Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Happy Cyber Monday

Apple is seeking to keep the pressure on Samsung in the legal game and this week has extended its infringement motion against Samsung to now include the Galaxy S3 Mini, the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Rugby Pro according to TechRadar.

The move looks to be in retaliation for a similar push by Samsung which has added Apple’s iPad Mini and iPhone 5 to a list of devices that it claims infringe on its patents.

Tablet shipments top laptops in October
You knew that the day when tablets would pass PCs was coming, but there had been estimates that it would not occur for some time. Apparently those predictions were wrong. According to market research firm NPD Display Search, tablet sales passed laptop sales last month, based on its following of the panels used in both products. In October there was an estimated 16.9 million notebook panels shipped while there was an estimated 18.7 tablet panels shipped. However this may be a one month blip as the researchers also said that there were many notebook buyers holding back until after Windows 8 shipped.

Instagram rules on Thanksgiving
This is probably a no-brainer out there for most people but Thanksgiving was Instagram’s biggest day ever. The photo imaging service reported that it averaged 226 photos posted per second over a 24-hour period, with a total of 10 million photos shared over Thanksgiving. That is a lot of turkey. Or a lot of turkey pictures, anyway.

Microsoft planning a set-top box?
According to the Verge, Microsoft has an Xbox TV in the works that it has slated for release sometime in 2013. The device will enable streaming video as well as serve as a platform for the casual gamer, according to the article.

Most likely to be release roughly a year from now it will represent a two SKU strategy for Microsoft in the Xbox space with a dedicated Xbox that supports higher end games and the TV/Xbox combo for the everyday user.

Motorola repeats request for Apple Source Code
As part of one of its lawsuits against Apple, Motorola Mobility has requested access to Apple’s source code. Five times now, but who is counting? Motorola made the first request last May according to a story in the Inquisitr, and has now just made its fifth.

The case is being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The request is for the source code for both the Mac OS X and iOS and Motorola is also asking for a specific date from Apple on when it plans to hand over the code.

Kickstarter kicked
Kickstarter launched a bit over a month ago in the United Kingdom and it now looks like one of is first projects is going to cause the crowdfunding site a few headaches. A successful funding effort landed a startup called Formlab over 2 million pounds.

Birthed from MIT’s Media Lab, Formlab is developing a 3D printer, however 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers is claiming patent infringement and has sued the startup, as well as Kickstarter. The issue is over how a laser causes a synthetic substance to solidify as part of the 3D process.

According to a piece in PC Adviser, Kickstarter is also being sued by a rival crowd funding company called ArtistShare over the use of a database software program and how it can be used.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Nokia Tablet and Kindle Tidbits

Intel has reported that softer than expected demand for PCs along with partners reducing inventory has

led the company to lower its revenue forecast for the third quarter. The company now expects third-quarter revenue to be $13.2 billion, plus or minus $300 million, compared to the previous expectation of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion.

Google buys security firm Virus Total
Google has added another company to its portfolio with its acquisition of internet security firm Virus Total. Virus Total is a free service that analyzes files and URLs looking for worms, viruses and other types of malware.

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will provide Google with another tool to help eliminate malware and other unwanted travelers in its Gmail and other programs.

Will iPhone 5 support 4G LTE?
One of the interesting rumors that have been making the rounds over the last few weeks is that if Apple introduces the iPhone 5 with 4G LTE support Samsung will instantly sue Apple. Apparently Samsung owns a great number of important patents in this area and believes it can use them to strike back at Apple.

Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the phones will indeed support LTE, but possibly not in every country. The lack of access to the new high speed networks would have placed Apple at a competitive disadvantage to rivals that already feature support.

Kindle Fire HD to use Bing as default search engine
Chalk one up for Microsoft which has landed its Bing browser on the just announced Kindle Fire HD tablets, replacing rival Google. Users do have the option to change the search engine, according to a piece in ars technical.

Speaking of the Kindle, it looks like there will be permanent ads on both the revamped older Kindle models as well as on the new line of Kindle Fire HD tablets. According to Mashable, Amazon will include its Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers on the lock screen and lower left hand corner of the home screen.

Well that did not take long. An hour after I wrote the above paragraph I saw that Cnet is reporting that Amazon has backtracked and will now allow users to opt out of the ads, for a $15 fee. Great, maybe I will opt in to a Nexus 7 instead as well.

However all is not well as it looks like Amazon will be tracking Kindle users’ online behavior. According to Tech Crunch, Amazon will update its Silk browser to include a ’trending now’ feature that shows what web pages and issues are hot. For now it looks like there is an opt out ability.

Kickstarter projects have raised $347 million

We have not reported on much from Kickstarter lately, in part because it seems to be increasingly funding video games and projects that just don’t appeal to us. However they are appealing to someone as Forbes has reported that the crowd funding site has raised $347 million for projects. An interesting tidbit is that $274.5 million has been spent on US-based efforts, so there is still a huge growth opportunity internationally.

Nokia hints at a tablet in its future
During its Windows Phone 8 smartphone rollout last week it appears that the company’s executives hinted at the possibility that the company would enter the tablet business, according Fast Company. The company’s CEO, Stephen Elop said that with Nokia’s strength in the mobile space other aspects of that market present a real opportunity for it.

Cookoo seeks to follow in Pebble’s Footsteps

Another connected watch; this time from developer ConnectedDevice called the Cookoo Connected Watch has found its way to the land of hopeful investors that is Kickstarter. The offering is less ambitious than what Pebble is seeking to deliver but also comes in what appears to be a much sleeker package.

