Friday Grab Bag: 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium isn’t a fit for MNF

The San Francisco 49ers will be playing in a brand new stadium next season but no matter how well the team performs on the field it looks unlikely that it will have any home games broadcast for Monday Night Football, at least for the first season.

The soon to be finished facility — in Santa Clara, Calif., well south of the team’s namesake city — does not have enough of its own parking spaces and is planning to use neighboring office lots for its weekend games but these spaces are in use when the fans start to arrive for the games on weekdays. According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News the team isn’t asking for any of the sought-after prime-time MNF games or the Thursday night games until it can figure out how to fit all the fans’ cars in lots jammed by the folks who work in Silicon Valley.

One option the team is now considering is asking its neighbors to change their work hours to accommodate the team. Wonder what Marissa Mayer thinks about that idea?

BlackBerry history
If you are one of the few, the proud, the remaining BlackBerry users this is a pretty interesting read from Bloomberg. It is an oral history of the rise and fall of the BlackBerry, a device that probably did more than any other to kill the pager and usher in the age of smartphones.

Bloomberg conducted dozens of interviews to get a good picture about the rise of the platform and then its sad decline. Interesting to see if any of the current tech behemoths will follow the same path.

Google Glass takes another hit
Google Glass may be banned in another state as Illinois is now considering banning drivers from using the wearable computing devices, joining Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Great Britain as well as sundry businesses and bars.

Mobile Marketer makes a spirited defense of the technology but it seems to me that they missed the point in a few places: they are not the same as a security camera and does anybody honestly believe that having a second image in front of a driver’s eye will make them safer?

A Heisman tale
As the college football season winds down the talk about who deserves the Heisman always starts coming to the forefront. Should they look at more than just offensive players, did so and so’s stats really put him in the race.

Well the Washington Post has taken a different tack and did a very interesting piece on the history of the first 78 trophies, where they are now and how they got there. It’s a fun read.

NBA to embrace its inner geek
Baseball in the last decade or so has undergone a revolution in the way that stats are looked at, with the time honored numbers such as RBIs, Wins and HRs getting re-evaluated in terms of how they relate to the team and individuals performance.

Football is also undergoing that same revolution to a smaller extent and now the NBA has joined the fun with the launch of web page that will feature detailed box scores and video from all of its games.

Super Bowl will be no walk in the park
The rules for parking, tailgating and generally schmoozing at the upcoming Super Bowl in New Jersey are out and it looks like if you are attending you had better leave the house early if you don’t want to miss the game.

No walking through the parking lots, you must either drive or take mass transit, no tailgating or BBQs allowed and a host of other restrictions. Who says that NFL stands for No Fun League?

Short Week Grab Bag: Cheap HP tablet, new hockey TV deal in Canada

Hewlett-Packard has revealed that it will be entering the Black Friday fray with a very enticing offer: a 7-inch HP Mesquite tablet for the low, low price of only $89. The tablet will be available at your local Walmart.

The tablet is one of several that will be on sale that weekend that are powered by Intel’s Medfield family of microprocessors as the chip maker is using the start of the shopping season to start hyping its development partners in the tablet space.

Google Glass user booted from club
Earlier this year a Seattle bar said that it would ban anybody wearing Google’s see all glasses. Well a user of the hands free device has been kicked out of a bar, but not the one that made the original promise.

A user was asked to either remove the glasses or be asked to leave the Lost Lake Café and Lounge and apparently made a scene both at the bar but also online (where else) as he complained about his rights. Not sure where in the U.S. Constitution those rights are covered but I am sure its in there somewhere.

EdgeCast Networks helps Indianapolis Colts reach fans
The team has developed the ability to stream video and live content to fans using pretty much any mobile device using EdgeCast technology as the team seeks to increase traffic to its own web sites and away from third party apps.

Get your Apple rumors here
Now that Apple has filled its backlog of iPhone 5S orders it’s time for the company to start fending off rumors of what will be in its next generation iPhone, probably known as the iPhone 6. Well the International Business Times has done a nice roundup for you.

The release date will be late next year; it will have a larger screen, possibly as large as six inches. The display may be curved or flexible and it will be lighter than existing models. Is weight really an issue with iPhones?

Nokia looking at 8-inch tablet?
Well not really looking at but actually planning on building on for sale, with a possible release date sometime in the first quarter of next year, a follow-up product to its 10-inch Lumina 2520, according to Digitimes.

