Latest version of Fanatic sports app has enhanced features


The Fanatic sports app, from the same named company has some simple tools and an easy to use interface but its purpose is even more basic; it is designed to unite fans who are seeking sporting experiences with similar minded fans. However even simple ideas can be improved on, and that is what the company has done with its latest release.

The idea makes a lot of sense, particularly for people who travel a great deal and find themselves in a strange city yet want to watch their favorite team. You simply access the app, available for both Apple iOS and Android devices, and find a local sports bar that is highly rated for supporting a specific team so that you can watch in a comfortable atmosphere rather than having to worry about if your allegiance could create backlash from rival fans.

The company has built on this base and added or enhanced a number of features that most fans probably want such as the ability to organize a viewing party at a venue using social media.

The addition of a Live Score feature addresses a shortfall in the original program. Fans do not just want to know the score of the game they’re watching, and it always seems that the moment you look at the television the scores have finish scrolling and you miss the numbers for other favorite teams that might be playing simultaneously.

The news feed has been improved with a more robust and filtered feed that helps eliminate the chaff from the wheat. It has a private chat feature that enables chat before, during and after the event and includes a push notification so that you can quickly respond to comments.

Its core service, to find favorite team bars in different cities has gained an improved search function as fans using the app have increased the number of bars that are rated as well as expanded the geographical reach of the program.

The app can find bars for a wide number of sports and leagues including the NFL, NBA, NCAA, MLB, NHL and MLS, along with the top European soccer leagues, including the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Friday Grab Bag: 3D tablet, Dodgers ruled social media in 2013

It just would not feel like a week has gone by unless there was another iPhone or iPad rumor, and it looks like we will meet that goal once again. While we have already mentioned the possibility of a hybrid iPad this week now comes the possibility of a iPhone phablet.

According to Yahoo there may be one as soon as May, in a line that will be differentiated from the iPhone family. That family should get its next member, now called the iPhone 6, sometime later in the year, it reported.

Google Glass rival coming into focus
Once Google made huge headlines with its Google Glass concept rivals have been shooting at the company touting alternative offerings, and among that pack has been Taiwanese manufacturer ChipSiP that this week showed a prototype effort called Smart Glass.

The Smart Glass looks much like Google Glass, runs a full Android 4.2 operating system and features a 1.2Ghz dual core processor with 1GB of RAM as well as 4GB of storage. ChipSiP, which is an original device manufacture (ODM), expects one or more of its partners to start shipping glasses this year priced in the sub $1,000 range.

Hampoo tp deliver 3D tablet
The latest version a glasses-free 3D tablet has been shown this week by developer Hampoo that said it will release the unmanned tablet later this month to an as yet unnamed price. The display has a 1920 x 1200 resolution and a built-in software conversion engine can render 2D into 3D images without glasses.

Other features include the Android 4.0 operating system, a 1.5GHz TI OMAP4470 dual core processor with 1GB RAM, 16GB storage that can be doubled via an optional MicroSD card and the ability to run 1080p HD movies.

MLB a money making machine
Have you ever wondered how baseball always manages to give players multimillion dollar contracts that are guaranteed while the NFL, always seeming crying poor, usually only guarantees the first year or so?

Well Forbes does a real nice job breaking down how much money baseball actually rakes in, and how it spreads a good deal of it around so that while it is not an entirely level playing field, it is as close as it will likely ever come.

Dodgers ruled sports social media
While the Los Angeles Dodgers may have failed to reach the World Series last year with the team’s $200 million payroll it did reach several other milestones including having the team’s home park, Chavez Ravine, as the most “checked-in” sports venue.

In led the league in 2013 in growth on Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram, according to MLB, and was the fourth most checked-in site overall in the world. And as a minor thing it lead MLB in attendance with 3,743,527 fans.

An interesting year in review of ESPN
Ever wonder why some stories that seem relatively inane or trivial gain so much momentum on ESPN? Or wonder what is actually going on at the World Wide Sports Leader? Well Deadspin has put together a pretty interesting year in review for the network.

