Friday Grab Bag: No $99 Kindle Fire, ESPN Carries Frisbee

Screen savers have come a long way since the days of flying toasters. Apple has just filed a patent entitled “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” that is designed to recognize when a iPhone, or other device, is in freefall and takes automatic steps to save the screen, according to Apple Insider.

It looks like the technology discussed in the patent is designed to do one of two things, either protect the data on the screen and in use or to realign the device while falling in order to have it land in a manner that will not damage the screen. Sounds a bit farfetched but would be interesting if real.

A nice look at Google Glass’ future
Google Glass has been an interesting platform since its introduction about a year ago, with people speculating on uses and at least one place already banning the as yet unreleased commercial model, but what are the real challenges and opportunities that they will provide users?

Mashable has a nice outlook piece of the platform that talks about a host of challenges that the platform will face from connectivity, how commands and control are implemented to safety issues that they might present. Head on over.

Athletic Directors Pay too high?
Sports on Earth’s Patrick Hruby has an interesting piece on the issue of paying college athletes, taking a different approach than most do by looking at how well paid executives in athletic departments are at top schools.

The issue is of importance because a lawsuit against the NCAA is slowly making its way through the court systems and the NCAA is saying that it will destroy amateurism in sports, although a cycnic might think that the organization was more concerned with its tax exempt status.

ESPN adds a new league with USA Ultimate deal
USA Ultimate may not ring a bell but now you will be able to watch its matches on the network’s channels as ESPN has reached a deal with the governing body of the sport of Ultimate Frisbee in the United States.

The deal calls for ESPN to broadcast the sports three major events; the College Champions, the US Open and the National Championship. There will be both live and tape delayed coverage on the network’s ESPN3 and ESPNU channels.

Survey Says: Mobile Apps win over mobile net
A survey run by Compuware found that the speed and convenience of mobile apps makes them a clear favorite among smartphone users over mobile web sites, with 85% of those surveyed giving the mobiles apps the thumbs up.

It looks as if the convenience factor was a major factor since the poll also showed that only 28% felt that the apps gave a better user experience. Another interesting fact from the study was that the number of apps that smartphone users have on their devices grew 28% last year and now stands at 41.

No $99 Kindle Fire
For the last several weeks there has been a rumor that Amazon was going to break new pricing ground by offering a version of the Kindle Fire for $99. It was supposed to be a 7-inch tablet and would ship later this year.

Not so fast Amazon has replied. Talking to Business Insider, as reported by the Inquistr, the company has responded saying that it is simply not happening. So it is no longer necessary to wait for the fall releases if you were waiting for that device.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Are Your Apps Tracking You?

In a move that is very likely to lead to even more patent conflict Apple has patented a mobile scroll bar, a patent that appears to cover portable devices with touchscreen displays and have a disappearing vertical scroll bar.

If that sounds familiar it is because it, or something very much like it, is widely used in the Android market. According to the Verge, Android has been using features such as this since version 2.1, so prepare for the worst.

Texting passes calling in popularity in UK

Text messaging has surpassed phone calls as the most popular method of communications in the United Kingdom, according to a report from Ofcom, an independent regulator of UK communications industries, which said that it found that 2/5 of all adults in the UK had a smartphone.

The trend is driven by younger users with 96% of people aged 16-24 using text messaging daily and only 67% in that age group using a phone for calling someone. Overall the use of phones for calls fell 1% from the previous year.

Nokia’s smartphone sales slump
Nokia reported another poor quarter as it smartphones continued to lose ground to rivals such as Samsung and Apple. The company reported that its net loss nearly quadrupled in the second quarter reached $1.72 billion compared to $450 million in the same period last year. However there were some bring points, its low end phone sales were strong and its Windows phone, the Lumia series, did not perform as poorly as had been anticipated.

Study finds 98% of Americans distrust Internet

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that an amazing 98% of Americans distrust the Internet and almost that many believe that bad things can happen if you act on information found there. Top reasons included outdated information and self promotional information. The real question is why is it so low?

Microsoft provides ship date for Windows 8
Microsoft has said that its next generation operating system, Windows 8, will ship on Oct. 26, 2012. So gentlemen start your engines since I expect a huge number of tablets using the OS to be announced on the same stage as the OS as a number of OEMs fight to be the next hot holiday property.

Windows phone slowly gaining ground
A recent report from market research firm Strategic Analytics, as reported in Cnet, shows that Windows phones moved from 3% of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011 to 4% in 2012. The report estimates that unit sales grew from 3.5 million to 5 million over that time period.

HTC countersues Apple
HTC has gone on the offensive against Apple by suing claiming that Apple infringes on two of its patents. The patents in question were purchased from Hewlett-Packard. Apple is suing HTC for patent issues as well.

Study finds Olympics helping electronic sales

A survey by found that 16% of consumers plan on buying consumer electronics devices to watch the Summer Olympics, an increase from the 13% it found with a similar survey four years ago prior to the Beijing Olympics.

19% of iPhone apps access Address Book
A study by security firm Bitdefender has found that 19% of iOS apps that it studied accessed a user’s address book, sometimes with permission and sometimes without permission, according to a piece in Forbes.

The study looked at 65,000 apps and found that not only did they look at the information but also uploaded it. A whopping 41% used the location based services features to track the users position, also without the users consent in most cases.

Microsoft posts first loss
After an enviable 26 year run as a profitable company Microsoft has posted its first loss in its most recently completed quarter. While the company reported that its revenue increased 4% year to year, reaching $18.06 billion it reported a loss for the quarter of $492 million compared to $5.9 billion for the same period a year ago.

The driving force behind the loss was a massive $6.19 billion write-down on its 2007 purchase of aQuantive. The company appears optimistic about its outlook for the rest of the year which will see at least two major launches, Windows 8 and Office 15.

Samsung Galaxy S3 sales soar
Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S3 has already hit 10 million in unit sales, and accomplished the feat in under two months, company executives said. As reported in Yonhap News, the company is selling 190,000 phones every day. The S3’s predecessor the S2 took five months to reach that sales figure.

Consumers slamming NBA mobile sports app downloads during playoffs

NBA Game Time app downloads up 250%

 There have been more than 680,000 downloads of the 2010-2011 National Basketball Association’s NBA Game Time free mobile application since the beginning of the playoffs, according to a report by Mashable.

The NBA Game Time surge marks another example of exponential growth in watching sports on iPads and smartphones when games really start to count. As reported, the NCAA’s March Madness on Demand (MMOD) application generated not only record downloads, but heavier than expected video downloads and longer user sessions then anticipated.


Turner Sports continues to lead in mobile sports production

In total, the NBA Game Time has exceeded 2.5 million downloads during its 82 regular-game season and playoffs, a 250 percent increase from the 2009-2010 campaign. NBA’s numbers were confirmed to Mashable by Turner Sports, which is in its third year managing digital properties for The Association.

The NBA's digital leader, Bryan Perez

Bryan Perez confirms NBA apps surging

NBA Digital senior vice president and general manager Bryan Perez told Mashable that NBA Basketball’s lightning-fast pace creates difficult production problems for a broadcaster, but the point has come where the games can be rendered quickly enough to provide consumers with a fulfilling experience.

 NBA Game Time is available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android, as well as such connected device platforms as Apple TV, Google TV and Vizio Internet apps.