Nike delivers new FuelBand and a developers program


With the original introduction of the Nike + FuelBand last year users were presented with a tool that enabled them to track their activities and monitor their exercise of a daily, hourly or even by the second basis.

However active and inactive users learned that the system could be gamed and you could increase your ratings by doing such activities as punching the air. It also fell down on some activities that while strenuous, simply did not register, such as yoga.

Now Nike has come out with a new generation of FuelBands, the Nike + FuelBand SE that not only address the flaws in the first generation but have enhanced features that help you monitor additional activities and even count calories when you are inactive, such as when sleeping.

At a press event in New York that sometimes resembled a calisthenics class the company showed off the latest technology and ran it through its paces, with an assist from some of the more energetic members of the audience.

The company took all of the data that it had accumulated over the past year to fine tune its algorithms that are the heart of the monitoring program and to improve its measurement and tracking capabilities. The band uses Bluetooth 4 technology to connect to the related Nike+ FuelBand app.

The band comes with features that are designed to help motivate you to be active including one called “Win the Hour” that tracks each hour’s total movement that features built-in reminders. Then there is “Fuel Rate” that helps you see how much fuel is being earned. The bands have color coded signals to let you know where you rate. There are others such as “Milestones”, “Nike + Move” app and more.

Nike is also looking to expand the ecosystem of the FuelBand by teaming with developers that will use the NikeFuel APIs in a program called the Nike + Fuel Lab, an enhanced version of what it had been doing with its Nike + Accelerator program.

A downside to the band is there is no apparent Android support as of yet. Android users will have to go to the company’s web site for tracking and information purposes. It does support Apple’s operating system. iOS 7.

The Nike+ FuelBand SE is available for preorder now and will be available beginning Nov. 6 in the current Nike+ FuelBand countries of U.S., Canada, and the UK and for the first time in France, Germany and Japan. The Nike+ FuelBand SE will launch in Black and the Sport Pack colors of Volt, Pink Foil or Total Crimson priced at $149.

SideDraft App Designed for Peer-to-Peer NFL Fantasy Betting


So you have won your NFL Fantasy League for 2 years running and are now looking for greater fields for your talent? Then you might give a new mobile app, SideDraft, a try and see how you do with the cash prizes as the goal at the end of the rainbow.

The app, slated to be released Sept. 17 by Blue Ox Entertainment, is a departure from traditional fantasy football programs in that a player’s lineup is different each week, or against each new opponent, so while your powerhouse team may not be able to dominate for a season, conversely if several of your star players turn out to be monumental busts you are not stuck with them for 16 games either.

A player funds his account and then SideDraft has a player draft each week. A player selects a payout that can range from nothing to $1,000. They then select an opponent and the two have a draft, each alternating for six selections each.

Then the real players hit the field and accumulate points for their respective teams, and obviously the one with the most points wins. The app tracks the games in real time and afterwards it’s time to brag or hang your head low, depending on the outcome. That and collect your winnings if you fell into the first category.

Depending on your confidence and budget a player is not limited to a single match each week but can offer multiple challenges and field a number of teams, using the week between games to conduct the drafts needed to fill out their fantasy rosters.

SideDraft officially launches Sept. 17 and initially will only be available on iPhones and iPads.

The area of sports and social betting is one that apps have been addressing for some time, and while it’s hard to judge it does not look as if any have really risen to the top of the pack. In part that is likely because there is such an overwhelming number of apps out there that even interested parties have a tough time sorting through the chaff to find the gems.

This is Blue Ox Entertainment’s second dip into the betting pool, with its SideBet app having been released in 2011 and then updated and enhanced last year, an app that enables individuals to bet against each other. There have been a variety of other betting apps released such as 2Bet2, GrabFan and Pickmoto.

Pro Football seems like it has the potential to be the space that breaks open this market. Its national viewership is massive. According to Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), more than 23 million Americans will play fantasy football in 2013, and NFL betting is the single largest betting segment at sportsbooks, so SideDraft has a huge potential market to draw from. It will be interesting to see if it can gain the market awareness needed to break out in this space.

Turner Sports Goes All-in On PGA Championship Coverage


The 95th PGA Championship is being held at the Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course in Rochester, N.Y. and if you cannot catch any (or all) of TNT’s 18 hours of broadcast coverage there are other options that will enable you to stay abreast of the tournament.

Turner Sports is seeking to provide one of the broadest multimedia sports presentations possible with its coverage of the PGA Championship starting tomorrow, the 23rd consecutive year that the network has covered the event.

There is first off PGA.Com, an online site that provides users with a variety of features about the event but possibly the most important for remote fans is that it provides live streaming via PGA Championship Live. It is designed for not only PC users but also available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Among the features available from the app are a 360-degree camera that provides a panoramic view of the course and it has the ability to allow users to move the camera to get a view that matches their desire (aside from being there live). Fans can also look for highlights via its Video Highlight Hub so that they can witness all of the top moments and will allow fans to search and browse by player, round, hole or top moment from the 2013 PGA Championship.

For desktop users there is also a function that provides bird’s eye view of the interaction between players with an enhanced leaderboard that not only provides scores and highlights but also players interaction with each other around each hole

For mobile users there are also some specific features available as Turner has expanded its app from last year and added Android support in addition to the existing iOS features, although they offer slightly different features. For iOS users the user news, video alerts, detailed leaderboard and scorecards and access to live video streaming. The mobile web site will also offer live video, score updates and other news.


