Friday Grab Bag- MLB.TV at a Discount!

The Fall Classic is coming into sight and if your team is looking to make the playoffs (mine is not) then you might want to consider this offer from MLB. It is offering its TV package, MLB.TV, for $19.99. Subscribers can watch games not just on a TV but also laptops, iPhones and iPads as well as the Xbox 360.

Motorola to Xoom no more
If you have a Motorola Xoom tablet it might be a collectors’ item. No the company is not phasing it out, but it has settled a trademark dispute with Xoom Corp. that spells the end Motorola using that name for its tablet.

Xoom Corp., an online payment company, convinced Motorola that it infringed on Xoom’s trademarks when it released the Xoom tablet, so expect Motorola’s next generation tablet to carry a different name.

Facebook’s CEO Seeks Expanded Mobile Internet Access
Mark Zuckerberg has a tech alliance called that will seek to expand the availability to billions around the globe that currently have no method of getting online. He called the effort “the greatest challenge of our generation.”

Members include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm and Opera. Rival Google, which is working on its own solution to this issue, is not a member nor is Intel which has also been active in this area.

Apple to refresh both iPad and iPhone at same time?
Rumors have been going around that Apple would refresh one then wait a few weeks and refresh the other but now they are reporting that both will be done at an event that Apple is expected to host on Sept. 10.

Bloomberg has reported that Apple will release on that date, which interestingly is after several rivals such as Samsung and Sony plan to also release new offerings. Samsung is expected to do Apple one better and debut its smartwatch as well.

Intel preps next generation tablet processor

Intel often has interesting names for its processors and the next two coming down the pipe, Cherry Trail and Willow Trail are expected to be much faster processors than the current Silvermont family which is just now coming on line.

Cherry Trail is expected to hit the market in the third quarter of 2014 while Willow Trail will follow the next quarter, according to a report from Tech Radar.

Details of Archos tablet revealed in FCC filing
Slash Gear is reporting details of an upcoming tablet from Archos that is expected to be called the Archos 101 XS 2, which the company is expected to unveil next month at the IFA show. The tablet will feature 1GB RAM, a 10.1-inch display, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for additional capacity.

Friday Grab Bag: FIFA World Cup Tiff and will Loon Fly?

Microsoft is looking at educational institutions in an effort to jump start sales, or at least adoption, of its Surface RT tablets. According to the company has started a policy of steep discounts to schools in an effort to push that platform’s acceptance.

How steep you ask? The tablet is available to schools and universities from now until August 31st starting at $199 for the 32GB model. Or you can go to the Microsoft store and buy the same model for $499. Such a deal.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 cheap in bundle deal
If you are in the market for both the LTE-capable version of the tablet and a smartphone then Samsung might have just what you need. It has teamed with AT&T to bundle its Galaxy Note 8 tablet for $199 when coupled with a new activation of select Samsung smartphones.

The tablet, normally $399, has Samsung technology designed to ensure its safe adoption in the business as well as the more traditional consumer friendly apps that are more commonly associated with tablets.

It is World Cup disqualifier time
At this time of year nations are putting their best foot forward in an attempt to qualify for next year’s World Cup, which will be held in Brazil. Along the qualifying route there are always a few feel good stories about nations that qualify — this is not one of them.

FIFA has just launched an investigation into player eligibility regarding athletes on both the Ethiopian and Tunisian teams, both of which had just advanced to the final round of the African World Cup according to the BBC. Sanctions will be forfeiting the match that the players participated in, if found guilty.

Google up in the air with Loon
Google is seeking to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity to the large portion of the world that is currently without by using a series of high altitude balloons that will have the ability to bounce Internet signals to each other and support users on the ground.

The company will be releasing 30 balloons in all, all over New Zealand’s South Island in an effort called Project Loon. Each balloon will rise to the stratosphere and be controlled to stay in the same spot. The initial effort will only provide Internet access with speeds that approximate 3G to roughly 60 people.

