Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Cheap Google Tablet? Apple Map ills

The latest rumor on new tablets comes from the partnership of Google and Asus, which just recently introduced the popular Nexus 7 tablet. Now it is being reported by Digitimes that the t

wo may be looking to break new price point barriers with a $100 offering.

With new Nooks from Barnes & Noble, Kindles from Amazon and systems pending from a host of other OEMs over the next few weeks the competition is getting much stiffer as customers are now being presented with more viable options to Apple’s iPad. It will be interesting to see if this pans out. Others are already claiming that the rumor is false.

Fallout from Apple Maps continues
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized to customers about the poor shape that Apple’s maps is in. The app, which replaced the popular Google Maps, has some glaring flaws like eliminating landmarks and moving roads.

Cook said that the company was very sorry for the frustration that it caused its customers and he even went so far as to recommend 5 apps that might do as a replacement to Apple’s offering. Speaking of Apple the iPad 3 (not iPad Mini) rumors have started- stay tuned for a growing wave of them as others launch their latest tablets.

Google loses appeal on patent enforcement
Google has been barred from enforcing a German court ruling against Microsoft that would have led to the banning of select Microsoft products on Germany. The ruling came from the US Court of Appeals and it upheld a lower court decision that prevented Motorola from enforcing the ban.

Foss Patents appears to see this as a positive move in getting Google to start licensing its patents on a FRAND basis.

FCC OKs wireless auction
There may soon be more bandwidth available for wireless use as the Federal Communications Commission has given approval to the auction by television broadcasters of bandwidth that they no longer need.

The expected bidders will use the bandwidth to meet expanding cellular and wireless Internet usage. The FCC is still working out the details of the auctions, according to the New York Times.

Nokia signs mapping deal with Oracle
Nokia will now be providing mapping software to Oracle, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The deal is expected to be announced today at OracleWorld and will allow Oracle’s application users to integrate mapping capabilities.

Android and iOS market shares grow
Android and iOS grew market share during the summer according to a report from market analytics firm comScore. The study, which tracked the operating systems from May to July show that Android represents 52.2% of the US market while Apple’s iOS is now 33.4% of the market. It looks like the Apple win over Samsung might have had an impact as Samsung had stagnant growth, losing 0.3% of its hardware sales.

Apple vs Google- This Time for Kodak’s Patents

We here at Mobile Sports Report often talk about the issues related to patents, and all of the lawsuits that have resulted in the current turf wars. The reason is that it can and is having an impact on what types of technology your mobile devices can use and their cost.

The net result of this is the enhance the value of companies, and even ones that are fading away find that in their dusty vaults they might have some that are worth a mint, one such case being Eastman Kodak Co., which recently declared bankruptcy.

Now two groups are bidding for its 1,100 patents, and to the surprise of no one, they have members that have been some of the most aggressive in defending their patents against each other. In one corner we have Apple along with Microsoft, an earlier ally in patent purchasing, and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a patent aggregation firm.

In the other corner is Google, patent aggregation firm RPX Corp and three of Google’s Android smartphone hardware manufacturers, Samsung, HTC and LG Electronics according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal. It is reported that Kodak is seeking $2.6 bn for the patents.

While the Apple and Microsoft team paid $4.5 bn for Nortel patents some time ago, it is questionable if Kodak’s will go for any such sky high figure due to some disputes over the validity of some of its patents, yet the importance of owning patents seems to have never been more important in high tech.

The Apple vs Samsung lawsuit that opened in San Jose yesterday is an example of how potentially important the patents are as Apple is claiming billons in damages from Samsung infringing on its patents. There were dozens of articles on the start of the case yesterday and at least one paper was live blogging the case, starting with jury selection.

But there are plenty of other examples, the Oracle vs Google case that was at one time expected to bring billions to Oracle and Motorola winning some against Microsoft and potentially banning the Xbox and asking for sizable compensation is another case in point. All of these costs will get passed on to the consumers at some point.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Top 5 Tablets, Nexus Components Breakdown = $184

Google is now asking for $4 million from Oracle to cover Google’s legal expenses it incurred during its recent copyright and patent infringement battle. According to a piece in Wired, Google claims that since it prevailed on the majority of issues it is entitled to recovery costs.

