Friday Grab Bag: Samsung to Launch 4 Tablets at MWC?

Microsoft had less than stellar numbers with its Surface RT tablet but now it’s time to see how well it will do focusing more on its basic operating system. The Surface Windows 8 Pro is expected to be released Feb. 8, an interesting choice since the first quarter of the year is traditionally the slowest time in consumer electronics retail sales.

The first tablet from Microsoft in this branch of the Surface family is designed to be integrated into a corporate infrastructure and has wider browser support than the RT version, which only had Internet Explorer support. The Surface Pro will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, dual 720p HD webcams, a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microSDXC slot, and mini DisplayPort. The 64GB version will list for $899 and the 128GB for $999. The tablets will be available from Microsoft’s retail stores as well as from Staples and Best Buy.

Amazon adds speech-recognition developer Ivona Software to its portfolio
Amazon has announced that it has purchased text-to-speech technology developer Ivona Software. The terms of the acquisition were not revealed. Amazon has a history with the company as Ivona already has a number of features that are included in Amazon’s products including the “Text-to-Speech,” “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” features on Kindle Fire tablets.

Ivona is a 10-year-old company that currently has voice and language technology that includes 44 voices and support for 17 languages. Founded as IVO Software in 2001 by Łukasz Osowski and Michał Kaszczuk, a pair of graduates from the Gdansk University of Technology, they remain active in the company.

Samsung looks to have a busy Mobile World Congress with 4 new tablets

According to a report from SamMobile that was repeated in Tech Digest, Samsung will unveil four tablets at the show in Barcelona next month. Leading off will be the Galaxy Tab 3, with a 7-inch and 10.1-inch member of the family. These are expected to have 3G and Wi-Fi versions.

Then there is the already reported Galaxy Note 8, code-named Kona, also in 3G and Wi-Fi versions and it will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions. The last model, and the one with the fewest details is a high end model code-named Roma that is reported to have 16GB and 32GB versions.

Apple’s earnings disappoints Wall Street
It always seems odd to write a headline like that when a company posts record revenue and sales, but then it is not me who was disappointed. For Apple’s first quarter 2013, which ended Dec. 29, 2012 it posted quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and a quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion.

It sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, up from the same quarter a year ago when it sold 37 million. It also sold a record number of iPads, hitting the 22.9 million mark, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Nike teams up for tradition post-holiday drive with Lose It!
As anyone who has gone to the gym after New Years knows, it is now the season to lose all of the weight that somehow managed to tag along for the ride amid the Egg Nogs and holiday cheer.

The Lose It! App is now connected to the Nike+ API and so users of NikeFuel can integrated data between the two. Lose It! Is designed to be set up as a personalized weight loss program that helps users by not only tracking calories but offering healthy choices in their diet.

Users can earn back calories into their daily diet with a seamless connection between the user’s NikeFuel and their daily calorie budget. The Nike+ FuelBand connection is available for free to all existing and new Lose It! users who have a Nike+ FuelBand. New users can join Lose It! at or by downloading the Lose It! app from iTunes or Google Play.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Happy Cyber Monday

Apple is seeking to keep the pressure on Samsung in the legal game and this week has extended its infringement motion against Samsung to now include the Galaxy S3 Mini, the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Rugby Pro according to TechRadar.

The move looks to be in retaliation for a similar push by Samsung which has added Apple’s iPad Mini and iPhone 5 to a list of devices that it claims infringe on its patents.

Tablet shipments top laptops in October
You knew that the day when tablets would pass PCs was coming, but there had been estimates that it would not occur for some time. Apparently those predictions were wrong. According to market research firm NPD Display Search, tablet sales passed laptop sales last month, based on its following of the panels used in both products. In October there was an estimated 16.9 million notebook panels shipped while there was an estimated 18.7 tablet panels shipped. However this may be a one month blip as the researchers also said that there were many notebook buyers holding back until after Windows 8 shipped.

Instagram rules on Thanksgiving
This is probably a no-brainer out there for most people but Thanksgiving was Instagram’s biggest day ever. The photo imaging service reported that it averaged 226 photos posted per second over a 24-hour period, with a total of 10 million photos shared over Thanksgiving. That is a lot of turkey. Or a lot of turkey pictures, anyway.

Microsoft planning a set-top box?
According to the Verge, Microsoft has an Xbox TV in the works that it has slated for release sometime in 2013. The device will enable streaming video as well as serve as a platform for the casual gamer, according to the article.

Most likely to be release roughly a year from now it will represent a two SKU strategy for Microsoft in the Xbox space with a dedicated Xbox that supports higher end games and the TV/Xbox combo for the everyday user.

Motorola repeats request for Apple Source Code
As part of one of its lawsuits against Apple, Motorola Mobility has requested access to Apple’s source code. Five times now, but who is counting? Motorola made the first request last May according to a story in the Inquisitr, and has now just made its fifth.