The piece also said that it expects that LG Electronics and Sony Mobile to stay in the tablet market but that sources are reporting that HTC, Motorola Mobility and BlackBerry may choose to leave and only focus on smartphones.

New hockey broadcast deal in Canada
The NHL has just signed its most comprehensive, and largest financially, broadcast deal for games to be shown in Canada. The deal gives Rogers Communications the broadcast and digital rights to all NHL games.

The 12-year deal cost the cable company $5.2 billion and is viewed as a step by Rogers to drive demand for its subscription based cable networks.

Friday Grab Bag: A look back at ABA, Sculley returning to High Tech?

If you fondly remember red, white and blue basketballs then this is probably great news for you — ESPN Films is going to explore the history of the American Basketball Association in its latest 30 for 30 documentaries.

One of the few leagues that, at least semi-successfully, challenged an incumbent one, the ABA ran from 1967 until it merged with the NBA in 1976. It helped bring a new degree of flash into the NBA with freewheeling players such as Julius Irving.

Android KitKat and Nexus 5 here
The next generation of the Android operating system, code named KitKat and the Nexus 5 smartphone that is the first device to run the new OS are here this week.

CNN Tech has a nice roundup, and points out that LG will be making the phone that is expected to have a 4.95-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and have the latest generation of Gorilla Glass 3 for the front cover. Expect to see a new generation of tablets and phones with the OS in the coming months.

Few tablets have paid cellular
When you look at the price for a tablet you often see two figures: one that lists the Wi-Fi only cost and one for having 3G or 4 LTE cellular as well, which is often at least $100 more. A recent study from theConsumer Electronics Association shows that few use cellular.

The survey found that only 29% of tablet owners buy cellular enabled tablets and of these only 49% buy a data plan. Of those who buy it is almost split evenly between those that buy a separate plan for the tablet and for those who bundle.

CEA to debut WristRevolution at 2014 International CES
With Samsung, Sony, Google and a host of others now chasing the ‘wearable tech’ space the International Consumer Electronics Show will have a section that is devoted to products and technologies coming out for this market segment.

In the past products that perform some of these functions such as health monitors/wrist watches would be found across the huge show floors but now they will be gathered into a single area so that both hardware and software developments can be easily tracked.

First ticket for wearing Google Glass?
Speaking of wearable technology it is being reported that a California driver was ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving. The officer cited a law that starts with “person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying…” They were also speeding.

John Sculley to buy BlackBerry?
Former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley is now being rumored to be in the running to buy the beleaguered smart deceive manufacturer BlackBerry, according to a report carried in the IT Wire, originally from the Globe and Mail.

Sculley is probably best known for pushing out Steve Jobs, one of Apple’s founders and the man that recruited him for the job while at Apple. He has been active in high tech since leaving Apple and is said to be working to bring a group of investors together to buy BlackBerry.

Friday Grab Bag: Tablet Rumors Galore

With Apple, Samsung and others either preparing new tablets Amazon is also preparing a new set of releases.

As it does so it needs to rid itself of older inventory and so has cut the prices on existing models with the current generation Kindle Fire HD now starting at $159.

Samsung Smartwatch due next month?

With the changing of the leaves that herald the coming of fall, also so do the increased number of rumors about hi-tech products that are slated for the back to school market. The latest is that Samsung may beat the field to market with its smartwatch, delivered Sept. 4.

The news comes to us from Asia One, who are forwarding a tip from Sammobile, claim that Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch will make its first public appearance at the Samsung Unpacked Episode 2 event that starts on that day. Stay tuned.

LG Tablet in the works
Speaking of third hand rumors here is a report that a new tablet is about to emerge from LG that will be called the LG G Pad. It is expected to be in a 8.3-inch form factor that will feature a 1920 x 1200 display.

Other supposed details include a quad-core microprocessor, 2GB of memory and that is about it so far. Since no ship date was rumored we may see more details prior to a release.

Fox Sports 1 starts tomorrow
We mentioned it last week but it bears repeating that the latest rival to ESPN, Fox Sports 1, will start Saturday. It is expected to be available in 90 million homes on launch.

A piece at Sports on Earth really told the tale. It does not matter if the channel is more or less intellectual than ESPN, what will determine its success will be the number and quality of its live sports offerings.

Archos GamePad spotted via FCC filing
TechRadar is reporting that Archos looks to be refreshing its GamePad dedicated tablet device with a second generation offering ahead of what looks like a deluge this fall in similar products from a host of rivals.