It has not made public an individual breakdown of the bill but it includes $2.9 million for the copying and organization of the 97 million documents used in the case. Oracle has already said that it will appeal the case.

Google Nexus component costs = $184
A teardown on the recently announced Google Nexus 7 appears to show that the company is basically selling the device at cost, something that is also believed to be true of its rival Amazon’s Kindle Fire. According to research done by Tech Insights a list of the components are available.

From the list it appears that a $199 version of the device would have a cost of $184, leaving the company a whopping $15 profit, as long as there was no shipping and handling charges for it. It looks like the razor/razor blade model is alive and well.

Top 5 Tablet companies
Google entered the tablet space to a great deal of fanfare last month when it introduced its Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet that is being manufactured by AsusTek. Yet as even the most casual observer notes, Apple continues to dominate this space and new players are expected to enter with the expected onslaught on Windows 8-powered tablets including Microsoft’s Surface tablet will also be available, greatly increasing the level of competition in this space.

According to market research firm HIS iSuppli, as reported by the Ventura County Star, last year Apple owned 62% of the market with 40.5 million iPads sold.
2) Samsung 9% 6.1 million Galaxy’s sold
3) Amazon 6% 3.9 million Kindles
4) Barnes & Noble 5% 3.3 million Nooks
5) AsusTek 3% 2.1 million Transformers
• Other, 9.4 million, 14 percent

Samsung to offer Windows RT Tablet in fall?
Samsung is reportedly preparing a tablet that will run Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows RT software, a version of Windows 8 that is designed to operate on devices powered by the ARM processors that current dominate in the Android space.

Samsung had previously said that it would support the Windows 8 Pro that is designed to run on chips from Intel and AMD. Rival Hewlett-Packard has said that it will support Windows 8 Pro but was unclear if and when it would also support RT.

Facebook in new mobile ad push
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Facebook is addressing one of its perceived weaknesses, the lack of mobile revenue, with an advertising push that will be based on tracking which apps are used on phones.

This will not be all apps, just those that are used through its Facebook Connect feature, and then it will produce ads based on that usage. Apple and Google currently track what apps users have downloaded, and Apple targets them with specific ads while Google currently does not, the piece said.

Facebook and Yahoo kiss and make up on patents
In a move that stands out because it is so rare, Facebook and Yahoo have come to an agreement on patent infringement issues that had lead to the filing of lawsuits against each other. Rather than see the issue through the long and costly court system the two settled all patent issues between themselves.

In addition the two have launched a new advertising partnership and extended and expanded an existing distribution agreement between the two companies. As part of the advertising agreement their will work to get ads that run on both sites and work to integrate the two sites.

Leading Judge blasts US Patent system
On the flip side of the Facebook/Yahoo agreement is the Apple vs. Motorola Mobility lawsuits. U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner, the man who threw out the case between the two has said that the patent system resembles a jungle were rivals seek to wound foes by any means necessary.

Posner questioned whether patents should cover software in high tech and said that while it made sense to give intellectual property protection in some areas such as pharmaceuticals due to the huge investments, he wondered if that was true in other markets.

Samsung wins temporary stay on Galaxy Nexus ban
The US Court of Appeals has granted a temporary stay on the injunction that prevented Samsung from selling its popular Galaxy smartphones. Apple now has until July 12 to respond to the motion to stay, according to Foss Patents.

After Apple responds the court will then decide on a stay for the entire time that it takes fro Samsung’s formal appeal to be heard. Samsung had apparently lost its last 5 attempts to win a stay in this case, according to Foss.

Friday Grab Bag: X Games Coming, Soccer Corruption in China, Bike Lojack

ESPN’s annual summer X Games will begin next week on June 28 and run until July 1. Fans and athletes will descend on Los Angles for the events that will start with the X Fest that runs from noon until 7 pm on the opening day.

