Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Amazon Kindle Sales Soar after iPad Mini Launch

After Apple‘s executives disparaged rival 7-inch tablet makers, at least one has struck back. If you have visited Amazon’s home page you see a pretty good comparison between the Amazon Kindle HD and the Apple iPad Mini highlighting the advantages the Kindle has over the iPad.

In addition Amazon has announced that sales of the Kindle have spiked upward after Apple introduced the iPad Mini. Is the iPad Mini the hardware version of Apple’s Map apps — a second poorly thought out project that would have benefited from more time?

Apple sales soar also
However the news out of the Apple camp paints a slightly different picture as it has reported that the iPad Mini has almost sold out in pre-order. Mashable is reporting that four of the six Mini iPad SKUs are sold out at the Apple Store, and shipping dates have been pushed back because of the high demand.

It was rumored that Apple made an initial order of 10 million of the tablet devices and so if that is true the company has to be very happy about the results so far.

Samsung also claims sales increase after an Apple event
First high tech companies were planning events to steal a rival’s thunder and now it seems they are releasing press releases that claim that a rival’s new product actually help their sales. Amazon has done it with the iPad Mini (see above) and Samsung also now claims that sales of its Galaxy S3 smartphones took off after the iPhone 5 was announced. Well I guess this is better than a vaporware war.

No Google Android Event today
Google’s planned Android and possibly tablet announcement that was slated for today was rained out due to Hurricane Sandy. The event was planned for today in New York City hours prior to Microsoft’s Windows Phone Event in San Francisco.

That is too bad in one way. There have been a number of rumors and teaser videos that appear to show a 10-inch tablet that has a better screen resolution than Apple’s iPad and I would have been interested to see what they actually had in store. I am sure I will not have to wait long.

Apple working to improve Maps app
Apple has taken a good deal of heat over the quality, or lack thereof, of its new apps program that it is now using rather than Google Maps in the recently released Apple iOS 6.0. The company took time during its recent quarterly report to say that it is working night and day to improve the app and that more changes should be expected soon.

Motorola drops a few charges in Xbox case

In the ever changing set of lawsuits between Microsoft and Motorola you can now subtract a few issues, and amazingly it was not after a ruling by a judge. Motorola has asked the Federal Trade Commission to drop the Wi-Fi related patent infringement claims that involved in its lawsuit with Microsoft. The request does not affect the rest of the issues at play in the two’s global lawsuit battles.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Olympics a Big Win for NBC

The Pew Research Center has done a study on the Summer Olympics in London and U.S. viewership and the numbers are truly amazing, and must make the bean counters at NBC very happy indeed since it invested $1.12 billion for the broadcast rights.

According to the report 78% of Americans were watching the game either on broadcast television, online or on social media. TV is head and shoulders above any other option as the most popular viewing medium with 73% watching the big screen.

The approval ratings are very high as well, with 76% giving the broadcasts either an excellent (29%) or good rating (47%) with 13% said it was fair and 5% said it was poor. Looks like the “vocal minority” (as NBC execs called them) criticizing the games and the broadcast schedules on Twitter didn't keep their friends from watching.

Google gets $22.5 million fine over privacy breakdown
The Federal Trade Commission has come down hard on Internet search giant Google, hitting the company with a $22.5 million fine, the largest ever from the FTC, for its manipulation of Apple’s Safari browser.

Google has developed a method for tracking people Safari users and gather data on their activities, even though the company had promised not to do anything along this line. The move violated Google’s settlement with the FTC on a different issue, it concluded.

I wonder how this will impact Google’s current testing of using information garnered from users’ gmails to help come up with search results. I know that if this becomes a mainstream feature I am off gmail.

Nokia sheds app unit- puts more eggs in Microsoft’s basket

Nokia is parting way with its QT app tools unit, agreeing to sell the unit to Digia Oyj, Bloomberg reported. Nokia purchased the tool company back in 2008 when it needed its expertise to help create apps for two operating systems that Nokia owned at that time — MeeGo and Symbian.

It has since curtailed those operating system efforts and has been focusing on delivering phones that run on Microsoft’s operating systems. With that in mind it can now leverage the ecosystem that Microsoft is growing in terms of app development without a self funded effort.

Android and iOS dominate smartphone OS
The latest report from market research firm International Data Corp. s

hows that between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system the two own 85% of the smartphone OS market. I don’t think that this comes as much of a surprise to anyone, but it is great to see hard numbers on the issue.

Overall in the second quarter of 2012 IDC found that Android phones had 104.8 million units shipped good for a 68.1% market share while Apple’s iOS had 26 million iOS products shipped, good for a 16.9% share. Samsung appears to be the big winner, accounting for 44% of all Android phones in the second quarter of this year. BlackBerry came in third at 7.4 million units and a 4.8% market share.

