Microsoft Surface Pro Sells Out — More this Weekend


After the lackluster news about the holiday sales of its first generation tablet, the Surface RT, and then more bad news about its Pro version just prior to shipping Microsoft has some good news to report. It’s sold out!
It was reported that just a day into its widespread availability Microsoft was out of its 128GB version of its Surface Pro tablet, although its 64GB version remained on the shelves for prospective customers.

Well that might not be so great since it could mean loss of sales but it looks to be a short term issue as the company has a new round of tablets on the way and they are expected to hit store shelves as well as Microsoft’s own online store by this weekend.

Some have questioned if the tablets actually sold out, or if it was an artificial shortage designed to get solid publicity for the company by showing demand for the tablet. PCWorld posed that question and has provided similar comments from others.

Still it is hard to say for sure since it is doubtful that Microsoft is going to provide its roadmap and strategic plans for use to look at. The question I have is if the demand for the highest capacity tablets was driven by the news of how little space was actually available for users?

I guess we will see the true popularity of the tablets, both from Microsoft and others when IDC releases its next quarterly tablet report. Other Windows tablets have received popular acclaim, such as the most recent offering from Lenovo. This should help break open the market even more, providing Samsung, Apple, Google and Amazon with a new generation of competition.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: No Kodak Patents, iPhone 5 Sales Soar

Kodak has indefinitely postponed the auction of its imaging patents with the move coming after the company has already postponed the auction more than once. In the works since August the company, currently in bankruptcy protection, has been seeking to sell approximately 1,000 imaging patents.

Now it looks like the company is looking at alternatives to auctioning the patents off and that includes keeping the patents in house.

Will existing patent law seriously harm Android?
An interesting piece at ZDNet brings up the point that under current patent law there is the possibility that the Android ecosystem could wither and die if Apple wins additional rounds versus Samsung on Apple’s patent claims.

Part of the issue is that the utility patents which govern the way things work are harder to develop work arounds than the look and feel issue, which simply requires a new design paradigm. Head over here to read the piece.

AMD targeting tablets with Hondo
Advanced Micro Devices is looking at entering the rapidly growing market for tablets with its Hondo microprocessor, a chip that was designed for the market. The chip will be initially only support Windows 8 when AMD launches it, but unlike the Clover Trail family of chips from Intel, AMD’s processor will also support Linux at the same time.

Apple wins a round in Germany vs. Motorola
In the ongoing patent wars between Apple and Motorola/Google, chalk one up for Apple. It has won a judgment against Motorola in Germany that calls for the banning of select Motorola products that use its ‘rubber band’ technology.

The court ruled that Motorola must recall all Android tablet and smartphones that infringe on a select Apple patent, one that was also part of Apple’s victory over Samsung in its case in the US. Apple will be required to post a bond to cover enforcement.

Speaking of Samsung the company took another loss in the U.S. court system as a judge has denied the company’s request for a ban on imports of Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod devices due to their supposed infringement on Samsung patents.

iPhone sales break records over weekend
According to AT&T the iPhone 5, which went on sale last Friday, broke all previous sales records for iPhones at the carrier. Records were set both on Friday and for the overall weekend. The company said that the preorders will start to be filled on Friday, Sept. 21.

Hewlett-Packard to eventually enter smartphone space
HP CEO Meg Whitman has said that the company will enter the smartphone space; it is just a matter of when the company will do so that is at issue now. During an interview on Fox Business Network.she said that the company is already working on the development of a smartphone.

Tablets and smartphones now top memory consumers
The PC has been dethroned, at least as the top consumer of DRAM memory chips. The chips, which are a key technology for all computing devices has seen their demand shift from the PC space, the long term top consumer of the technology since the 1980s, to the merging tablet and smartphone space.

According to a report from research companyiSuppli showed that in the second quarter of 2012 PC consumption dropped to 49%. However it is not just tablets and smartphones that comprise the remaining 51% as a host of other devices also use DRAM.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Nexus 7 Sells Out

Demand for the Google Nexus 7 tablet that went on sale last week has been very strong, with reports of online retailers selling out of the devices in the first few days that it was available, according to Reuters.

On sale since last Friday in most areas, the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet that starts at $199 has sold out at a number of locations including Sam’s Club, GameStop and Staples. The popularity is particularly good for the company because while rival Amazon set records selling its Kindle Fire during the Christmas holiday season, this time of year is usually the doldrums for electronic sales.