Sony Xperia Z finds a home
Sony released the Xperia Z a few months ago but if you rushed down to the local consumer electronics store to sign up for the smartphone and start enjoying all that it has to give you would have come home upset because it was not initially supported by any of the carriers. Well that has all changed.

According to Slashgear, you will now be able to get your hands on one courtesy of your friends at T-Mobile. However before you head on down, no delivery date has yet been announced.

FCC provides peek at next-gen Nexus 7
The FCC, via TechRadar, has published what looks like the features of the next generation Google Nexus 7 tablet, which appears to be manufactured by Asus, with a 1080p display.

Other features will include 2GB of memory, a switch from an Nvidia processor to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro as well as a move to a 5 megapixel camera rather than the 1.5MP in the older edition. Also included will be NFC, LTE and wireless charging.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Apple Patent News

Google Ventures, the investment arm of Google has received an additional $100 million in funds to invest in startups. The group had been budgeted to invest $200 million in past years but that number has been bumped up to $300 million according to Tom’s Hardware.

Apple loses latest round in patent fight with Google/Motorola
Apple has lost an important ruling last week when a Federal Judge threw out its lawsuit against Motorola Mobility over patent licensing practices. The suit claimed that using 2.25% of the selling price of the item was too high, but the judge dismissed it without comment.

However, according to Wired, the Federal Trade Commission has recommended that the U.S. Justice Department pursue an antitrust investigation into Motorola Mobility in order to determine if it reasonably offered licensing of its industry-standard technology or used that licensing to block rival hardware from competitors Apple and Microsoft.

Speaking of Microsoft and Motorola
The two have also been fighting over the 2.25% per device issue and Microsoft wants to look at the FRAND pricing based on previous pricing. According to Microsoft it should pay somewhere in the vicinity of around $1.2 million a year for rights to use the patents that are in dispute, while of course Motorola thinks that its number, which would result in a significantly higher return, is just fine.

A look at Huawei’s MediaPad 10 FHD tablet
Huawei, as has already been reported, is entering the 10-inch Android driven tablet space with its MediaPad 10 FHD offering. The tablet features a display with 1920 x 1200 resolution, a Huawei-built quad core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 processor and will be available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions. For more details head over to Slash Gear.

Apple and HTC bury the patent hatchet
In one of the rare the resolutions in the patent wars that looks like it will be final, Apple and rival smartphone maker HTC have settled all of their outstanding patent disputes globally. The resolution includes a ten year cross patent licensing agreement. Any other terms of the arraignment were not disclosed. They originally tussled in court on the patent issue in 2010 when Apple filed a patent infringement case against HTC with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

iPad Mini component costs pegged at $188
Ever wonder how much it costs to make something? Well lucky for you, and the rest of us, a number of companies take the time to break down devices and analyze them, and the latest results are from IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Services.

It found that the iPad Mini, which starts at retail at $329 costs $188 for the bill of materials and an additional $10 to actually build for a model that features just Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. The single most expensive component is the tablet’s 7.1-inch display at $80.

Apple to drop Intel chips?
Stop me if you have heard this one before but the rumor that is again making the rounds is that Apple will jettison the Intel processors that it now uses in its Macintosh computers in favor of its own developed chips that it currently uses in its iPads. However the reports, apparently started by Bloomberg but picked up elsewhere, are very hazy as to when such a change might occur.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Amazon Kindle Sales Soar after iPad Mini Launch

After Apple‘s executives disparaged rival 7-inch tablet makers, at least one has struck back. If you have visited Amazon’s home page you see a pretty good comparison between the Amazon Kindle HD and the Apple iPad Mini highlighting the advantages the Kindle has over the iPad.

In addition Amazon has announced that sales of the Kindle have spiked upward after Apple introduced the iPad Mini. Is the iPad Mini the hardware version of Apple’s Map apps — a second poorly thought out project that would have benefited from more time?

Apple sales soar also
However the news out of the Apple camp paints a slightly different picture as it has reported that the iPad Mini has almost sold out in pre-order. Mashable is reporting that four of the six Mini iPad SKUs are sold out at the Apple Store, and shipping dates have been pushed back because of the high demand.

