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: 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.

Friday Grab Bag: Unhappy iPad Users? Is Facebook Home Dead Already?

Will Microsoft buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook Business?
The rumor has once again emerged that Microsoft is looking at buying Barnes & Noble’s Nook business unit, a unit that Microsoft has already invested $300 million. TechCrunch is now reporting that it has internal documents that show that indeed the software giant is pondering such a move.

The cost is approximately $1 billion, which would also include Nook Media and related digital business operations. The documents show that Barnes & Noble is considering discontinuing its Android-based tablets next year.

Apple Patents invisible buttons
As smartphone users seemingly are demanding additional functionality with each new release of their favorite handset product designers are faced with the classic issue of form or functionality. Now Apple has patented a technology that seems to solve the issue by enabling fully functioning buttons and sliders that are not visible.

If you are wondering how you would use invisible items, they are not always hidden from the eye, but would appear when you motion towards them, according to a piece on them in Geek Newsletter.

Is Facebook’s Home burning down?
A few weeks ago amid a great deal of hype Facebook offered its latest and greatest mobile offering, Facebook Home. If you missed the announcement it was the debut of a smartphone, and a related app for owners of alternative Android devices, which made Facebook your smartphone start screen.

The HTC First was the first smartphone to come with the technology as standard and it was available from AT&T for $99. It has been apparently been met by a universal shrug of the shoulders by users, which had led AT&T to drop the price of the phone a bit, to 99 cents! Salon gives a good look at how far and fast this technology has dropped.

Amazon to offer smartphone with 3D display?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting (via C/Net) that Amazon is working on a pair of smartphones and that one of the two will have a 3D capability that will enable hologram like images. However the article made clear that the smartphones might never see the loght of day.

Amazon is increasingly delving into the hardware space starting with its popular Kindle tablet. While the rest is rumor, so far, it sounds like a set top box and the aforementioned smartphones are also in the works.

Google Glass takes another hit.
In case you missed the send up on Saturday Night Live you can look here but real world resistance to Google Glass technology is also continuing to rise. A nice piece in the New York Times outlines some of the major Pros and Cons of the technology.

We have always wondered how Las Vegas would deal with the glasses, and the NYT is of the opinion they will be banned, an opinion backed by Caesars Entertainment statement that they would be prohibited. However it is estimated that the glasses could generate upwards to $#500 billion for Google.

Bill Gates chimes in on iPad
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates recently spoke with CNBC and said that iPad users are frustrated with the lack of keyboard and because there is no Microsoft Office app for that platform that they will migrate to PC Tablets.

As can be noted in the Guardian’s coverage of his statements so Apple has sold an estimated 141 million iPads to unhappy users while the happy Microsoft Surface users have already swarmed the stores for an estimated 2 million units. Of course the Surface is still relatively new so we will see what the future brings.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Microsoft Phone Issues

A week after Apple settled its patent dispute with HTC it looks like another of its long-running patent battles may be coming closer to a solution. Bloomberg has reported that Apple is now interested in settling its disputes with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit via arbitration.

The effort could lead to the elimination of all of their legal wrangling that is now taking place in courts around the globe. The two have been exchanging proposals for using binding arbitration to settle the problems, it was reported.

Samsung seeks Apple/HTC info
Not all good things have sprung from last week’s patent deal between Apple and HTC. Samsung, still involved in some bitter patent disputes globally with Apple is now seeking to have the courts provide it with the details of the Apple/HTC deal.

Samsung is arguing that the deal shows that Apple is quite willing to forgo the exclusivity that its designs provide if it receives cash in exchange, according to a piece in Computerworld. In related news about the ongoing Apple/Samsung lawsuits the U.S. District judge who presided over Apple’s huge victory over Samsung is expected to rule in December on Apple’s request for a permanent ban on select Samsung products.

Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle HD ships early, New Nexus 7 also available
Amazon is set to please the advance buyers of its Kindle HD by shipping the tablet five days earlier than expected. However the joy could be short lived as it looks as if demand has outstripped supplies and the next batch of the tablets will not ship until early December.

The Nexus Seven with 3G also now available and Google is telling customers that it will be three to five business days to receive the tablet.

Windows phone from Microsoft on the way?
The rumor drumbeat continues to grow that Microsoft has another hardware product in the works and that it will be a smartphone for Windows 8. Not sure if it is just one rumor that continually gets picked up and forwarded or if there are a number of independent sources reporting this but it does make sense. It is already competing with its hardware OEMs in the tablet space, why not in the smartphone space as well?

However all is not good with Windows 8 OS
Slash Gear is reporting that users of Windows 8 Phone are reporting a variety of battery and other issues with phones running the operating system. Among the issues are the phones just randomly rebooting while being used. Also poor battery life has been reported on a forum called WPCentral.

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.

Microsoft Moves Windows 8 into Smartphone Territory

Microsoft continued its move into a more digital, mobile software provider today with the debut of its Windows Phone 8 smartphone operating systems, offering a very much revamped OS along with a number of its partners’ latest offerings.

Microsoft is looking to leverage changes it has made in its operating system , with its Windows 8 OS introduced just last week, and will now be providing a similar look and feel with the same technology core used in both platforms.

The look and feel of the OS appears to be very different from what is offered from its rivals- no static icons but rather what Microsoft is calling Live Tiles, a technology that has the apps that you use in a tile format.

The nice thing about Live Tiles is that a user can customize the startup page and place the apps and functions that they want right there, rather than being stuck with a large number of predetermined apps.

A key attribute of many of the apps is that they are live, that when you look at the phone or start it up an app such as Facebook will be up to date, even if it is still in lock screen mode.. They are also sizable with three formats and you are provided with 20 options for colors.

Microsoft has also been working on developing a much healthier app ecosystem, an area that it has received criticism in the past. Its Windows Phone Store now has 120,000 apps including most of the top rated. In the future it will have Pandora, the leading Internet radio service, in early 2013 with one year of ad-free music.

There is a feature called Data Sense that helps prevent you from going over your data plan by automating and in some cases delaying tasks. It can compress images, or defer tasks until free Wi-Fi is available. It can monitor how much data apps use and inform you when you are nearing the limit. This is used in conjunction with carriers and Verizon is expected to be the first to support it.

One clever piece of software is it’s “Kid’s Corner” an app that enables children to play games on the phone without deleting information, ordering apps or calling Peru.

Along with the Windows Phone 8 OS, Microsoft had a trio of partners delivering new phones. There will be several options available from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, that will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world.

The move comes just hours after Google announced an update to Android, now at 4.2, along with a new Nexus phone and a revamped Nexus 7 and a new Nexus 1 tablet. Apple had a new iPhone out a few weeks back and a new iPad Mini last week.

I think that, depending on real world performance when the phones are available, Microsoft has a strong story simply because all of its products- PC OS, tablet OS and smartphone OS are compatible with each other and using Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service a user can start projects on one device and finish them seamlessly on another- a compelling usage model IMHO.