NASCAR Names Hewlett-Packard a Technology Partner


Hewlett-Packard has expanded its relationship with NASCAR, originally formed last year, which will partner the two in devising ways that HP technology can enhance and advance the sport of auto racing with a focus on both engaging fans more closely and bring advertisers to specific segments of the fan base.

The move is part of a growing movement among sports teams and leagues to partner up with leading technology companies to take advantage of their expertise in a range of areas from fan engagement to operational efficiencies.

NASCAR has named HP an Official Technology Partner in a 3-year deal that will have the two engage in developing and using technologies that NASCAR says will catapult the sport to a new level via the adoption of cutting edge technologies.

Under the terms of the new agreement, NASCAR has named HP as an Official Technology Partner, underscoring a joint commitment to accelerate innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technology across the sport of NASCAR.

While the details of the agreement are vague, expect to see enhanced digital presence at NASCAR tracks with high speed wireless capabilities. NASCAR has a huge following but has seen a steady erosion of attendance at its events. Long traffic lines, limited views and none of the advanced ambiance that fans are now expecting at football and baseball stadiums can take its toll in term of attendance.

That will probably change, and for that matter has already started to change with the original agreement between the two last year that lead to the formation of the Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC). The FMEC is a tool that measures and analyzes information from a wide variety of media including video, social media, digital, television, print and radio. It takes the information derived from all of these sources and uses it to help further engage fans with NASCAR.

NASCAR has said that it is already seeing results from the FMEC with information tailored for specific segments of the NASCAR audience that can be used by NASCAR and its partners. The new deal will in part be an expansion of the FMEC effort as well as looking at new areas that the two can develop solutions.

In the past sports entities went about moving into the digital age quietly, adding a bit of Wi-Fi, a Facebook page or a mobile web site. They had partners for these efforts but they remained in the back ground for the most part. Now the partnerships are at the forefront as the advantages that the tech partner brings, as well as the prestige of the name, help increase fan awareness of the moves that the team or league is undergoing. Expect to see more along these lines such as the recent SAP/San Jose Sharks deal.

HP Goes Big with 21.5-inch Android Tablet


Hewlett-Packard appears to be bucking the trend once again in the tablet space, although this time it looks as if it will have less to lose than its first disastrous foray into the market. The company has introduced the HP Slate 21 AIO (All-in-One) that features a 21-inch display.

While tablets are gaining ground as a notebook replacement, this more than full sized offering could serve as a desktop replacement, although if you plan to hold it in your lap you might want to start super-sizing your meals now.

However you don’t need to worry about holding the Slate 21 AIO, it comes with a stand. It is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and unlike many other members of the AIO family it will be running on the Android operating system, version 4.2.2 to be exact.

While it may look like a desktop replacement due to its size, the company is touting its ability to be a home entertainment tool that can be shared among members of a household. However it does have a HP desktop productivity software including KingSoft office software.

The tablet is expected in September and hopefully the company will unveil additional features previous to the launch of the $399 devices. It did say that it will have 8GB of storage and a MicroSD card slot for additional storage expansion and it will feature three USB ports and a high definition web-cam.

Interestingly the price makes it the lowest Slate AIO offering from the company, however its others have Windows as the operating system and the Android OS is free, while Windows is not. It will be interesting to see how well the device does, many tablets are used while watching television and this might make a perfect second screen for sports fans.

Hewlett-Packard Expands Tablet/PC Options


Looking for a tablet? For a Notebook Computer? Want Android or are you sticking with Windows? It doesn’t matter because Hewlett-Packard has you covered in its latest platform releases in its HP SlateBook x2 and HP Split x2 offerings.

For a company that once abandoned tablets it now has some interesting offerings in this space while not abandoning the shrinking notebook market either.

The HP SlateBook x2 is the Android line of products and features the Jelly Bean 4.2.2 version of the operating system. It has a detachable keyboard that uses a magnetic hinge to connect to the 10.1-inch HD touch screen display.

The device is powered by an Nvida Tegra 4 processor and it comes with 64GB of storage. A cleaver feature is the inclusion of a battery in both the display and the keyboard, when attached you simply get a much longer product life.

If you are looking to maintain existing PC files you might look at the HP Split x2 that features the Windows 8 operating system and an Intel Core processor. It also features a detachable keyboard and has a 13.3-inch touch screen display.

It also has an extra battery in the keyboard, 2GB of memory and an optional hard drive is available for the expanded storage capabilities. The exact amount of storage was not clear from the company’s web page but since the hybrid models are not expected to ship until August it is very likely that additional details will emerge. The HP SlateBook x2 and HP Split x2 are expected have starting prices of $479.99 and $799.99, respectively.

Sony Upgrades Tablet Offering with Xperia Tablet Z


Sony has enhanced its tablet offerings with the Xperia Tablet Z that it debuted last week at the Mobile World Congress. Somehow this one flew under the radar last week, but it looks well worthwhile to recap since it looks like Sony has made major steps towards relevancy with its latest tablet offering.

While Samsung and Hewlett-Packard seemed to grab most of the attention for their tablet introductions the Sony offering is also one to take note of, and is a move to establish the company in the 10-inch space.

The Xperia Tablet Z features a 10.1 inch display that has 1920 x 1200 resolution capable of full 1080p HD. The tablet is water resistant and is powered by Qualcomm’s quad core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor. It has 2GB of RAM and can have a maximum of 64GB storage with an optional microSD card in the Wi-Fi version.