Turner is not forgetting social media and has a number of new, improved or returning features. In the new category s Twitter Mirror showing shots and comments from players that fans can view @PGA.Com. Twitter will also be showing video highlights at the Twitter address and fans can participate in join a chat site that will include journalists and players at #PGAChamp.

Turner is also offering a variety of extras such as Predict It, an interactive tournament prediction feature and “PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus” that will enable fans to select the location of the famous Par 3 on the 15th hole.

New iPhone App Designed to Help Golfers’ Short Game


All golfers have a part (or parts) of their game that vexes them continually. Short off the tee, poor game in the rough or in the sand, you name an area and someone has trouble with it, but it often seems that putting is where many are found to throw their clubs.

The problems can be from just having a case of the yips to misreading the green. Now StrackaLine has developed an app for iPhones, iPods and iPads that it believes will help with at least on part of the problem, reading the green.

The StrackaLine app features the topography of hundreds of course and used 3D laser technology to collect the data from every green on those courses. It has the ability to calculate the users’ position and proper putting line in real time.

It provides a 2D and 3D view of each putting green that features Fall Line arrows that will tell you the shape of the green so that you can figure the proper line. The app features a demo mode that users can play with to see how it works. The demo mode features holes from a number of famous courses including Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, and Torrey Pines.

The company is just getting started and so there is obviously a huge number of courses that have not yet been scanned, so remember this when you are purchasing the $19.99 app. It currently includes 30 courses that are on the PGA Pro tour. While only available for the Apple iOS platform the company said that it will have an Android version available, but not until next year.

Mozilla to Build Firefox Driven Tablet?


The latest and greatest rumor going around is that Mozilla, the non-profit behind the popular Firefox operating system, may be looking to create a tablet that will use the Firefox operating system.

The rumor has a kernel of truth, something that many often do not, in at least Mozilla is announcing a new hardware product next Monday, it just has declined to say what it is and what the target market for the product will be.

The move is not that surprising if it is a tablet since it would fit in with its Open Web initiative that includes the first commercial build of the Firefox OS and efforts to build a global ecosystem for that OS that has already gained 18 operators including Alcatel, Deutsch Telecom, Telefonica, Sprint, Qtel and others. However this move was for smartphones so it seems logical that the next step would be for tablets.

The question seems to be why would the company enter the tablet space rather than license it out to the market as it is doing in the smartphone space? At the time of the Open Web push, back in February at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona the company said that hardware was in its future and I believe that many expected it to be a smartphone, considering the circumstances of the announcement.

It said that it is working with manufacturers Alcatel (TCL), LG and ZTE, with Huawei to follow later on to build the first Firefox OS devices. They will all be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor family. But it was not ignoring the content side and said that it has signed strategic relationships with key content and service partners. It should be noted that at the time it specifically said that all of this was for smartphones.

So will we see a series of smartphones from Mozilla and partners Monday or will we see a tablet? It will be interesting to see which it is. One thing for sure is that Mozilla has said that Foxconn, the company that does a great deal of work with Apple in building its iOS products, will be the manufacturing partner.

Friday Grab Bag: ESPN Gets US Open, Qualcomm Adds Kaspersky

The dangers of getting malware and viruses on Android devices could be lessened greatly due to a deal that has Qualcomm preloading security firm Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security products into Qualcomm’s silicon that is used to power over a 1,000 different smartphones.

According to Kaspersky the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor can be found in 770 commercially available or announced products as well as in another 550 products that are in some stage of the product design pipeline.

ESPN Gets US Open

ESPN has once again expanded its tennis coverage with the signing of an 11-year deal with the USTA, taking the coverage away from long time USTA broadcast partner CBS. The $770 million deal will start in 2015.

This deal will move the entire tournament to cable after an over the air broadcast run on CBS that started in 1968. CBS will be broadcasting the next two tournaments before its current contract expires.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone making market gains
Microsoft’s Windows Phone is slowly gaining a stronger position in the overall handset market and according to the latest numbers from market research firm International Data Corp. (as reported by Pocket-Lint) it has now passed the BlackBerry OS and moved into third place.

The leader, by a hefty margin, is the Android operating system, which has a 75% market share in the first quarter of 2013 followed by Apple’s iOS which has a 17.3% market share. Windows has 3.2% while BlackBerry has 2.9%.

Will Microsoft remake Windows RT
PC World has an interesting piece on the future of Windows RT, the alternative to Windows 8 for tablet users in the Microsoft world. Met with at best lackluster acceptance, analysts are saying the OEM pricing has to drop and the focus needs fine tuning.

Microsoft has said that it has no intention of killing the platform, which it is positioning as an alternative to the Android and Apple iOS platforms for users that do not want the Windows option either. However right now Apple still has a great deal of cache in the market while Android is offered for free so developers can easily undercut Windows RT devices.

Google announces streaming music service
In case you were out of touch this week Google held its annual Google I/O conference and there was a host of announcements that burst forth from the event. Probably the one that held the most interest is the unveiling of its streaming music service.

The Google Play All Music Access service is expected to rival an expected one from Apple as well as existing ones such as Spotify. It has many features similar to what Pandora offers including a thumb up or down on songs and the ability to load in your own music. It will have a $9.99 monthly fee.

Windows “Blue” due next month

The upgrade to Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, version 8.1 and commonly called Windows Blue, will be previewed on June 26 and will be available for free to over 100 million registered users of Windows 8.