The Cookoo seeks to strip down the connected device experience to the basics. It connects to either an Android or iOS powered device via Bluetooth and lets you know if you have received a call, text, Facebook notification and a few other settings. Using its app a user can set what information it will alert them to and how, either a buzz or a vibration. The appropriate icon on the watch will flash when a notification is required.

The watch uses a regular watch battery and is not rechargeable but the company estimates that an average user will get a year’s activity per battery. It is expected to have a $99.95 list price when available. On Kickstarter the Cookoo has so far raised $25,094 of its goal of $150,000 with 357 backers. It has 43 days to go before the make or break it deadline.

While many of the emerging class of connected accessories have a sports aspect to them, goggles that show ski terrain, a watch that show the distance to the pin in golf for instance. While Pebble is not designed specifically for that the first apps emerging are sports related.

However the Cookoo may be the validation for this type of endeavor even if it is not sports related. Hauling out your smartphone to look at the time, or check text messages is increasingly frowned on in meetings as management wants your attention. By simply looking at your watch to see if a text has arrived, to check your calendar and the few other functions could really make the device beneficial.

It is interesting in that the runaway success of Pebble’s could have some negative aspects. The products developers were seeking $100,000 and received backing of $10,266,845. Maybe a bit of overkill?

The issue here is taxes. The company’s product is not yet available, and yet it will soon have revenue of $10 million, so it seems that developers using crowd funding had better read up on this aspect of their business plan quickly.

New Crowd Funding site Fundable to Challenge Kickstarter

A new player has entered the crowd funding scene called Fundable and it will also seek to connect startup companies and developers with backers that are willing to provide funds in exchange for rewards such as early versions of products.

The model looks very familiar to others in this space such as Kickstarter in that it is an all or nothing funding model and that there is a time limit involved, and if the funding does not make it to the stated goal they get nothing. The main difference may be that Fundable will seek to fund for-profit companies, while Kickstarter is all about creative projects, like literature, movies and the like.

By that token Fundable is expected to go one step farther than its rivals. According to its downloadable fact sheet, but not mentioned at all on its general web page is the fact that the company will also enable startups to offer equity in return for investments.

It looks as if the difference for investors is that they can in most cases invest as little as $1 in the rewards section but significantly more, say $5,000 in the equity investment side of the equation.

I have been increasingly interested in the crowd funding phenomenon, and have wondered if it will have legs. It’s nice to get a first generation product from a company or some sort of reward for investing a few dollars in a startup, but it has seemed to me that after the initial fun, the appeal would wane.

At least one recent study seems to bear that out when it showed that the average investor in a crowd funding company invests in only two projects, but the whole environment is very new, only being allowed in the United States after a bill was passed last April that enabled a much wider pool of people to invest in startups.

Fundable’s approach, at least to me, has a lot more long term appeal. While getting a Pebble watch for instance would be nice, getting a check larger than my investment might be even nicer.

According to coverage in Mashable it looks like the company needs to get approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission as a broker in order to handle investments and I suspect that is why it is not touting its equity option strongly. I expect that once approval is gained that will change and it will be interesting to see how this move changes the market, if at all.

Crowdfunding Investments Estimated to Reach $3 Billion in 2012

I believe that I was like a great many others who when they heard the term ‘crowdfunding’ kind of pretended that I understood what it meant and then merrily went on my way without really giving it a second thought.

Then earlier this year I started running into a number of interesting products that were starting to get funding in that manner, starting with the Pebble watch. I find the whole trend very interesting and I think it’s a great boon to small developers who have great ideas but no expertise or experience in fund raising. It’s especially interesting to sports-related projects, since many of the developers of apps or devices are fans or enthusiastic athletes at heart and not necessarily business-minded as say, an investment banker or a Silicon Valley entrpreneur.

Now Venture Beat talks about how big this trend has become and estimates and where it is going and it is much bigger than I would have suspected. According to the piece which quotes a report from market research firm Massolution the industry raised $1.5 billion last year.

The research paper, called the Crowdfunding Industry Report also predicted that there was 1 million crowdfunding efforts over the course of last year and that $837 million came from North America. It breaks down the efforts into four basic categories: equity-based, donation-based, lending-based, and reward-based.

According to the report the market is expected to double this year. I know of at least two people considering heading this way for seed fund for their future developments and I am really fascinated by how this is all working out. You are also seeing a growing number of companies or sites seeking to be the home of a crowdfunding effort. There is Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, AppStori, and others are out there already.

AppStori seeks to self fund App Developers-Microsoft delivers strict App guidelines

I have already said that I enjoy seeing developers apply for funding from Kickstarter, but it has seemed to me that the platform is pretty much device or material oriented. Now an emerging effort is coming on line that will provide a similar opportunity for mobile developers.

Called AppStori, it is a platform that is designed to provide funding opportunities for startups that are developing mobile apps and related technology. Touting itself as a site that brings together mobile enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and developers it has a self funding model that looks a great deal like Kisckstarter.

The goal is to help eliminate funding as an issue to getting an app to market, or at least getting it a good head start. Aside from the funding aspect there is an interesting twist, interaction between users/investors and the design teams.

By posting questions, comments and feedback on project users can also get early access to software, recognition and other benefits. In addition you can offer to join teams and so it could become in some ways an ad hoc job board for developers looking for projects.

There is no cost to get a project listed but it does need to be approved to be on the site. I think that this will be an interesting site to follow to see what is popular and what gets the final green light by getting the greenbacks.

Speaking of apps it has been reported by the BBC that Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace Guidelines ban content that a reasonable person would consider to be adult or borderline adult content, and that Microsoft plans to take a very stringent interpretation of this rule.

The idea here is to get parents feeling comfortable that their children will not be able to download racy apps without their knowing about it. Apple has a very similar policy regarding apps from its iTunes store.