ESPN will be spreading the 21 hours of live broadcasting, both on-air and online, between a number of its properties: ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC will have the on-air duties with HD handled by ESPN 3D. For online, the games will also be digitally streamed on and

Intel buys InterDigital patent portfolio
Intel has reached an agreement to purchase approximately 1,700 patents and applications from wireless technology developer InterDigital for $375 million. The patents primarily are in the areas of 3G, LTE and 802.11 technologies.

Intel said that the move will be a benefit to its development efforts in the mobile segment, and the unspoken part of the deal is that it will no doubt provide ammunition in the ongoing legal spats over patents that are common in the mobile space as well.

Vungle creates App Fund for developers
Vungle, a startup that seeks to provide a variety of advertising and promotional avenues aside from the traditional pop-up ads has moved to draw more players to its platform. In a very interesting turn the company, which just closed a $2 million venture round last month will use half of that money and create a fund for other developers.

The purpose of the move, according to TechCrunch, is to lure developers to its platform and so gain a boost for its approach to alternative advertising for mobile apps. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Corruption in Chinese soccer — who knew?
The New Yorker, where I often go for my sporting news, had an interesting piece on corruption in the world of Chinese soccer. League executives, players and refs have all been hauled away and imprisoned due to an apparent widespread match fixing epidemic.

It seems that it has been ongoing for several years and that one top referee received $128,000 to fix seven matches. The country, which is seeking to win the rights to host the World Cup in the future, is cracking down to show that it will not tolerate this type of blatant corruption. What impact that will have on FIFA I am not sure.

Apple and Motorola get chance to push claims
The Apple vs Motorola litigants had the opportunity to speak their piece to US Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner. Apple apparently does not want Motorola to pay royalties but wants it to change its design and also claims that since Motorola’s patent is never used it has no value. Motorola obviously does not agree with either position.

Oracle taking Google lawsuit to next level
Oracle has agreed to accept zero damages for the copyright infringement claims that it ‘won’ in its case versus Google over Java technology. Oracle had been seeking big money in the case, claiming that it suffered up to $6 billion in loses.

However this is not the end of the affair. Oracle has said it will appeal its claims in the case once again, including both the patent infringement and whether its APIs can be copyrighted, to the Ninth Circuit appeals court.

Amazon App Store goes International
I have to say that I was surprised when I read that Amazon had not really extended its App Store to other countries and that it was primarily focused on the US market, a short sighted deal since one of its top developers of Android running devices Samsung is so strong internationally.

But anyway that looks to be a thing of the past as the company has now started opening it up and now developers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain can release games and apps designed specifically for those markets and the company has promised that more nations will be opened up to the joys of apps in the near futire, according to Cnet.

Ever had your bike stolen? SpyBike GPS could track the next one
SpyBike is a product developed by Integrated Trackers that is designed to look like a normal headset cap. It is designed to be activated when the bike is locked and you use a simply arming key and if the bike is moved it starts sending out data via a GPRS message and uses GPS to locate the bike. If GPS fails it has a fall back technology to help locate it.

The device does not come cheap, at $153 as well as a per message charge. The company said that it costs a fraction of a penny per message, but that varies by country. It features a rechargeable battery that can hold a charge of months.

Microsoft is on a roll, but is it a good one?

PC Mag is reporting that the company only gave some of its top OEMs a few days notice prior to announcing its Surface tablet platform earlier this week. As a number of them have made a major investment in developing for the underlying operating system, Windows 8, this seems a bit shortsighted.

Then later in the week it talks about its Windows 8 for smartphones and reveals that customers that buy the current family of smartphones will not be supported by Windows 8. I am sure that cheers up Nokia which has made a major investment in promoting Windows Phone technology.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: HP is Back with New Tablets

Study finds that 74% of smartphone owners use location services
A report from the Princeton Survey Research Associates shows that 74% of smartphone owners use their device to get real time location-based information. The study also found that 18% used a geosocial service to check-in to locations.

With roughly half of all Americans using a smartphone this is very good news for companies that take advantage of the variety of services that provide information about local businesses such as Yelp.