It was rumored that Apple made an initial order of 10 million of the tablet devices and so if that is true the company has to be very happy about the results so far.

Samsung also claims sales increase after an Apple event
First high tech companies were planning events to steal a rival’s thunder and now it seems they are releasing press releases that claim that a rival’s new product actually help their sales. Amazon has done it with the iPad Mini (see above) and Samsung also now claims that sales of its Galaxy S3 smartphones took off after the iPhone 5 was announced. Well I guess this is better than a vaporware war.

No Google Android Event today
Google’s planned Android and possibly tablet announcement that was slated for today was rained out due to Hurricane Sandy. The event was planned for today in New York City hours prior to Microsoft’s Windows Phone Event in San Francisco.

That is too bad in one way. There have been a number of rumors and teaser videos that appear to show a 10-inch tablet that has a better screen resolution than Apple’s iPad and I would have been interested to see what they actually had in store. I am sure I will not have to wait long.

Apple working to improve Maps app
Apple has taken a good deal of heat over the quality, or lack thereof, of its new apps program that it is now using rather than Google Maps in the recently released Apple iOS 6.0. The company took time during its recent quarterly report to say that it is working night and day to improve the app and that more changes should be expected soon.

Motorola drops a few charges in Xbox case

In the ever changing set of lawsuits between Microsoft and Motorola you can now subtract a few issues, and amazingly it was not after a ruling by a judge. Motorola has asked the Federal Trade Commission to drop the Wi-Fi related patent infringement claims that involved in its lawsuit with Microsoft. The request does not affect the rest of the issues at play in the two’s global lawsuit battles.

Mobile Sports Report Grab Bag: MLB Man Cave, Red Bull Crash

Last fall ESPN rolled out a new stat that it claimed would be the be-all and end-all in quarterback ratings called the Total Quarterback Ratings or (QBR). The company said that it went much further than other rating systems by adding in such important features as how clutch the performance was.

Now fast forward a year and use of the number has fallen off a cliff at ESPN. A good look at this is provided by The Classical which provides a good overview of the inner workings of how QBR is figured. I guess they can put this next to the last attempt at creating its own stats – Productive Outs in baseball.

Samsung wins another round vs Apple
A Dutch court has ruled that Apple’s multitouch patent was not infringed on by Samsung last week. The Court of The Hague ruled that the patent that describes technology that prevents smartphone users from pushing two on-screen buttons at the same time is not the same as the technology that Samsung does use in its Galaxy products.

As part of the ruling the court has ordered Apple to pay Samsung court costs, which are in excess of $422,000, according to Where this leaves the overall case, with each player winning and losing versions of it around the globe is anybody’s guess.

MLB taking applications for 2013 Fan Cave
If you think that the Fan Cave contest is a waste of time consider the case of Ashley Chavez, Ricardo Marquez and Kyle Thompson who are all at the current World Series and one will be declared Fan Cave Champion.

Sound interesting? Well it is too late for this year obviously but MLB is accepting applications for 2013 to be part of the “Fan Cave.” After the application process is closed there are elimination rounds and then a final lineup of nine fans. Did I mention they also went to the All Star Game this year?

Miscellaneous earnings reports
Earnings reports were in and it was a very mixed bag. HTC reported sales down 23% from previous quarter to $2.4 billion and said that it expects a weaker Q4 at approximately $2bn. Samsung however saw a huge spike in sales of its Galaxy that helped it set a new all time highs in sales and profits, driven by an estimated sale of 56 million smartphones in the quarter. It had net profit of$ 5.9 billion.

Apple reports 24% increase in earnings at $8.2bn and a 27% increase in revenue at $36bn, and disappointed Wall Street. The company said that it shipped 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter and was still heavily backlogged. Amazon when back into the red for the first time in four years when it reported a $274 million loss on sales of $13.81bn. The company took a $169 million write down on its stake in Living Social, a daily deal site.