The tablet will be available in cellular and Wi-Fi only versions with the 16GB Wi-Fi models. The company’s press release did not give prices but it was reported elsewhere that the with the 16GB Wi-Fi models would be available for $499 and the 32GB model for $599, both from a Sony Store.

The tablet runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and will be upgradable to 4.2. It will include a pair of cameras, a 8MP rear camera as well as a 2MP HD front facing camera. For sound it includes the Sony S-Force Front Surround 3D and Sony’s Clear Audio+ mode capability.

The tablet includes other Sony technologies as well including its One-Touch functions to transfer content from tablet to either a TV, speaker or phone by touching them together. In addition it has a universal remote feature that enables it to remotely control Sony TV’s and other Sony built devices.

A key selling point of the tablet is weight, and while that may not seem obvious just looking at the raw numbers, it could end up being a top selling point. The smaller 7-inch tablets have been making strong inroads in terms of sales over the last six months or more. Many users I have talked with state that the weight of a 10-inch device simply is too much for one hand and they do not want to use it with both in many usage scenarios.

The Xperia Tablet Z is approximately a quarter pound lighter than the Nexus 10 and 2 mm thinner. It weighs 495 grams or 17.5 ounces and is 6.9 mm thick, thinner and lighter than the most recent iPad as well which is 9.4 mm thick and weighs 652 grams.

It seems like it will be much better accepted in the market than the unique Tablet S that Sony previously released. However there are tablets that have better features in individual categories such as display resolution, so a user will still have to make tradeoffs when purchasing one. However it appears that Sony has pushed itself into the space where it will be considered with other top offerings.

Friday Grab Bag: Firefox Smartphones and No Nook Future?

NFL has Concussion iPad app

The NFL is providing team doctors with an iPad application that is designed to help the doctors more accurately judge weather a player has a concussion or not. It was demonstrated last week at the annual NFL scouting combine.

It has creating a scoring system that can be used to quickly check if there is a large difference between the players’ baseline score and his gameday score. It will be used as one of the tools that a doctor will use to make gametime decisions.

Firefox for Phones
Mozilla has started showing its first commercial build of the Firefox operating system and has unveiled partners as part of its effort to move into the smartphone space, a move that has already garnered support from both phone makers and carriers.

The initial phones are expected to be from Alcatel One Touch, LG Electronics and ZTE, with Huawei Technologies also planning a late in the year release, according to Computerworld UK. 8 operators are also lining up behind Firefox OS, including América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Japan’s KDDI, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor, with the operators planning to first launch phones in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

Nook on the chopping block?
There has been talk that the founder of major bookseller Barnes & Nobles, Leonard Riggio, who just happens to be its chairman and largest shareholder, is looking at buying back the retail portion of the business.

He filed a plan with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the plan has no mention of its Nook and e-reader business. That portion of the business lost $262 million last year and reported a huge decline in sales over the recent holiday season, with revenue falling 25.9% in its Nook business.

2013 World Baseball Classic Starts Today
Or rather it starts broadcasting on the MLB Network, as teams have been fighting for position over the past several months in qualifying rounds. The first game pops up on the air at 11:30 p.m. ET and the network continues with all 39 games of the tournament including the Championship game that is scheduled to be played on Tuesday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

There are four pools of teams playing, each with four nations represented in each pool. The United States is matched up with Canada, Italy and Mexico and the games will be played in Phoenix between March 7-10.

Hewlett-Packard unloads webOS
Lost amid Hewlett-Packard’s announcement of a low cost Android tablet was the fact that the company has sold its webOS mobile operating system to LG Electronics which plans to use it in forthcoming Internet connected televisions.

HP’s current tablet, the Slate 7, is powered by the Android operating system but its first shot at the market was with its TouchPad, a tablet that was powered by the webOS operating system and was met with a very poor reception.

HP Enters the 7-inch Tablet Space with Slate 7


Hewlett-Packard, a company that may have experienced the most notorious crash and burn in the tablet space with the TouchPad has returned with a low cost Android device, the HP Slate 7, which it has introduced at the Mobile World Congress.

Unlike the last time when it used technology it had acquired from Palm as the operating system HP has gone mainstream and will be using the Android Jelly Bean operating system. In fact the company goes out of its way to tout the devices relationship with Google, talking about how it is the ideal platform for what it calls the Google Experience in its press release.

The $169 Slate 7 is the first of what appears to be a family of different products HP will be delivering that will target different market segments, according to a company executive. The company’s emphasis on its alliance with Google and promoting Google products and services also indicates a trend for the future, and one that might be a bad sign for Microsoft, which also has a partnership with HP. HP recently introduced a Chromebook, a notebook that run’s Google’s Chrome OS.

The Slate 7 is powered by an ARM dual core Cortex-A9 1.6GHz processor and will feature a 3 MP backward facing camera and a VGA front facing camera. The 7-inch display has a 1024 x 600 resolution and the tablet will feature 8GB of storage that is expandable via a microSD card.

HP already has a high end tablet which competes with the other 10-inch offerings from everybody from Microsoft, Samsung and Apple. Now it is seeking to establish itself against the iPad Minis, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fires. Hopefully HP can establish itself in this space, making the market more competitive.