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.

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 Friday Grab Bag: 3D at MLB Playoffs — New Galaxy Note Coming

Is Google adding ads to Maps?
WebProNews is reporting that Google appears to be preparing to monetize its Maps app. The company has applied for a patent for Online Map Advertising. It looks as if this will allow the company to insert ads directly into the maps that you are viewing.

However on the plus side it looks like it might just be targeted at third party sites that use the maps as part of an effort to show people where their place of business is and they might include an ad in the space.

Also Google has said that contrary to rumors it has not submitted a new maps app to Apple for approval in its App Store. However the company is not ruling out doing so in the future.

Did the Lingerie Football League help settle NFL Ref strike?
Seattle fans are pointing to the team’s last second, replacement referee assisted, win over Green Bay as the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced the NFL to settle with the regular referees, who will be manning the field this weekend.

However a funny piece in Deadspin about the officials from the Lingerie Football League notes that it has a tougher standard for its referees that the NFL did for its replacements. The logic behind this was that apparently the LFL fired some refs for incompetence and they ended up doing NFL games as replacements. True or not it is pretty funny.

Are HTC and Nokia the next patent litigants’?
DigiTimes is reporting that Nokia and HTC may be about to meet each other in a court over potential patent issues. The problem appears to be that the Windows Phone 8 that each company has released bears a great deal of similarity to the one its rival introduced.

The article states that Nokia has already lodged a complaint with HTC over the belief that HTC has copied the design of Nokia’s Lumina 820 for HTC’s Windows Phone 8x offering.

Toys “R” Us sued over tablet

The battle for tablet supremacy has apparently spilled over into the toy aisle as Fuhu is suing Toys “R” Us for coping Fuhu’s Nabi tablet and using the technology in the recently released Tabeo. The suit claims that the two companies also had a deal signed in October 2011 under which Toys “R” Us had agreed to distribute the Nabi and to promote the product.

Fuhu is claiming that the product was not adequately advertised or promoted and that Toys “R” Us deliberately tanked the product in favor of its own Mateo that was then under development.

MySpace trying for resurgence
An interesting piece in Gizmag reports that MySpace, once the power in social media but a backwater since the emergence of Facebook a few years back, is currently undergoing a major redesign and I seeking to reestablish itself.

The site will have a much more visual look from the previews shown and it will have a new interface, in part influenced by the emergence of tablets. One interesting feature will be your ability to import all of your Facebook contacts.

Samsung’s next generation Galaxy Note out next month?
There is going to be a major Samsung event in New York on Oct. 24th, according to a press release that Samsung Mobile has sent out to the press. While the company has been mum on what it will be unveiling at the event, the rumor mill seems to think that it knows.

The answer is the next generation Samsung Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 2. The hybrid smartphone tablet has already been unveiled in South Korea and has been expected to be released in the States soon.

TBS to add 3D imagery to baseball playoffs
TBS has said that it will be adding “3D hologram imagery’ to its playoff broadcasts this fall. It will use the technology to illustrate different pitch grips and to show how the pitch will work. It will also be used to show pressure points, release points and ball rotation.

I guess using real live pitchers to show the same thing would be too complicated. While I think that this could be interesting I also am afraid that it will cause the station to miss a number of live pitches. The channel will also be tripling the number of super slo motion cameras that it uses compared to a regular season game.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: New Kindles this Week?

It is sounding like Intel is finally landing a major, known customer for its microprocessors targeted at the smartphone space. It is being reported that Motorola Mobility and Intel will be making a joint announcement on Sept. 18.

Actually it had already been announced that they were working together but now we finally get to see the fruits of their joint labor. According to PhoneArena the companies are now starting to send out invites for the event.

Amazon to dump Google Maps
It looks like competition in the tablet business has lost Google another customer for its popular maps program. Apple has already shown that it will not be including Google Maps as a standard feature in its next generation iOS and now Amazon is following its example.