There are a lot of rumors of a new iPad in the 7-inch format as well as new products from Amazon that will seek to steal Google’s thunder in this space but it looks like Google has established itself as a major player in the tablet space with the Nexus 7.

A nice piece in Wired breaks down the Nexus 7 and its leading rival, Amazon’s Kindle and shows where the primary differences are between the two. According to the article it costs $19 more to build a Nexus 7 than a Kindle, but the money looks to be well spent.

Apple aggressive about Samsung ban
Apple has been contacting US carriers and retailers and demanding that they follow the court order that bans select Samsung products. According to Foss Patents this news came to light via a Samsung filing that claims that the letters that Apple is sending to these parties over reaches and and contain incorrect information.

It has only been slightly more than a week since US Courts ruled that Samsung would ot be allowed to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US. The Koss newsletter is siding with Apple on its interpretation of the order.

FujiFilm joins the fun — Sues Motorola over patents
Motorola Mobility now finds itself in the sights of FujiFilm as that company has filed a suit claiming that Motorola is infringing on four patents, according to PC World. The filing comes after a number of face to face meetings between the two companies.

The patents in question cover some interesting areas including the ability to capture color pictures with a cell phone and converting them into monochrome and a manner in which data is transmitted using wireless methods such as Bluetooth.

Apple returns to EPEAT
Apple, after making waves by having its products delisted from the EPEAT list of environmentally approved products the company has made an about face and now will continue to return to EPEAT after strong feedback from its customers.

Sony has new tablet in the works
Sony has admitted that it will be ready during the fall holiday season with a new tablet as the manufacturer continues to try and gain traction in that space. The company currently has several offerings in this space including the Tablet P.

It currently only sells devices that run the Android operating system and it will be interesting if it moves onto the Windows 8 platform when that is delivered later this year.

Friday Grab Bag: ESPN’s Strong Euro, Archos $250 Tablet

ESPN followed Spain’s’ lead and finished strong in the Euro 2012, bringing in its strongest soccer ratings to date. The broadcaster reported double and triple digit increases in viewers across all of its platforms that carried the matches.

The finals match that featured Italy against Spain, won by Spain 4-0, set a record as the most-watched UEFA Championship game in the United States and was watched by an average audience of 4.068 million viewers. This represented an 8% increase from four years ago from the Spain vs. Germany match.

For the whole of the tournament, which took place over a three week period and featured 31 matches, ESPN’s English language presentation had a 51% viewership increase from 2008. Its digital properties were in some ways even stronger with 900,000 unique viewers on its ESPNFC.Com and , up 54% and 28% respectively while mobile usage across its platforms was up 497%.

Samsung fails to block injunction
A US Court has denied Samsung’s request for a stay on a preliminary injunction against the company that is preventing it from selling its Galaxy Nexus smartphone as well as for a similar injunction against it selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

The injunctions are the result of a ruling in a long running patent dispute between Samsung and Apple. The company wanted the suspension while it takes its case to the US Court of Appeals, according to an article in Infoworld.

Tablets to outsell notebooks in four years
A report from the research firm NPD Display Search predicted that notebooks will be supplanted by tablets and the mobile computing device of choice by 2016. It said that notebook sales will continue to increase, from an estimated 208 million units this year to 393 million units by 2017.

However during that same time span tablet sales will grow at a much faster pace, increasing from 121 million units this year to an estimated 416 million units by 2017. Among that factors that will fuel the growth are its improved portability and battery life when compared to notebooks.

Apple loses patent round in UK
While Apple has managed to block Samsung in the US, to a degree, it has failed in a similar suit in the United Kingdom, where the courts have ruled against it in a fight with HTC. The high Court ruled that HTC did not infringe on Apple’s photo management patent.

It also ruled that three additional patents that were in dispute were invalid, including apple’s ‘slide to unlock’ feature, according to TechWorld. If Apple had succeeded in its cases it would have affected both tablet and smartphone products from HTC.

Archos unveils 97 Carbon Tablet
Archos has taken the wraps off of its latest tablet, the Archos 97 Carbon. It features a 9.7-inch display with 1024 x 768 pixels that is capable of running 1080p HD video. The 1.5 pound tablet features 16GB built-in storage and supports an additional 16GB via either a SDHC card or a USB flash drive.