One of the more interesting pieces is how by having all of its different talking heads repeat something on all of its different channels it can blow something way out of proportion, and the example of that was its big Colin Kaepernick story.

Mobile App Startup Fund expands to New Platforms

For developers looking to break into the market for sports apps, or any other type of app, and that are looking for funding there is a new financial resource available as ATP Capital has expanded into new markets with its latest effort.

Some might remember ATP as the company that manages a fund that is seeking to help cultivate an ecosystem of developers on behalf of Research in Motion BlackBerry via its Blackberry Partners Fund program. While RIM goes through some painful issues right now both internally and externally Capital is looking to expand its reach in the app space.

With that in mind it has refocused its efforts on a new fund that will be platform agnostic and look to invest in startups in not only the BlackBerry space but also look for new companies that have Android, Apple iOS and Windows 8 developments underway.

As a first step the company, which aside from the BlackBerry fund also manages Clairmont Capitol and JLA Ventures, has rebranded itself and will now be called Relay Ventures and along with the new name is a new $150 million fund, which will go by the name of the BlackBerry Partners Fund II. The new fund will continue to be an independently managed, platform agnostic, early stage venture fund with a singular focus on mobile computing.

The funds lead investor is Northleaf Capital Partners and includes partners Corus Entertainment, Thomas Rueters and of course Research in Motion. ATP has had success with its efforts in funding mobile app startups, with 32 having received some level of funding and six have already been acquired.

Relay Ventures is also uprooting itself from Toronto and is moving to new offices in Menlo Park, Calif. This reflects on the fact that the company has made almost half of its investments in startups from that area.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Barnes & Noble Enhances Nook Color

OnLine’s new apps mean Tablets can be gaming consoles
Cloud gaming developer OnLive has developed a set of apps that bring console gaming to tablet and mobile (i.e smartphones) platforms. The company said that this will open up top ranked, high performance games that were once only available on consoles to a market that is at least 500 million strong.

The Universal OnLive Wireless Controller enable a player to use a Wi-Fi network to play a program that is stored in the cloud and streamed live to the tablet, phone, PC or Mac. A user must own the program and once purchased it can be used on any device.

OnLive currently has a stable of 25 games that have been adapted to work with touch screen devices including L.A. Noire, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Lord of the Rings: War in the North, and Defense Grid Gold. The Universal OnLive Wireless Controller uses technology that the company is expected to be available soon for a list price of $49.99.

Barnes & Noble enhances Nook software
Barnes & Noble has released a software upgrade for its Nook Color, a move that brings the low cost device closer in features and capabilities to its more expensive Nook Tablet as well as rivals from other developers.

Among the new found features is access to Barnes & Noble’s huge Marvel graphic novel collection via Nook Comic, streaming movies and TV shows via Netflix as well as the Flixster app for on-the-go access to digital streaming media.

In all the company said that it added 100 enhancements that ranged from increased font size to the ability to read books in either landscape or portrait mode. Head over to Cnet for a fuller listing of features as well as some issues with the product.

Microsoft to offer Open Source Apps for Windows 8
ExtreameTech has reported that the advocates for Open Source software have won an unexpected ally with the announcement that Microsoft will allow open source apps at its Windows 8 app store.

Microsoft has long been a foe of the open source movement, but entering the app space much later than rivals Apple and the Android lineup it needs a boost and it appears it is taking a chance that one of its rivals is willing to take.

While Apple prohibits open source apps for its iOS in its store Microsoft has stated that it will allow apps developed under a license from the Open Source Initiative and that the OSI license will trump the Microsoft Standard Application License Terms that have tough sharing provisions.

The lack of open source apps has not seemed to hurt Apple yet as it just reported that it just had its 100 millionth app downloaded from its Mac App Store.

The Patent wars heat up
Motorola won an important ruling in German courts last week that could shackle Apple and force the company to pay out royalties and make changes to its technology. The court ruled that Apple has failed to license one of Motorola Mobility’s patent technologies.