The case is being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The request is for the source code for both the Mac OS X and iOS and Motorola is also asking for a specific date from Apple on when it plans to hand over the code.

Kickstarter kicked
Kickstarter launched a bit over a month ago in the United Kingdom and it now looks like one of is first projects is going to cause the crowdfunding site a few headaches. A successful funding effort landed a startup called Formlab over 2 million pounds.

Birthed from MIT’s Media Lab, Formlab is developing a 3D printer, however 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers is claiming patent infringement and has sued the startup, as well as Kickstarter. The issue is over how a laser causes a synthetic substance to solidify as part of the 3D process.

According to a piece in PC Adviser, Kickstarter is also being sued by a rival crowd funding company called ArtistShare over the use of a database software program and how it can be used.

Friday Grab Bag: Samsung News, New World Cup Mascot, Windows 8 Tablet Tidbits

World Cup 2014

Oddly I never think of an armadillo when I think of Brazil, yet in just a few years fans will be flocking to the country to watch the 2014 World Cup and no doubt will be inundated with images of the new World Cup mascot, an armadillo.

FIFA unveiled the mascot, which it has not yet completely ruined by giving it some cute name, Monday with the assistance of Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo. Don’t worry, they are unveiling its official name in November.

Twitch gets a $15 million investment for eSports broadcasting has received a $15 million investment that is intended to help the company expand its eSports live streaming capabilities. The money, which came from venture capital investment firm Bessemer Venture Partners, will be used to expand its engineering team.

This is the company’s third round of funding, bringing its total to $23 million, with the last being a $8 million round in 2007 when the company was known as It received a small seed funding in 2007.

Samsung strikes back at the iPhone
Samsung has said that it plans to add Apple’s just released iPhone 5 to its existing patent lawsuit that it has with its rival. The move has been expected as the company said that if Apple included LTE Samsung believed that the technology would likely violate its extensive patent holdings in that area.

Hopefully this will go better than Samsung’s Facebook campaign, where it asked which smartphone a user would like to have if stranded on a desert island. The Apple faithful flooded the site and voted for the iPhone.

However on a brighter note the company has landed a major deal with American Airlines that calls for the airline to equip 17,000 flight attendants with the Samsung Galaxy Note, according to CIO.

StubHub out Ticketmaster in for MLB?
A report from the New York Post is claiming that Ticketmaster is seeking to replace StubHub as the office site to resell your MLB tickets. According to the piece the deal between MLB and StubHub has expired and there is pressure from several teams to switch.

The reason for the switch is pretty obvious; you can get discounted tickets for top teams at StubHub, while Ticketmaster has a reputation of piling on charges and raising the price. Teams like the Yankees want their seats sold at a higher price.

Intel gets first marquee Atom smartphone user in Motorola
Motorola Mobility has unveiled its Razr I smartphone, its first that is powered by Intel’s 2GHz Atom Z2460 processor. The phone features a 4.3 inch display that can use its entire area, displaying images from border to border.

Among its other features are an 8 MP camera, the ability to start up in one second, NFC and the screen has a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. No pricing was announced at the rollout.

Anti-Japan protests lead to Intel Extreme Masters tournament cancellation in China
The latest round of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament was scheduled to take place in a few days in Guangzhou, China at the Anime Comics and Game Show has been canceled due to anti-Japanese protests, organizers have said.

The protests, sparked over a fight between Japan and China over a set of islands has led to the cancelation of a large number of Japanese vendors at the show.

More details on Surface Tablet from Microsoft
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer told the Seattle Times that company would be pricing the device in the same price range as Apple’s iPad rather than in the area that Amazon and Google are seeking to carve out at the low end.

This is not really a surprise since Amazon and Google are positioning their tablets as front end devices that will be used to purchase additional goods and services from the company, and are selling the tablets at cost. The range that Microsoft is looking at is from $300 to between $700-$800.

Leaked pricing on the pending Asus tablet, according to a report from ZDNet, is that it will be even pricier, coming in at $599, $799 and $1,299 depending on model and features. The most expensive is expected to have an 11.6 HD display.

Google asks ITC to ban wide array of Apple products

The International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate alleged patent violations by Apple based on charges brought by Google. Google is claiming that Apple is violated a number of patents that came to the company via its Motorola Mobility purchase. It is also asking the ITC to ban all Mac OS X computers, all iPads and most iPhones.

Microsoft wins a round in patent battles
Microsoft has earned a victory in its patent battle with Motorola in a lower regional German court that ruled that Motorola has infringed on a Microsoft patent that relates to text input. Motorola is expected to appeal in the case.

The ruling could result in both the banning of select Motorola smartphones as well as unspecified damages if the appeal is unsuccessful.

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