Friday Grab Bag: 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium isn’t a fit for MNF

The San Francisco 49ers will be playing in a brand new stadium next season but no matter how well the team performs on the field it looks unlikely that it will have any home games broadcast for Monday Night Football, at least for the first season.

The soon to be finished facility — in Santa Clara, Calif., well south of the team’s namesake city — does not have enough of its own parking spaces and is planning to use neighboring office lots for its weekend games but these spaces are in use when the fans start to arrive for the games on weekdays. According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News the team isn’t asking for any of the sought-after prime-time MNF games or the Thursday night games until it can figure out how to fit all the fans’ cars in lots jammed by the folks who work in Silicon Valley.

One option the team is now considering is asking its neighbors to change their work hours to accommodate the team. Wonder what Marissa Mayer thinks about that idea?

BlackBerry history
If you are one of the few, the proud, the remaining BlackBerry users this is a pretty interesting read from Bloomberg. It is an oral history of the rise and fall of the BlackBerry, a device that probably did more than any other to kill the pager and usher in the age of smartphones.

Bloomberg conducted dozens of interviews to get a good picture about the rise of the platform and then its sad decline. Interesting to see if any of the current tech behemoths will follow the same path.

Google Glass takes another hit
Google Glass may be banned in another state as Illinois is now considering banning drivers from using the wearable computing devices, joining Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Great Britain as well as sundry businesses and bars.

Mobile Marketer makes a spirited defense of the technology but it seems to me that they missed the point in a few places: they are not the same as a security camera and does anybody honestly believe that having a second image in front of a driver’s eye will make them safer?

A Heisman tale
As the college football season winds down the talk about who deserves the Heisman always starts coming to the forefront. Should they look at more than just offensive players, did so and so’s stats really put him in the race.

Well the Washington Post has taken a different tack and did a very interesting piece on the history of the first 78 trophies, where they are now and how they got there. It’s a fun read.

NBA to embrace its inner geek
Baseball in the last decade or so has undergone a revolution in the way that stats are looked at, with the time honored numbers such as RBIs, Wins and HRs getting re-evaluated in terms of how they relate to the team and individuals performance.

Football is also undergoing that same revolution to a smaller extent and now the NBA has joined the fun with the launch of web page that will feature detailed box scores and video from all of its games.

Super Bowl will be no walk in the park
The rules for parking, tailgating and generally schmoozing at the upcoming Super Bowl in New Jersey are out and it looks like if you are attending you had better leave the house early if you don’t want to miss the game.

No walking through the parking lots, you must either drive or take mass transit, no tailgating or BBQs allowed and a host of other restrictions. Who says that NFL stands for No Fun League?

Friday Grab Bag: Tablet Rumors Galore

With Apple, Samsung and others either preparing new tablets Amazon is also preparing a new set of releases.

As it does so it needs to rid itself of older inventory and so has cut the prices on existing models with the current generation Kindle Fire HD now starting at $159.

Samsung Smartwatch due next month?

With the changing of the leaves that herald the coming of fall, also so do the increased number of rumors about hi-tech products that are slated for the back to school market. The latest is that Samsung may beat the field to market with its smartwatch, delivered Sept. 4.

The news comes to us from Asia One, who are forwarding a tip from Sammobile, claim that Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch will make its first public appearance at the Samsung Unpacked Episode 2 event that starts on that day. Stay tuned.

LG Tablet in the works
Speaking of third hand rumors here is a report that a new tablet is about to emerge from LG that will be called the LG G Pad. It is expected to be in a 8.3-inch form factor that will feature a 1920 x 1200 display.

Other supposed details include a quad-core microprocessor, 2GB of memory and that is about it so far. Since no ship date was rumored we may see more details prior to a release.

Fox Sports 1 starts tomorrow
We mentioned it last week but it bears repeating that the latest rival to ESPN, Fox Sports 1, will start Saturday. It is expected to be available in 90 million homes on launch.

A piece at Sports on Earth really told the tale. It does not matter if the channel is more or less intellectual than ESPN, what will determine its success will be the number and quality of its live sports offerings.

Archos GamePad spotted via FCC filing
TechRadar is reporting that Archos looks to be refreshing its GamePad dedicated tablet device with a second generation offering ahead of what looks like a deluge this fall in similar products from a host of rivals.

Its first generation offering came out at the start of the year and now will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support in the latest offering. Expect to see a number of other dedicated pads from the likes of Amazon and others available soon as well.

BlackBerry up for sale?
BlackBerry’s board has formed a special committee that will be tasked with looking at strategic alternatives for the company’s future, including how to boost sales of its flagship Blackberry 10 smartphone.

It will look at the possibility of selling the company or try to enter into strategic partnerships or joint ventures with other companies.

MLB Comes to TiVo-Is there a Player it Does Not support?


One of the advantages of having MLB.TV Premium subscription has always been that you can use a variety of platforms to watch and listen to games, but until MLB added TiVo I never realized how many it actually did support.

TiVo users can now watch MLB games, subject to certain limitations, and the app is designed to take advantage of select features that come with TiVo. MLB integrated TiVo’s standard playback functions into the app, including the ability to pause, fast-forward and rewind or skip game action.

The MLB.TV is set up to deliver game viewing and video stream in a picture-in-graphic (PIG) or an “L bar” window to view the score while watching a game. There are a range of additional features from the relatively mundane ones such as stats and standings, favorite team selection, a choice of home or away broadcasters, and calendar view to one called “Jump to Inning” that permits users to jump back to the beginning of any inning in the game.

The addition of TiVo support is in line with MLB’s approach of delivering its programming and games to its audience in as wide a manner as possible. It has a number of mobile devices supported including Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Then there is the huge number of devices that support Google’s Android operating system and most recently added was support for the BlackBerry Z10.