Hewlett-Packard vows return to tablet market this year
PC World is reporting the Hewlett-Packard executives are touting the company’s imminent return to the tablet space, something that they said will occur later this year. It plans to so with models that will support the Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft.

It is expected that HP, along with other Windows 8 tablet developers will focus as much on the business market as the consumer space .The company famously left and then reentered the hardware market and the tablet space over the last year, highlighted by the failure of its TouchPad tablet with HP’s own operating system.

I suspect that we will start seeing a great deal more –preannounced intentions to use Windows 8 as the launch date gets closer and it could make for an interesting dog fight in the tablet space. Will Windows 8 be accepted, will it erode Android and Apple’s iOS appear? Or maybe just make inroads in one of the two rivals space? It is too early to tell but it will make for an interesting end of the year.

Do people share too much info on-line? Intel study says yes.

A recent study conducted by Ipsos Observer and sponsored by Intel on the dual topics of “Mobile Etiquette” and “Digital Sharing,” reaffirmed what I believe many feel intuitively, that 90% of Americans adults believe that online users are sharing too much information.

This is the third such survey conducted by Intel and had some interesting results including a total of 85% said that they share information online while one-third surveyed said they are more comfortable sharing information online than in person and half said that without mobile information they would not know what was happening with friends and family.

Slow Internet Connection top issue for mobile users
In a mobile survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights focused on smartphone and tablet users the top issue that is a cause for concern is slow Internet connections with 36.9% listing it as the top service provider issue. Others that rated highly in the complaint list were cost of data plan at 32% (that low?) and dropped calls at 24.1%. Head over and see where your pet peeves were ranked.

Facebook’s Instagram purchase could be delayed
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started a competition probe into Facebook’s $1bn purchase of Instagram, a move that could push the deal beyond the second quarter and so cause some heartburn at Facebook. The probe was expected as it is usual for deals of this size; the issue is that t could take as long as 12 months and Facebook has been telling people at its IPO road show that it would close in the second quarter.

Microsoft gets delay in German court
Microsoft, already on the end of a major losing patent battle with Motorola Mobility had its current case delayed by a German court. This trial has to do with a different patent that Motorola claims that Microsoft has infringed on, in this case one that deals with two way communications devices.

Facebook updates data use rules
Facebook has update its data use policies about what it gathers from users of its popular social site and how it uses that information. The move was motivated by an audit performed last year by Irish data protection authorities, Facebook said.

New charge in Oracle vs Google
Oracle has managed to get back on the winning track last week in its copyright and patent infringement case against Google over use of the Java technology. Oracle’s request for a judgment as a matter of law regarding an additional eight files copies directly into Android’s code base was granted, giving Oracle an additional copyright infringement win against Google. However as with its first win it still needs the matter of ‘fair use’ to be resolved.

Le Pan now Matsunichi-New Tablets due
Matsunichi has eliminated the Le Pan named that it was using earlier this year and has self labeled its tablet offerings as it enters into the cost effective tablet market. The company now has the MarquisPad MP977, a 9.7-inch table that is powered by a dual core 1.2GHz processor from Texas Instruments.
The $249 device features a 1024 x 768 display and will use the Android 4.0 operating system. There is 4GB of storage if you include the microSD card, or 2GB internal without the card. It has a front facing VGA camera.

The company has an additional tablet in the works, the MarquisPad MP979 that will have a more powerful dual core 1.5GHz processor with 8GB of storage as well as an additional 2GB MicroSD card, and it supports up to 32GB. The 9.7-inch device will also have 1024 x 768 resolution.

Friday Grab Bag: Are Replacement Refs in the NFL’s Future?

Mashable does a nice job showing how fast eight technologies have penetrated the US market since the telephone was patented in 1876. The speed upon which each succeeding generation of technology grows is interesting as many of them piggybacked on older technology. I mean you cannot have these technologies until electricity reached all of the country.

I was interested to see how relatively slowly the Internet caught on compared to mobile phones, but I guess that is partly due to a number of issues from slow connections early on, lack of a substantial amount of meaningful content ( I mean at one time one of the most popular site on the internet was watching a coffee pot) and emerging rival modem standards that helped confuse non-technical users.