Cost of Instagram deal drops
When Facebook purchased Instagram for an estimated $1 billion in April quite a few in the market were astounded at the price tag. Now that the dust has settled, and the deal paid for, the price tag has dropped quite a bit.

According to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission Facebook’s final cost for the deal was $715 million that consisted of $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock. The original price was based on Facebook’s estimated $30 per share stock price, pre-IPO.

Looking for a great crash video? Red Bull has the answer
Here is a video taken from the helmet cam of extreme mountain biker Cam Zink taken during an attempt to cross a 68-foot canyon. Guess how he fared.

Is RIM, among others, doomed?
Digi Times is reporting that due to mounting losses Research in Motion may be broken up and sold to other high tech companies. This is not that really surprising if it happens, its management has said in the past that all options are on the board and the company’s losses continue to mount.

What is surprising is that the article goes on to say that both Nokia and Motorola may also be on the chopping block for exactly the same reasons, even though Motorola is now owned by Google. I suspect that Google will want to keep the patents at the very least.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: HP, Lenovo tablet plans, Apple/Samsung go to Jury?

Apple and Samsung met to try and narrow their dispute in the ongoing patent case that is now being heard in a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. At the judge's request the two met but could not come to any resolution in narrowing the scope of the case.

With this failure the case is likely to be handed over to the jury for deliberation this week. Apple wants the ban on Samsung tablets to be continued and that the ban also expend to Samsung’s smartphones, both of which it claims infringe on its patents.

Kodak patent sale gets complicated
Kodak, faced with an industry that does not hold its patents in quite the esteem, or at least the dollar value that it does, is said to be considering keeping the over 1,000 patents that it had put up for auction. Once believed to be worth several billion, bids came in significantly lower than it has expected, in the $150-$250 million range, according to reports.

Another rumor making the rounds is that Apple will team with Google to buy the patents from Kodak. Considering the animosity between the two this seems hard to believe. Both have huge cash reserves and at the current expected cost of the patents it would be no hardship for either to purchase them by themselves.

Google/Motorola seek US iPhone ban
The long running battle between Apple and Google/Motorola has witnessed a new front open as Google is seeking to get a ban on iPhone and iPad devices claiming that they violate select patents that Google owns.

The complaint, filed with the US International Trade Commission, claims that Apple violates seven patents including e-mail notification and location reminders. The two have been fighting in court since licensing talks ended two years ago.

HP to focus on consumer tablets, report said
The Verge has been touting an internal memo it has received that shows that Hewlett-Packard’s future tablet plans will inc

lude a big focus on consumer tablets and the group will be led by former Nokia exec Alberto Torres.

As many remember HP delivered its first tablet last year, the Touch Pad, and then quickly killed it off and the division, only to reignite the effort some months later. The previous tablet was based on technology it gained it its Palm acquisition, the new generation is expected to be based on Microsoft’s Windows 8.

Lenovo believes RT tablets will be a hot item
Lenovo said that the pricing on operating systems will allow hardware OEMs that build tablets using the Windows RT version of Windows 8 to offer significantly less expensive tablets that the OEMs that use the Windows 8 models.

According to Bloomberg the tablets will be $200-$300 less, resulting in RT tablets in the $300-$400 range while the Windows 8 tablets will be in the $600-$700 range. Lenovo has already talked about its Windows 8 tablet here.

LG Optimus Vu headed to stores globally next month
The hybrid tablet/smartphone that LG first showed back in February is expected to reach the market sometime in September. The Optimus Vu will sport a 5-inch display with an Nvidia processor, 32GB of storage and a 5MP camera. Pricing and exact availability are not yet known.

Will verdict in Apple’s favor change market?
The New York Times has a piece that speculates that a victory by Apple in its lawsuit could have one interesting consequence; it could force rival tablet and smartphone makers to truly differentiate their products.

The opposite could also be true if Samsung emerges victorious, with a lot of manufacturers doing Apple knockoffs with no real fear of legal action by Apple. One would hope that developers would try to differentiate on their own, but after looking at vanilla PCs for a decade you know it is not true.