According to a report in Rueters Amazon will instead be using technology from Nokia Oyj as the mapping technology of choice in its next generation Kindle Fore, a device that could be available as early as the end of this week.

Sony launches upgraded tablet
Missed amid preparations for Labor Day last week was news that Sony upgraded its tablets and has rebranded them under the Experia name, the same as it uses for its smartphones. The company also recently showed a trio of Experia smartphones including the Experia T with a 4.6-inch display.

Delays on iPhone 5 due to lack of screens?
The Wall Street Journal via Electronista is reporting that Sharp, one of three display manufacturers tapped to provide displays for Apple’s next generation iPhone has been experiencing manufacturing issues.

This is not the first time that Sharp has had issues deploying next-generation technology, and it has hurt the company at its bottom line as its recent $1.2 billion loss testifies to. The lack of these displays could lead to a constrained supply of the phone when it is released.

Apple and Samsung agree on something
Apple and Samsung have agreed that any payment or bond that Samsung may need to make can be put off for at least a few months according to Foss Patents. It seems that since Apple buys significantly more than the amount of the fine from Samsung on a regular basis it sees no reason to burden its partners.

The author speculated that the issue also was influenced by the fact that with cases pending against each other in 10 countries it makes sense to waive posting bonds rather than being forced to do so in a variety of jurisdictions.

While the two are agreeing on some things at the same time Apple is seeking to add both the popular Samsung Galaxy SIII and the Galaxy Note to the list of eight other devices that it is seeking to have banned from import and sale in the United States.

Apple and Google in Patent talks
In some of the least secret talks in recent years, if true, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Google’s CEO Larry Page are having talks about how to settle the patent disputes that have been an ongoing bone of contention between the two companies, and in Google’s place the licensees of its Android operating system.

While neither side is admitting to the talks it has been reported by multiple sources that they talked via phone last week and have additional talks scheduled. It has been viewed that Samsung, Motorola Mobility and HTC, all of whom are fighting Apple in a variety of courts around the globe are simply serving as Google’s proxies in the battle.

Amazon to double its fun with two new Kindle Fire tablets
There have been reports for weeks that Amazon planned to beat Apple to the punch by delivering a next generation Kindle Fore prior to Apple’s expected release of a 7-inch iPad, commonly called the iPad Mini. Now reports are emerging that Amazon will release two new Kindles, and possibly by Friday this week.

Cnet is saying that the company will have a pair of 7-inch Kindles available on Sept 6th, and that contrary to some earlier reports Amazon will not be going with a 10-inch model to take on Apple and others in the larger screen format space.


Samsung is Back with Galaxy Note II Phablet (Phone/Tablet)

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Samsung is back with its latest tablet the Galaxy Note 2, or to be exact, a hybrid device that is both a phone and a tablet featuring a 5.5-inch screen and all of the functionality of a smartphone. It was one of many announcements the company made at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

The release comes less than a week after Samsung lost its court case vs Apple is US District Court, a lose that could result in fines as large as $3 billion and cause the company to have as many as eight smartphones banned in the US. The court has said that it will hear Apple’s request for a permanent injunction for select Samsung smartphones on Dec 6.

The latest Galaxy Note has a slightly larger screen, 5.5-inches as compared to 5.3-inches, compared to its predecessor. It has been reported that it is Sa

msung’s second most popular smartphone after its Galaxy S lineup. The first generation Note was released last October and sold $10 million units, according to the company.

The device, often called a phablet due to its hybrid nature will feature the larger display that has 1280 x 720 resolution, which is also slightly thinner that the previous version. In addition it will feature a quad core 1.6GHz processor and an 8 MP camera, includes the Android Jelly Bean operating system and it uses a stylus. It has 2GB RAM, and is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage versions.