Facebook settles privacy issue with FTC
The Federal Trade Commission has reached a final settlement with Facebook over what users’ personal data Facebook can expose. The company will now need an explicit ‘opt in’ from the user before it can change the types of information that it will make public. Facebook will also face an audit every other year for the next 20 years to ensure compliance.

Apple vs. Samsung Week 2
Nothing earth shattering has come out of this lingering case. It looks like an iPhone, it does not look like an iPhone. Does Samsung’s products confuse consumers or are they already confused? One interesting piece of information was the total iPhone sales in the platforms five years of existence. In the US market the company has sold 85 million iPhones, good for a hefty $50 million. It sold 34 million iPads in the US market in the last two years, good for $19 billion in revenue. It appears Apple warned Samsung in 2010 that it believed that Samsung was infringing on Apple patents and that it wanted between $30-$40 per device in licensing fees.

Smartphones pay off for Microsoft, just not how you would expect
Microsoft is still seeking to establish a major presence in the smartphone space, trailing Android, iOS and even Symbian-based devices, but if a report from Trefis is correct, it still rakes in the big dollars in the smartphone market.

The reason is patents, and some of the most successful players in the smartphone space including Samsung and HTC, pay Microsoft a bundle in royalty payments each quarter. According to a piece in Yahoo news, Microsoft made approximately $792 million in the second quarter of 2012 just from the two companies mentioned.


Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Windows 8 apps, Motorola’s FTC Issues

Just days after Apple received an injunction banning Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 being imported into the United States Apple has received a second injunction against Samsung. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who granted the first injunction, has also granted one that prevents the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

As with the first injunction Apple must first post a bond, this time $96 million to cover damages if the case is ultimately decided in Samsung’s favor. The judge ruled that it was likely that Samsung infringed on four Apple patents.

FTC looking at Motorola patent licensing practices
The Federal Trade Commission is looking at how Motorola licenses its patents with an eye out as to how the company deals with licenses for its patents that are adopted as industry standards. The FTC has sent investigative demands to the company this week, according to Electronista.

The FTC is examining if Google is living up to its requirements to meet fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing of the patents and follows a similar investigation that has just been opened by the European on FRAND violations. A ruling against Motorola could have a major impact on the various lawsuits it currently has ongoing with rivals such as Apple and Microsoft.

HP eyes business with next generation tablet
Hewlett-Packard has said that its first Windows 8 tablet will not chase the consumer market but will instead be focused on the business side of the industry. The first offering will run on an x86 processor and run Windows 8.

It does possibly also plan on offering an ARM-based system that will use the Windows RT version of Windows 8 for consumers but has not publicly committed to that move just yet, according to PCWorld.

Asus to release Audio Dock for Nexus 7

Asus, Google’s manufacturing partner for its Nexus 7 has said that it plans to release an Audio Dock for the tablet later this year. According to Pocket-Lint it will be designed to look as if it is part of the Nexus 7 and will also come in black.

The dock will be designed to charge the tablet as well as hold it upright so that a user can watch videos at the same time, according to the article.

Pebble smartwatch unveils SDK

The Pebble e-paper smartwatch, the poster child for Kickstarter success stories, has taken its next step to mainstream product with the release of its software developer kit at the Google I/O show last week. It will be interesting to see if the support from the developer community matches the huge support it received from individual investors.

Upcoming Summer Olympics fuel increased spam

Silicon Angle is reporting that there has been an upsurge in spam that is seeking to exploit fans interest in the upcoming Summer Olympics in London. Seeking to plant malware on your system or just pushing some product that you have never heard of or care for it does not matter, they are coming for you.

According to the article, the number of message titles is large and growing. An example includes:
• 2012 Games Entertainments Co-ordinator
• 2012 Olympic Draws
• 2012 Olympic Promo
• 2012 Olympic Promotion Board United Kingdom – South Africa
• 2012 Olympics, A Lottery For The Future
• 2012 Summer Olympic Lottery
• 2012 Summer Olympic/Paralympic Games

Microsoft thinks global with Windows 8 apps
Microsoft has said that when it starts shipping its upcoming Windows 8 operating system users in 180 countries will be able to have access to the growing number of apps being developed for the operating system. While the list is a work in progress the company said that most nations will have access to ts Marketplace and App hub. According to PC Mag, apps are currently available in only 63 countries for the current Windows Phone and Windows 7 operating systems.

Nielsen starts tracking top YouTube Channels

Nielsen has started tracking streaming video on YouTube’s growing family of partners and the first results are in about who is included in the Top 5 . The race is led by Vevo, followed by WMG, Machinima, Fullscreen and Maker.

The names in some cases might not ring a bell, but the traffic is enough to make you stand up and take notice. Vevo has 695 million streams and 41 million unique viewers! Maker, the #5 drew in an impressive 9.6 million unique viewers. All of this is just for the month of May, 2012. One interesting tidbit was that more than half of the viewers to each channel were under 35 years of age.