Friday Grab Bag: Apple Refutes Multiple Product Rumors

Market research firm Strategy Analytics is reporting that Apple had a 48% market share of the estimated 40.6 million tablets that were shipped in the first quarter of 2013, followed by tablets that ran the Android operating system which own a 43% market share. Tablets that ran Windows had a 7.5% market share.

Overall the market has seen tremendous growth, surging 117% compared to the 18.7 million tablets that were sold in the same period a year ago.

Will Windows 8 Refresh Refresh Microsoft?
Microsoft has taken a beating in recent weeks as analysts and OEMs have pointed a finger at the company’s Windows 8 release as being a disaster and hurt both PC and tablet sales by Windows licensees.

The refresh of the operating system, called ‘Blue’ is reported to have changes to the UI and some subcomponent fixes. How it does will be very important, analysts told IT World, but it also needs to address a host of other issues including app shortage, pricing and enterprise adoption rates.

Apple’s Cook fries rumors
Apple has long been one of the companies that is always surrounded by a host of rumors. Will there be a new, cheap iPhone, is a new tablet coming out this month? You know the drill.

Now the company’s CEO Tim Cook refuted a few during his comments during Apple’s Q2 earnings call. So do not expect a new iPhone or iPad release soon, don’t look for a cheap iPhone and don’t expect a large format iPhone any time soon. For a fuller explanation of his comments head over here.

Speaking of Apple the company’s most recent earnings report showed that profits declined for the first time in almost 10 years. While that is bad the company did have $9.5 billion in profits from a total revenue of $43.6 billion. Last year’s first quarter saw the company report $11.6 billion profit on $39.2 billion in revenue.

LG becoming a factor in the smartphone world
While most of the talk in the smartphone market centers around a rare few, you can now add LG to the list as a player making an impact. The company reported that it sold 10.3 million smartphones in the first quarter of this year. It could see strong additional sales in the near future as it plans to ship its flagship Optimus G Pro in the U.S. next month.

Will 2013 be the year of the Android malware app?
An interesting piece in Forbes talks about how the slow rise of malware on smartphones is starting to gain momentum and all of that momentum appears pointed at the Android market. One security company reported that the Google Play Store had 35 apps that were infected with by a malware called BadNews.

Malware Growth a Threat to Mobile Users-Even Sports Fans


Almost every sports fan that I know has a host of different sports-centric apps on their tablets and smartphones covering everything from leagues wide news to ones that simply focus on an individual team or even player, but there are dangers lying in wait for them.

Everybody is aware that computers can get viruses and malware, annoying applets that do everything from track web sites that are visited to trying to steal passwords, address book and financial information. Now that threat is increasingly coming to mobile devices as well.

A report from antivirus detection company McAfee shows that malware for mobile devices is experiencing a tremendous upsurge and that it is primarily focused on one specific operating system, the Android platform.

The report shows that the rise in malware attacks is experiencing tremendous growth, coming from a relatively low of 792 samples in 2011 to 36,699 in 2012. Of those attacks 97% were against Google’s Android operating system.

While as far as I know no known sports apps have been the focus of a Trojan or any other attack but it is worth noting that it will only be a matter of time. Often scammers will use a tragedy to get past normally skeptical people and have them download an infected app.

The report shows that there are growing numbers of methods to gain complete control of a smartphone, and with the growing use of smartphones as banking and financial tools this could represent a great deal of danger to the average user.

Android, due to the openness of the platform, makes an obvious target for the mobile malware developer. Relatively closed platforms such as Apple’s iOS are much more secure, at least at this point in time.

Friday Grab Bag: Pre Black Friday Issue

Site takes you on Stadium Journey
Every year or so you see a story about some intrepid fans that are going to travel around the US and visit all of the ball parks during baseball season. A bit rarer but you also see people that try to hit all of the minor league fields on occasion.

Well if you are just an armchair traveler, or looking to do research about a sporting venue prior to leaving home then the folks at Stadium Journey have the site for you. Sure it covers all of the MLB parks with solid info and interesting photo montages, but that is the tip of the iceberg.

How about the Central Hockey League arenas? Or are you headed to Europe and want to see what Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United looks like before attending? Its there and much more. Of course there are gaps in its lineup, particularly in Europe and possible elsewhere (I did not carefully check each league) but it is a fun and informative site. One comment- in its AT&T review it mentions “blistering Candlestick”- try freezing Candlestick.

EA’s Twitter Campaign gets Results
Electronic Art’s decided to use a sponsored Twitter to promote its FIFA 12 video game several months ago it found that the social media site, couples with a focused time-sensitive ads brought solid results, 5%-8% higher than normal for Twitter-based campaigns.

The program had a 11% customer engagement was due to what EA said was its ability to take advantage of the traffic generated by the ads and so turn it into both sales but increased following for EA’s normal Twitter feed, thus setting up potential future sales as well.

For those of you that are scratching your head and wondering what FIFA is, it’s the The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) that hosts the World Cup every four years. You know, soccer.

Facebook is seeking another avenue into your soul
Rumors have it that Facebook is teaming with Taiwanese cellphone developer HTC to develop a customized Android-powered smartphone code-named ‘Buffy”. Buffy, really? This rumor is according to the blog All Things Digital.

The reason is clear why Facebook would want to move further into the mobile space, it already has 350 million mobile users and relationships with a huge number of mobile operators across the globe. Still this just brings the ESPN phone back to my mind.

However don’t hold your breath waiting to use this phone to poke your friends- Facebook still has a ways to go including signing carriers, designing and then building the devices so it is not expected for at least 12- 18 months.

Top iPhone Games-No football?
Ever wonder what sports apps you should have loaded on your iPhone, assuming you have an iPhone, so that when you finally tire of shooting birds at pigs while sitting in an airport lobby you can have something else to do?

Well a short list has been created at appolicious advisor, which brings in 5 programs that it touts as timeless- thus eliminating from consideration season focused apps such as SEC Football lite or NBA 2011-12 (is there such an app?)

The five that made the cut include Bill James Baseball IQ, ESPN Radio, PrePlay, Tiger Woods: My Swing and Yahoo Spectacular. Anybody have an issue with this or what they fell is better choices send them my way and maybe I will follow up with fan favorites.

Is Malware a threat on Android?
Google is in a verbal fight with at least one security expert over the threat that viruses and other malware present to the Android mobile operating system, according to a recent post at ITWorld.

On the one hand we have Google’s open source program manager Chris DiBona claiming that the virus and security software companies are a buch of charlatans and scammers and there is no problem.

On the flip side there is Denis Maslennikov, a senior malware analyst for Kaspersky Labs who claimed that the number of malware discoveries on Android has been growing and that in less than half a year the number has rapidly grown.

Have a great Turkey day and if you are stuffed and sitting on the sofa as the Macy’s Parade goes by look for my niece in the Homestead High marching band- she’s the cute one! And did you know there is an app to follow what is happening in the parade? Someone had too much time on their hands!