The tablet features a mini-HDMI port and has 1GB of memory. It runs the current Android 4.0 operating system and is powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor. The starting price for the table is expected to be $250.

Recapp adds Summer Olympics news
Sports news aggregator Recapp has added support for the upcoming Summer Olympics in London. The app, which brings the leading news stories on user selected sports topics has expanded its support so that now you can follow your favorite teams and events during the games with articles from a wide source of news outlets including Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

A tale of two smartphones
Samsung, developer of some of the most popular smartphones, has reported that its latest quarter had a profit of $5.9 billion with earnings from its mobile phone division more than doubling in the quarter as Galaxy sales soared.

On the flip side is HTC, which had a very poor quarter, reporting that its net profits fell 58% from the same quarter a year ago, with a net profit of $247 million and it said that the current quarter’s outlook is cloudy due to increased competition.

LUMOback- the anti-couch potato device?
A sensor and app designed for better posture? That is what LUMOback is designed to provide. The sensor pad fits in your chair and vibrates when you slouch in your chair and provides feedback to your iPhone in an effort to promote good posture. Android and other platform support is on the horizon, the company said. The project on Kickstarter has already exceeded its $100,000 goal. I wonder if it is a comfortable vibration because I could get a pretty good massage while watching the NFL.

Rumors de jour
Amazon is planning on fighting back against Google and others by introducing its own smartphone and is looking to buy patents in that space first. Amazon has declined to comment.

It also looks like the next generation Kindle, the Kindle Fire 2, will be available in the fall as well. This is not really a surprise considering how hot the original Fire sales were during last year’s holiday season.

Is Apple preparing a mini iPad for Fall introduction, many sources say so. Numerous sites and news agencies have reported that a 7-inch version is on the way in order to fight Amazon, Google and others that are concentrating in this space.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is here-Let the iPhone Comparisons Begin!

Samsung is the leader in the tablet space- the non-Apple tablet space that is, and has expanded its offerings with the full size Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, a 10.-1 inch device that will naturally being comparisons to Apple’s iPad offerings.

However it seems that it is much more than just a competitor to Apple, it has to shone above the existing Android tablets and hold its own above the hope that will start coming from the Windows 8 tablet crowd.

The tablet uses the latest Android 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) is powered by 1GHz dual-core OMAP processor from Texas Instruments and has a 1280 x 800 display and has a 3.2 megapixel rear camera and a VGA front facing camera. An entry level model with 16GB of storage will have a $400 price tag.

It is doubtful that the big selling point for the tablet is going to be the hardware since it is pretty clos to what Samsung offered in its Galaxy Tab 10.1 but rather the full package which means lot of Samsung software and apps as well as the fact that it is $100 less than an iPad with the same storage at least a new iPad.

Among the software app that is included in the tablet are Peel smart remote, AllShare and Samsung Media Hub, and SoundAlive. In a review over at including Mashable the Peel app was rated pretty poorly, but there are a number of additional programs on the device as well.

Most sites that have reviewed the tablet give it at least a lukewarm approval rating, but I believe that Samsung should have shot for more. Its display is not as good as Apple’s nor is its camera. While it has a strong position in the Android space, it is about to face a huge wave of competition very soon.

PC World does a very nice job providing a roundup of what is expected throughout the summer, based on statements from the companies involved as well as rumors that seem to have some creditability. New or improved offerings from Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble and Amazon are all expected.

Then there will be the Windows 8 players sometime around the end of the summer. Hewlett-Packard has said it will be there as has Dell, although neither has said when. Then Microsoft’s new relationship with Barnes & Noble could bring that popular platform into the fold. Lenovo is making a major research and development effort n this area and could come in as an Android player, a Windows 8 or both with future offerings.

With this in front of it I am surprised that Samsung did not deliver a stronger offering although I suspect that this is a stopgap effort and that by the back to school season we may see yet another tablet from the company.

Friday Grab Bag — Come for the Red Sox Game, Stay for the Bootmobile

For Red Sox Fans & L.L Bean Aficionados: Two venerable institutions are celebrating their 100th Anniversaries this year and what could be more natural than L.L. Bean teaming up with Fenway Park to celebrate that event? A lot you say, well quiet down.

