that the device had 2GB of storage, down from 4GB in earlier models and that it does not support text-to-speech or have audio.

Best Buy joins the tablet fray
Best Buy has developed the Insignia Flex, but has not really provided too many details on the device. It has a dual core 1GHz processor, a 9.7-inch form factor and will run the Android 4.0 operating system. However so far other details such as storage, camera and price are still lacking.

10 Million iPads on the horizon?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple as ordered sufficient components to build 10 million of the next generation iPads, showing the strength of demand that the company expects for the tablet that is expected to be released later this month. The paper said that the number is roughly double what Amazon placed for Kindle Fire tablets in the same quarter.

Google asks for do-over in patent appeal
After losing to Microsoft two weeks ago Google’s Motorola Mobility group is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing on an appeal that it had before the court once before. The court refused to hear its appeal two weeks ago. The appeal has to do with the courts preliminary injunction against Motorola prohibiting it from enforcing a German court injunctions. According to Foss Patents, the chances of an appeal being hear before the court are approximately 0.25%

Friday Grab Bag: YourSport-The Facebook for Sports? Kindle 4G Gets OK

YourSports: The Facebook for sports?
A new online sports publication is coming into being called YourSports and it is a customizable sports page that is designed to enable fans to get the sports news that they want, including local sports that might be missed by the larger rivals.

While currently in beta it is open to all for the first time to take a look, it claims that it will fill in sports that is not currently handled by its rivals such as ESPN, BleacherReport and others by using social media to help fill in what is not available on broadcast sports while also providing news feeds on your favorite teams.

Amazon gets FCC approval for 4G Kindle

While Amazon announced its 4G Kindle Fire HD tablet last week it was only this month that the company obtained permission from the US Federal Communications Commission to actual sell the high end Kindle Fire HD that has the ability to connect to high speed 4G cellular networks.

The FCC approval is required for any device that has wireless communications to ensure that it does not create interference with other wireless devices. The product has been on preorder and is expected to ship Nov. 20.

Microsoft accuses Motorola of map stealing
As if Apple’s map problems are not enough now Microsoft is claiming that the Android phones from Motorola that use Google Maps, infringe on a mapping patent that Microsoft owns. The patent in question covers a method of obtaining the map from one database, resource information such as Starbucks locations from a second database, and overlaying the two sets of data.

The lawsuit is just one of several that Microsoft has filed in Germany regarding patent issues with the Google-owned Motorola Mobility as Microsoft increases the pressure to get Android phone makers to pay it royalties, according to Computerworld.

The Hank Aaron Award

Time to vote for the Hank Aaron award
While League MVP, Cy Young and other awards seem to always dominate the off season, the Hank Aaron award, for each league’s best all around offensive player, is one award that fans can have an impact in by voting.

The fans, along with an all-star panel that includes Aaron, ony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, and Robin Yount will vote on which of a slate of players is the best in each league. Voting closes Oct 16.

Lenovo now top PC maker
Market research firm Gartner has found that Hewlett-Packard has been unseated as top PC seller worldwide by Lenovo. HP, the top gun in this space for the past six years owned a 15.5% share of the market while Lenovo grew to 15.7% of the market.

This comes at a time when overall PC sales are declining. Gartner reported that in the third quarter of this year sales fell 8%, but it looks like some of that decline is simply buyers waiting for the Windows 8 release later this month. Dell, Acer and Asus make up the top 5 PC makers.

HTC departs US tablet market
While there is a growing rumble about a host of new tablets expected to be announced in conjunction with the Windows 8 rollout by Microsoft later this month, HTC is jumping off the bandwagon just as others are jumping onto it.

The company has announced that it is dropping its HTC Flyer and other tablet products from the US market. It said that the products were at the end of their lifecycle and the company has said it will watch the tablet space but does not want to have an offering that is a “me too” offering.

RoboCup Soccer gets champion robot
Don’t know what RoboCup Soccer is? Well join the club but an interesting piece in Gizmag talks about the state of modern robotics and how a league of five teams competed in the league that uses what it calls TeenSize robots, ones that are three to four feet tall.

They use an open source platform and cost roughly $26,000 apiece. The leagues goal is to develop a team that can beat the human champions, by 2050 that is.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: New Tablets from Google, Acer

The latest rumor, about Google anyway, is that it is preparing to release another member of its Nexus 7 tablet family. The latest is expected to have 32GB of storage, a big leap up from the 16GB that is the current maximum storage available for users. For those looking to mark their calendar the rumor mill says it will be Oct. 24.