Its first generation offering came out at the start of the year and now will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support in the latest offering. Expect to see a number of other dedicated pads from the likes of Amazon and others available soon as well.

BlackBerry up for sale?
BlackBerry’s board has formed a special committee that will be tasked with looking at strategic alternatives for the company’s future, including how to boost sales of its flagship Blackberry 10 smartphone.

It will look at the possibility of selling the company or try to enter into strategic partnerships or joint ventures with other companies.

MLB Comes to TiVo-Is there a Player it Does Not support?


One of the advantages of having MLB.TV Premium subscription has always been that you can use a variety of platforms to watch and listen to games, but until MLB added TiVo I never realized how many it actually did support.

TiVo users can now watch MLB games, subject to certain limitations, and the app is designed to take advantage of select features that come with TiVo. MLB integrated TiVo’s standard playback functions into the app, including the ability to pause, fast-forward and rewind or skip game action.

The MLB.TV is set up to deliver game viewing and video stream in a picture-in-graphic (PIG) or an “L bar” window to view the score while watching a game. There are a range of additional features from the relatively mundane ones such as stats and standings, favorite team selection, a choice of home or away broadcasters, and calendar view to one called “Jump to Inning” that permits users to jump back to the beginning of any inning in the game.

The addition of TiVo support is in line with MLB’s approach of delivering its programming and games to its audience in as wide a manner as possible. It has a number of mobile devices supported including Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Then there is the huge number of devices that support Google’s Android operating system and most recently added was support for the BlackBerry Z10.

Now I was aware of all of these but the other, more stationary platforms caught me by a bit of a surprise, although I have watched games on two of the platforms. There is the Sony Playstation 3, Samsung TV and Blu-ray Disc Player, Apple TV, Roku Player and Boxee. Then of course there is also Xbox 360, Sony TV and Blu-ray players and Western Digital TV Live.

It is too bad that other sports do not actively follow the lead of MLB, but I guess that the broadcasting contracts most likely prohibit them from doing so. Fans of many teams, say in football, are constantly subjected to a limited number of teams on national broadcasts, and if you live outside of your teams home base you may only see them once or twice on broadcast TV a season.

Friday Grab Bag: A Wave of Phablets in the Future?

Is Windows 8 driving Mac sales?
You have probably looked at a Surface tablet by now and pondered how the new operating system, Windows 8, actually works, since it is very different than previous incarnations of the OS. Now people are coming out and claiming that the remade operating system is driving customers to rival platforms.

ZDNet is reporting that two of Microsoft’s OEMs have reported that they believe that the new operating system is to blame for the decline in PC sales and that it has actually driven users to buy systems from rival Apple. Microsoft does have a major update to the OS in the works and it will be interesting to see if it is a major update or a turn back the clock move.

Analyst expect lower cost iPhone to sell like hot cakes.
C/Net is reporting that Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray is predicting that a low cost iPhone, widely expected to be available later this year, will cause iPhone sales to explode going forward and into next year.

He predicts the low cost phone will be available in September in the $300 range, unsubsidized, and that while it would cannibalize sales of the higher end, more expensive phones the volume would be worth it. He projects that the company could sell as many as 75 million iPhones in 2014 and start to dominate in the mid-range section of the smartphone market.

Samsung to face increased competition in phablet space

Does BlackBerry have a phablet in the works?

BlackBerry is the latest to have a phablet, which is a smartphone with a large display, rumored to be in the works. The company has been on a more positive road this year with growing acceptance of its BlackBerry 10 and increased sales.

Now analysts expect the company to expand the handset lineup later this year with at least two possible additional models, according to Digital Trends. One of the rumored devices would be a hybrid that would have a 5-inch display while another would be a mid-range version of the existing model.

Nokia also about to toss hat into phablet space?
Nokia is another smartphone developer that is now being reported as preparing to enter the large form factor smartphone space according to Tech Radar via the Financial Times. While the report clams that the forthcoming device will be technically superior to the Samsung Galaxy Note it did not include any features to use for comparison.

Microsoft hints at 7-inch tablet
The rumor mill continues to heat up with reports that Microsoft is planning on a 7-inch tablet later this week. According to Business Insider outgoing Microsoft CFO Peter Klein said that the company has a small touch device that it will be releasing soon. Of course this could be another smartwatch as well, something that the company is also rumored to be working on.