Motorola could seek an injunction preventing Apple from selling products that contain the technology in dispute, which basically means no iPhone or iPad sales in Germany if granted. Apple said that t will appeal the ruling.
If Motorola wishes to have a sales injunction enforced against Apple it will need to post a $133 million bond to cover costs in case Apple later prevails in court. Motorola has licensed the technology in question to others but wanted to charge Apple at a higher rate.

Looking for an Android to call your own?
Not exactly what Harrison Ford was in a search and destroy mode in “Blade Runner”, but not like any phone you have used before, a strange new communications technology is emerging from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) .

Called the Elfoid P1, it is a prototype tele-operated android that will, in the future, mimic motion and appearance of that of the users, hopefully conveying a more human sense to phone conversations.

Sadly it is not a machine that you can send to work in your place but rather a pint sized device that stands in as a phone and resembles, well here is a photo you can decide for yourself what it resembles. Not sure I would want to whip one of these out of my pocket at a business meeting to update my calendar.

If you have an interesting product or app showing at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show that you think we might be interested in drop us a line.

Fanatic Fans: An Insider’s Look at Mobile Applications for Live Events

Brian Holmes, a driving force behind Calibrus' breakthrough Fanatic Fans application

If you ever wanted a good look into the infancy of sports social media, you could get it by taking a look at Calibrus Inc. Fanatic Fans application.

Fanatic Fans debuted at Arizona State University home games last month, and today fewer than a thousand people have it on their smartphone or other mobile device. Yet that’s enough momentum to convince the 26-year-old developer of the application, Brian Holmes, he’s on to something big – a concept that could fundamentally change the fan experience at live sports events and concerts.

“We feel there is a real opportunity to tap into this marketplace to grow a significant brand with large numbers of users,” Holmes told

 Indeed, Fanatic Fans marks one of the most aggressive moves to date by a major college athletic program to mirror sports social media innovations occurring in the NFL, according to The Miami Dolphins are among the leaders in pro pigskin with an application developed by Mobile Roadie LLC, but the college market is wide open. Beyond ASU, Fanatic Fans is now being made available to University of Grand Canyon and University of Denver sports fans. Calibrus also sees Fanatic Fans as potentially a big winner in the live music space, Holmes said.

While ESPN, CBS Sports, SB Nation and numerous others have won big user numbers for mobile sports applications that provide news and buzz, applications that facilitate live event experience are just emerging. Indeed, the implications of mobile sports applications at live events are often misunderstood even by the experts, as evidenced by the South Eastern Conference’s recent decision to revise such impossible-to-enforce social media policies as the prohibition of mobile devices use at games.

For business, Fanatic Fans and other applications are promising because they can be used to provide offers to consumers at the moment they are ready to buy whether that’s before, during or after and event, according to Fast Company.

Available for Android and iPhones, Fanatic Fans works this way: Users download the application, and log in with user name and password whenever they go to a game. At present, check-in at a game qualifies them for prizes. At University of Denver games that includes a seat upgrade, and at ASU games there’s a $500 cash prize. During timeouts, fans are also prompted to respond to scoreboard contests via text. At ASU, that’s currently a contest to name the MVP of the game. Ultimately, applications like Fanatic Fans can be used by fans to interact with other fans when they are tailgating or at the stadium.  

Fanatic Fans took shape quickly, and the speed with which it went from concept to in-game experience underscores how nimble companies and sports teams will need to be in order to capitalize on the growth of sports social media. Fanatic Fans began to take shape in February, when Holmes took the idea to Calibrus management.  At the time, Holmes was working as a project manager on a website called JabberMonkey, which allows people to post questions, videos, pictures and articles that others can respond to via chat, webcam, email or VOIP. Calibrus used its development team in Saudi Arabia to turn the idea into a reality, and quickly won the support of ASU. Its business model is to create an avid user base for Fanatic Fans, and reward affinity marketing points for sports fan participation, Holmes said.