AT&T is planning on selling Windows 8 tablets
AT&T has announced that it will be offering a pair of tablets that will be running on the soon to be announced Windows 8 operating system. The company will offer the Asus VivoTab RT, a tablet that will be able to handle 4G LTE cellular communications. The second tablet will be the Samsung ATIV SmartPC, a system that has a removable keyboard and can be configured as either a clamshell notebook or a tablet.

AT&T is also venturing into selling antivirus by offering an app and a service that will work to keep smartphones free from infection. While AT&T Mobile Security is now only offered to businesses it has plans for a consumers offering as well.

Motorola wins one in Germany against Microsoft
The Mannheim Regional Court has ruled that Motorola Mobility did not violate a Microsoft patent on a “method and radio interface layer comprising a set of application programming interfaces (APIs).” The court gave no reason for its ruling and Microsoft is expected to appeal. This is only one of the issues that the two are fighting about in court.

Oracle readies for next round in fight with Google
Oracle has appealed the Google case, the one where the jury found that code in the Android operating system was not stolen, as Oracle had claimed. The case dealt with both patent and copyright infringement and while the jury found very minor infractions the court did not award anything to Oracle.

Acer’s Iconia W700 Tablet to cost $799
We have been a bit lax on reporting on the upcoming AcerW700 Iconia tablet so here is a quick snapshot. The Tablet will be released on Oct. 26 as part of Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch. With an expected $799 price tag it will feature an 11.6-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The tablet will include a Bluetooth keyboard, a choice of Intel processors including a Core i5 chip and will have 64GB or 128 GB of solid state storage.

Alcatel joins tablet space
Speaking of tablets it looks like communications player Alcatel has developed a 7-inch tablet that will compete with the likes of Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire families. The One Touch T10 Android tablet looks like it is designed for budget users and will include a 800 x 480 display and 4GB of flash storage.

MobileCon 2012 is this week
For the mobile minded the show formerly known as Fall CTIA has been renamed to MobileCon 2012 and will start Oct. 9 and run until Oct. 12 in San Diego. It should be good for some interesting handset offerings as well as most likely a host of product leaks.

One reason there might not be quite as many new products as expected is because just a short time later, on Oct. 29 to be exact, Microsoft will be officially launching its Windows 8 phone platform, a few days after it introduces Windows 8 for tablets.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Cheap Google Tablet? Apple Map ills

The latest rumor on new tablets comes from the partnership of Google and Asus, which just recently introduced the popular Nexus 7 tablet. Now it is being reported by Digitimes that the t

wo may be looking to break new price point barriers with a $100 offering.

With new Nooks from Barnes & Noble, Kindles from Amazon and systems pending from a host of other OEMs over the next few weeks the competition is getting much stiffer as customers are now being presented with more viable options to Apple’s iPad. It will be interesting to see if this pans out. Others are already claiming that the rumor is false.

Fallout from Apple Maps continues
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized to customers about the poor shape that Apple’s maps is in. The app, which replaced the popular Google Maps, has some glaring flaws like eliminating landmarks and moving roads.

Cook said that the company was very sorry for the frustration that it caused its customers and he even went so far as to recommend 5 apps that might do as a replacement to Apple’s offering. Speaking of Apple the iPad 3 (not iPad Mini) rumors have started- stay tuned for a growing wave of them as others launch their latest tablets.

Google loses appeal on patent enforcement
Google has been barred from enforcing a German court ruling against Microsoft that would have led to the banning of select Microsoft products on Germany. The ruling came from the US Court of Appeals and it upheld a lower court decision that prevented Motorola from enforcing the ban.

Foss Patents appears to see this as a positive move in getting Google to start licensing its patents on a FRAND basis.

FCC OKs wireless auction
There may soon be more bandwidth available for wireless use as the Federal Communications Commission has given approval to the auction by television broadcasters of bandwidth that they no longer need.

The expected bidders will use the bandwidth to meet expanding cellular and wireless Internet usage. The FCC is still working out the details of the auctions, according to the New York Times.

Nokia signs mapping deal with Oracle
Nokia will now be providing mapping software to Oracle, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The deal is expected to be announced today at OracleWorld and will allow Oracle’s application users to integrate mapping capabilities.

Android and iOS market shares grow
Android and iOS grew market share during the summer according to a report from market analytics firm comScore. The study, which tracked the operating systems from May to July show that Android represents 52.2% of the US market while Apple’s iOS is now 33.4% of the market. It looks like the Apple win over Samsung might have had an impact as Samsung had stagnant growth, losing 0.3% of its hardware sales.