Of the most interest to the average fan I believe will be the display of a large and unique collection of baseball artifacts that were collected by the founder of L.L. Bean, including letters between Leon Leonwood Bean and Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

The L.L Bean Bootmobile will kick off the festivities when it drops by Fenway for the 2012 Season Opener, prior to the Bootmobile leaving on the 2012 Bootmobile Tour. It will be your chance to get your photo taken with the iconic vehicle, I kid thee not. There will also be ticket giveaways and a variety of other events centered on the joint anniversary.

Want to develop for the Windows Phone? There is AppCampus!
Of course it might help to speak Finnish. Microsoft has teamed with its partner Nokia and to continue their strong push of the Windows Phone platform with the creation of AppCampus, a venture that is designed to fuel development of apps for the platform.

The effort will be managed by a third partner, Aalto University School of Science and Technology, which was formed in 2010 in Helsinki with the merging of The Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki.

The three year venture, which will see Nokia and Microsoft invest approximately $24 million, seeks to garner thousands of applicants developing along a range of mobile apps. Aside from Windows development the effort will also encompass development for Nokia’s Symbian operating system.

Miss your Android apps on your PC? Look for that to end
BlueStacks, a developer of technology that is designed to allow Android apps to play on a PC has released the beta-1 version of its technology that should enable that feature. Called the App Player, the release is the second from the company.

A quick visit to its site confounded me on more information since it had a hot button to download the app but none to give me general information about the program, such as minimum system requirements etc… Maybe I just looked in the wrong place, would not be the first time.

According to PCWorld the app emulator runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and enables you to use apps from a variety of Android app sites and run them on your PC, which would be cool, and lead to an even greater loss of productivity on my part. In the future the company is reportedly aiming at also allowing Macintosh users to play Android games. I wonder what Apple will try and do about that?

The Patent Wars
TiVo sues Time Warner & Motorola Mobility

TiVo, not wanting to be left on the sidelines in all of the lawsuit fun after ending a suit against Microsoft that apparently ended in a draw has filed a lawsuit against Motorola Mobility and Time Warner Cable, Venture Beat has reported.

The company is an experienced hand at this game, and a successful one, winning or resolving cases against several foes in the past including a deal that called for AT&T to pay the company at least $215 million. It also has a suit pending against Verizon.

In the most recent case TiVo is claiming that the two companies are violating three of its patents including ones that cover “multimedia time warping system,” and “system for time shifting multimedia content streams.” I do not envy the judge or jury in these cases.

Dell kills smartphone development — for now
Dell is once again rethinking its mobile strategy and this time I is its smartphone effort that is on the chopping block. It has already killed its tablet offerings, although the company is expected to return with a Windows-based offering by year end.

The company is killing in the United States its Venue Pro which runs a Microsoft OS and its Venue line that runs Android operating systems. It said that it will continue to sell the phones in Europe. The company did indicate that it intends to return to the U.S. market with new products at some point in the future.

FTC looking at establishing a “Do Not Track” option for consumers
The Federal Trade Commission has said that it is developing a “Do Not Track” option for consumer data and that the agency will seek to encourage the industry to adopt this as a standard feature that companies will be encouraged to adopt across the board.

At the same time it has indicated that it would like Congress to enact a law that would allow consumers access to the data that has been collected on them, much the way that you can access your financial standings.

Will this kill Facebook and Google? I am being facetious but they are top data harvesters, but I imagine they will simply provide an option to opt out and many, possibly most will not. Of more real interest to me is when I start hearing from sites I did not know where tracking me. I wonder what this will mean for the cookies market, if anything- any ideas?

NFL passes new rule changes
I sort of tune out the NFL right after the Super Bowl hype dies down. Sure there is free agency signings but it takes a while for the dust to settle and you can get a feel for how your team was helped or harmed. Possible aside from the Jets this year.

So while I knew that the NFL had changed some rules I did not realize that they changed 5 and that at least one more may be altered before all is said and done. Some of the changes were no-brainers like making the overtime rules the same in regular and post season and making the 12th man n the field penalty a dead ball foul.

The other moves include having Replay Officials initiate reviews on some types of turnovers, adding the recipient of a crack back block being added to the growing list of defenseless players and adding loss of down to kicking a loose ball. Was the last one really screaming to be added? There were a couple that was not approved as well, but it is still early in the offseason. Head over to SB Nation for a look at what did and did not pass.