Now I was aware of all of these but the other, more stationary platforms caught me by a bit of a surprise, although I have watched games on two of the platforms. There is the Sony Playstation 3, Samsung TV and Blu-ray Disc Player, Apple TV, Roku Player and Boxee. Then of course there is also Xbox 360, Sony TV and Blu-ray players and Western Digital TV Live.

It is too bad that other sports do not actively follow the lead of MLB, but I guess that the broadcasting contracts most likely prohibit them from doing so. Fans of many teams, say in football, are constantly subjected to a limited number of teams on national broadcasts, and if you live outside of your teams home base you may only see them once or twice on broadcast TV a season.

MLB adds Mobile Ticket Upgrade Feature to At Bat


Major League Baseball expands its mobile ticket program that allows for seat upgrades from four teams to 13 as it continues to be at the forefront of utilizing mobile technology to connect with fans.

Last year we reported that Major League Baseball had adopted Apple’s Passbook Ticket technology, a mobile ticket option that enables fans to upgrade seats. At the time MLB was rolling the program out in four ballparks across the nation as a test program.

In its most recent release of MLB AT Bat the ability to support Passbook, first available in Apple’s iOS 6 release, has been expanded to 13 teams. The basic gist of the app is that a fan can use it to get a seat upgrade via a paperless ticket while at the ballpark.

It was initially rolled out at the end of last year with four teams participating: the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. Additional teams that will now provide the service include the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs.

MLB executives, speaking at a fan event yesterday in New York City said that additional teams will be added during the season. It is also working to further integrate its teams with Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Last year’s push with Instagram is an example of that.

Each team will handle the upgrades on an individual basis, allowing for differences in how teams want to upgrade fans. I suspect that this will also help spur teams to enhance their existing wireless infrastructure to handle this type of transaction.

As most fans know the wireless experience at sporting venues is often very unsatisfactory, with slow and dropped connections a commonplace event. The effort to build, maintain and expand a network is complex, but teams are increasingly making the effort due to how necessary it is now in a connected world.

While it has been reported that Apple’s iOS users represent 70% of all MLB At Bat users, MLB recognizes that it will need to support the growing users of Android and other mobile operating systems. Its support for the BlackBerry this year is a sign of that but right now there is no announced cross platform support for this app.

Research in Motion has New Identity as BlackBerry 10 Arrives


Research in Motion’s comeback attempt starts today with the long awaited release of its next generation smartphone, the BlackBerry 10, a device the company is hoping will be the cornerstone of a revival in its fortune.

You have to give the company credit, it is not launching the new phone in a half hearted manner with events in New York City, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai and Johannesburg and its executives have informed the world that RIM no longer exists and that it will now be known as BlackBerry.

BlackBerry introduced a pair of phones, the BlackBerry Z10 which has an all touch interface and the BlackBerry Q10 that has touch features but also includes a physical keyboard.
The company originally made its name as a supplier of a phone that served as a top flight business tool and it has not abandoned its roots, although it has also taken major steps in providing features that general consumers demand as well.

Some of the highlights of the platform include a new fast browser that supports HTML5. The BlackBerry Storefront now features 70,000 apps for the BlackBerry 10 family, and while a far cry from the millions available for iPhone and Android platforms it is a good start. The phones also come with some very popular apps now pre-installed including Facebook and Twitter.

The BlackBerry Hub (BBH) is a place to manage work and personal e-mail and social media. It features a messaging app called the BlackBerry Messenger that includes call and voice chat features and a program that is designed to separate your work apps and data from personal content and keep them secure. There is a host of additional features, some smply enhanced from previous versions, included on the new phones.

The company desperately needs a winner here as its woes have been well documented as the once undisputed leader in first smartphones for businesses has witnessed a steady erosion of its sales and market share followed by its revenue and profits following the same downward spiral.

At the same time its rivals are keeping the pressure on BlackBerry. In what is becoming a common game of one-upmanship Samsung picked today as the day it also unveiled one of its latest smartphones, the Galaxy Express 4G.

Apple, one of the other major powers in the smartphone space has been regularly updating its iPhones on a regular basis and the Internet is full of speculation of a new iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and cheap iPhone or a mixture of all of the above. But you can be sure that the company has an aggressive rollout plan to attempt to maintain its position in the market.

MLB.Com’s At Bat Expands Ballpark with BlackBerry 10 Support

Research in Motion has a lot riding on the upcoming release of its next generation BlackBerry smartphones, the BlackBerry 10, but it now gains support from an important app market from which it has in the past been a virtual non-player, sports.

RIM is expected to unveil its latest smartphone next week at an event in New York City showing both a pair of handsets as well as its latest iteration of its operating system as the company seeks to halt the strong sales and user erosion that it has experienced in the past two years as new generations of smartphones have soared past it in popularity and sales.

The BlackBerry has long been viewed as a solid enterprise tool but was sadly lacking in apps and features that would help it expand out of its business centric sales, but this deal could be the start of a major change in that perspective.

Queue At Bat, one of the most popular apps available for smartphones, and one that seems to be the top app for some time for iPhone users. While pricing and availability details are not yet available, has said that the 2013 version will be available by Opening Day, or rather Opening Night, March 31, 2013.

At Bat is the official mobile app for Major League Baseball and has a huge array of features ranging from Winter Meetings news to analysis of what clubs are doing. Roster information, game scores, both this year and last are available as well as watching games and even for premium members, viewing classic games that are in baseball’s archives.

This is a strong move for RIM and should help it gain at least some credence in the consumer market space, helping break down the barrier from the enterprise into the bigger overall market. It will be interesting to see what other apps are available at announcement because even as popular as this one is, there is a lot of room for growth in this space by the company.