From the charts it looks as if it is possible that the two emerging fields, tablets and smartphones are headed to being the fasted technologies adopted to date. Smartphones make sense since they are an extension of an already known commodity but tablets are a relatively fresh start. The data covers the past five years and the numbers from the next five look to be very interesting.

NFL still not produced evidence on Saints bounty program, NFLPA claim
The NFL Players Association continues to claim that it has not been given “specific, detailed evidence of player involvement in a pay-to-injure program.” Domonique Foxworth, president of the NFLPA has an opinion piece in USA Today in which he stated that punishment demands evidence and the league is not willing to produce it.

He claims rather than produce the evidence the league has used media leaks, pr campaigns and character assignation to manipulate public opinion.

Apple wins one
Apple, on a recent losing streak in the legal department won a case this week when a judge threw out the Proview Electronics Co.’s trademark lawsuit against Apple. The case, which has bogged down Apple in China, has ruled that Proview cannot sue Apple in California.

The case revolves around Apple’s purchase of the iPad trademark from Proview and then Proview claiming it did not sell the rights to the iPad name in China. The two are reportedly looking at a cash settlement but are far apart on the terms.

St. Louis Blues sold
The NHL Board of Governors has approved the sale of the St/ Louis Blues hockey team to Tom Stillman, a beer distributor, for an estimated price of $130 million. Stillman has been a minority owner of the team since 2007, Yahoo! reports.

The team has been for sale for the last two years, ever since the current ownership group, led by Dave Checketts and his Sports Capital Partners Worldwide, started to look around. It had originally been looking for investors to buy out Towerbrook Captal Partners which held 70% of the team but could not find investors.

Google wins a bit more in trial versus Oracle
After a jury ruled that Google did infringe on Oracle’s API copyrights but could not reach a decision on if that action was protected by the ‘fair use’ doctrine that allows copyrighted material to be used Oracle asked the judge to throw out Google’s ‘fair use’ defense.

The judge declined saying he did not think that it would be correct for him to rule in favor of Oracle. Experts now expect at least a partial retrial of the first portion of the case.

Who do Crowdfunders Invest in?
We have started talking a lot about crowdfunding, but mostly in relation to just a very few efforts, and yet that industry is starting to emerge as a huge source of funding for startups, enabling a wide variety of developers to get seed money and more to launch products.

Well if you were interested in a breakdown by category of where the money is going at Kickstarter wonder no more because there is now a great graphical breakdown of the effort. A few interesting facts-50,000 projects have sought funding since it opened its doors in 2009 and film and video is the top pledge earner, with $60 million pledged to date. There is a host of interesting information so head on over and take a look.

Replacement officials in the wins for NFL season?
Fox Sports is reporting that the NFL has started to look at replacement officials for the upcoming season in case it cannot reach a new agreement with the NFL Referees Association- currently the talks are at an impasse.

The league is asking its officiate scouting department to help identify potential replacements with an eye out for recently retired college officials as well as current officials at a variety of levels of the sport including semiprofessional leagues. The NFL used replacement officials in 2001 at the start of the season.

Smart Shoes the next trend in computing?
Computer scientists from e Telekom Innovation Laboratories, the University of Munich, and the University of Toronto have taken a step forward on a research paper on the next generation of wearable computing with the publication of a joint paper entitled “ShoeSense.”

The gist of the paper apparently calls for the development of sensors that would be placed in shoes that have the ability to understand customizable hand and arm gestures that are then relayed as commands to a smartphone. Users would be able to then send messages without appearing to while in meetings, at dinner and other places that it is not always appropriate to do so on the handset.

Nielsen looks at smartphone owners in US
A recent report from Nielsen shows that smartphone ownership continues to rise in the US and is now the preferred handset of more than 50% of Americans, actually 50.4%, up from 47.8% in December 2011.

Android is the dominate operating system with a 48.5% market share then followed by Apple’s iOS with 32%. Research in Motion’s Blackberry platform has 11.6% followed by Windows Mobile, Windows Phone and then others.