There is competition in the phablet space with the LG Optimus VU and an expected one from HTC, the 6435LVW and considering the success that Samsung had with its first generation I would not be surprised to see more players join the field. I was very skeptical about them but I think that the customers that have purchased them simply envision them for uses in ways that I did not. Others also see the potential as market research firm AMI Research has predicted that annual sales for phablets will reach 208 million units globally by 2015


Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Olympics a Big Win for NBC

The Pew Research Center has done a study on the Summer Olympics in London and U.S. viewership and the numbers are truly amazing, and must make the bean counters at NBC very happy indeed since it invested $1.12 billion for the broadcast rights.

According to the report 78% of Americans were watching the game either on broadcast television, online or on social media. TV is head and shoulders above any other option as the most popular viewing medium with 73% watching the big screen.

The approval ratings are very high as well, with 76% giving the broadcasts either an excellent (29%) or good rating (47%) with 13% said it was fair and 5% said it was poor. Looks like the “vocal minority” (as NBC execs called them) criticizing the games and the broadcast schedules on Twitter didn't keep their friends from watching.

Google gets $22.5 million fine over privacy breakdown
The Federal Trade Commission has come down hard on Internet search giant Google, hitting the company with a $22.5 million fine, the largest ever from the FTC, for its manipulation of Apple’s Safari browser.

Google has developed a method for tracking people Safari users and gather data on their activities, even though the company had promised not to do anything along this line. The move violated Google’s settlement with the FTC on a different issue, it concluded.

I wonder how this will impact Google’s current testing of using information garnered from users’ gmails to help come up with search results. I know that if this becomes a mainstream feature I am off gmail.

Nokia sheds app unit- puts more eggs in Microsoft’s basket

Nokia is parting way with its QT app tools unit, agreeing to sell the unit to Digia Oyj, Bloomberg reported. Nokia purchased the tool company back in 2008 when it needed its expertise to help create apps for two operating systems that Nokia owned at that time — MeeGo and Symbian.

It has since curtailed those operating system efforts and has been focusing on delivering phones that run on Microsoft’s operating systems. With that in mind it can now leverage the ecosystem that Microsoft is growing in terms of app development without a self funded effort.

Android and iOS dominate smartphone OS
The latest report from market research firm International Data Corp. s

hows that between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system the two own 85% of the smartphone OS market. I don’t think that this comes as much of a surprise to anyone, but it is great to see hard numbers on the issue.

Overall in the second quarter of 2012 IDC found that Android phones had 104.8 million units shipped good for a 68.1% market share while Apple’s iOS had 26 million iOS products shipped, good for a 16.9% share. Samsung appears to be the big winner, accounting for 44% of all Android phones in the second quarter of this year. BlackBerry came in third at 7.4 million units and a 4.8% market share.

Facebook settles privacy issue with FTC
The Federal Trade Commission has reached a final settlement with Facebook over what users’ personal data Facebook can expose. The company will now need an explicit ‘opt in’ from the user before it can change the types of information that it will make public. Facebook will also face an audit every other year for the next 20 years to ensure compliance.

Apple vs. Samsung Week 2
Nothing earth shattering has come out of this lingering case. It looks like an iPhone, it does not look like an iPhone. Does Samsung’s products confuse consumers or are they already confused? One interesting piece of information was the total iPhone sales in the platforms five years of existence. In the US market the company has sold 85 million iPhones, good for a hefty $50 million. It sold 34 million iPads in the US market in the last two years, good for $19 billion in revenue. It appears Apple warned Samsung in 2010 that it believed that Samsung was infringing on Apple patents and that it wanted between $30-$40 per device in licensing fees.

Smartphones pay off for Microsoft, just not how you would expect
Microsoft is still seeking to establish a major presence in the smartphone space, trailing Android, iOS and even Symbian-based devices, but if a report from Trefis is correct, it still rakes in the big dollars in the smartphone market.

The reason is patents, and some of the most successful players in the smartphone space including Samsung and HTC, pay Microsoft a bundle in royalty payments each quarter. According to a piece in Yahoo news, Microsoft made approximately $792 million in the second quarter of 2012 just from the two companies mentioned.