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: 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.

Google Enters Facial Recognition Space with Viewdle Buy


Google’s Motorola Mobility unit has purchased Silicon Valley-based developer Viewdle, a company that creates face detection software for an estimated price of between $35 and $40 million. Gesture and facial recognition appears to be the next technology that smartphones and other device manufacturers will be using as they seek to differentiate themselves as rivals have also been moving down this path.

Viewdle is a cross platform developer that creates applications and software development kits that enable facial and gesture recognition that are optimized for the low power environment of mobile devices. At last year’s CTIA conference the company won the Social Networking/Content/Entertainment category of CTIA’s annual Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards competition.

Viewdle was founded in 2007 and closed an estimated $2 million Series A round of funding backed by Anthem Venture Partners. Iit closed its Series B round of funding in October 2010 after raising $10 million. Investors included Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Qualcomm as well as Series A investor Anthem Venture Partners

In the past few years others have been snapping up developers in this space. Apple reportedly has purchased a developer named Polar Rose, a developer that helps identify users in photos and enables storing images based on their content for an estimated $22 million.

Intel has long been showing that it is working in this area and last year showed that it could perform facial recognition with software running on its systems. If it is internally developed look for smartphones and tablets sing its processors to offer that capability at some time in the future. Earlier this year Facebook entered the fray when it purchased Face.Com for $100m and it was expected at that time that the facial tagging app would find its way into mobile products.

I imagine that it will be some time before we see a Motorola Razr phone that has this capability but it will be interesting to have. This could be a real boon for sports fans that take lots of pictures, say of college baseball players and then forget who they are. Now you phone or camera can tell you.