Hewlett-Packard takes wraps off Windows 8 Tablet

Last week we gave a very bare bones comment on the pending Windows 8 tablet that will be coming from Hewlett-Packard but this week the company provided a full outline of what the tablet will feature and when to expect it to arrive.

To answer the last point first don’t look for it this holiday season as its expected ship date will be in 2013. The reason for this is that it is a business-focused product, as the company had previously said about its reentry into the tablet space.

While normally business products are not of much interest here at Mobile Sports Report, a portable device such as a tablet is still a natural for sports viewing as well as using the growing number of fantasy and betting apps emerging. I mean whose NCAA basketball pool is not run out of their office?

The HP ElitePad 900 will be a 1.5 lb tablet that features a 10.1-inch display with 1280×800 resolution with an aluminum case and Gorilla Glass 2. The company is touting its durability and ability to withstand shock.

It will be powered by Intel’s Z2760 Atom processor, formerly known as Clover Trail and will run the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. HP sees the use of this set of processor and operating system as enabling businesses to run their mainstream productivity applications. It is designed for Windows 8 and supports touch-, pen- or voice-based input.

It will come with 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage that is expandable to 64GB and there is a microSD slot. It has dual cameras with a front facing camera that is capable of 1080p video and an 8MP rear facing camera

It is designed to dock with a keyboard and HP is offering host of accessories for the tablet, most of them business focused including the ElitePad Expansion Jacket that features an integrated keyboard and connectivity ports.

HP expects to ship the tablet in January and will announce the price closer to the release dat. Expect a number of others including Dell and Lenovo to focus a good deal of attention to the business space for their upcoming tablets as well.

Friday Grab Bag: Sugar Bowl not so Sweet?

Virginia Tech in for a loss again on bowl game ticket sales?
Virginia Tech is on the way to selling 57% of its allotment of tickets to the Sugar Bowl, where the Hokies will face the Michigan Wolverines on Jan 3. 2012. The team reports that it expects to sell roughly 10,000 of its 17,500 tickets.

The team blames the Tuesday night game time as well as the readily availability to tickets in the secondary market. No comment on the fact that the cheapest ticket is $125. The Big Lead reported that the school is asking fans to buy proxy tickets to donate to various charities and the military.

So why is this news? Well last year the team also went to a bowl game, and also did not sell out its allocation of tickets. However the kindly NCAA does not simply allow you to send back the unneeded excess tickets. That is because many of the bowl games that we are about to be inundated with not actually sell out and how will the director justify a half million salary if the bowl does not turn a profit.

Top Linux predictions for 2012.
I love the end of the year predictions. I do not track them to see if they are accurate on an annual basis but do like to look back on occasion to see when the hover car was supposed to be here. Still when made by informed people they often do give insight into trends, be they sports, social or otherwise.

The Linux Insider has posted its Top 5 Linux predictions for the upcoming year and if they are accurate, or even near misses, it looks as if a lot of activity will be moving from the desktop and into mobile, cloud and consumer platforms.

I think this spells good news for users, Linux users and others, since competition should help continue a flow of new and innovative products and technologies. One interesting prediction is that all of the mobile and cloud growth will harm its efforts n the desktop- as well as help it. Read the reviews to see what you believe.

ESPN to broadcast many NCAA championships in $500m deal
The NCAA has expanded its multi-decade deal with ESPN that calls for the sports network to broadcast a huge range of the NCAA’s championships through the 2023-24 school year. The deal will pay ESPN $500m per year and will see 600 hours of broadcasting.

The deal expands on the current relationship between the two as ESPN already broadcasts 17 championships. Added to the deal will be broadcasts of women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s fencing, Division I women’s lacrosse, Division I men’s and women’s outdoor track, and women’s bowling.

ESPN will also expand its broadcast coverage of the early rounds of the Division I FCS football, women’s volleyball, softball and baseball tournaments and will get international rights to the men’s basketball tournament.

Did its history with Windows hurt Microsoft’s mobile phone effort?

Windows baggage was a deterent that harmed the market’s perception of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, or at least that is the point of view of a piece by Jason Hiner in Tech Republic. He believes that it has harmed users perception of what is a quality device and so prevented Microsoft from being a dominate player in the space.

This comes at a time of mea culpa at Microsoft, admitting very poor sales, disappointment and the traditional rotating of top management. All that was missing was the “Airing of Grievances” to make the event complete.

He claims that people believe that the difficulty and frustration of using the Windows operating system such as malware, viruses and other issues will be present in the phones. Decide for yourself but if you started out using MS-DOS on old, very, very, slow PCs you know what a breath of fresh air Windows was. After they got the bugs out of course.

This and that
Was anybody amazed at how much grief was directed at Albert Pujols for leaving St. Louis for a much better contract elsewhere? Since when did sports writers spur higher offers?

Is it just my conspiracy theory of the week or did the NBA intentionally foul up the Chris Paul trades simply to intensify interest in the NBA, something that appeared to me to still be lagging due to the strike?

I wonder if there will be any fallout from the drug bust of (ex) Chicago Bear Sam Hurd? That is a lot of pot and coke to be selling on a weekly basis while still playing football. He must have had an impressive network in Chicago.

Startup investment analysis firm SigFig claims that investors with iPhones are 20% more likely than average to own Apple stock while owners of Android phones are 25% less likely than average to own Google stock.

Sling Media moves to Facebook with new App

The company continues to reach out to new platforms

Sling Media, a provider of streaming media, has once again expanded its reach by developing a Facebook app that has the potential to reach millions of additional potential customers as well as make its make its technology more easily used.

The program is called SlingPlayer for Facebook and the obvious target is its installed customer base. To use the app you need both a Facebook account and more importantly a Slingbox. It provides you with an on screen remote control that enables you to watch and record programs remotely from your home system.

SlingPlayer for Facebook does not require additional hardware, passwords or software. A user that already has an account with the company can now use existing passwords etc to access their DVR or live television. It supports a wide variety of browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and works on both PCs and Macs. However only customers with its Pro-HD or Solo devices will be able to use the app.

The app will also enable the company to possibly get into businesses and other sites via a potential backdoor by using Facebook. A company may close many different sites to keep employees focused on work but Facebook tends to be exempt.

I expect that it will provide a secondary boost to the company as customers will likely show friends at work the technology and say on a Thursday night where you have to work late it can show a football game that you might otherwise miss.

Sling Media has been aggressive in moving its technology onto additional platforms. It is also available on Android phones and tablets, iPads, iPod Touch, iPhones Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerrys. In addition it has a Windows app and a Mac OS X app.

The company needs to stay aggressive due to the current competition from players such as Apple TV, Roku, and Boxee as well as a number of similar approaches including Xbox 360 and streaming sites like Netflix that seek to erode Sling Media’s original core space.

Nokia Teams with Microsoft in Smartphone Space — But Not in U.S. Yet

The two companies seek to establish themselves in the smartphone space

Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia has teamed with Microsoft for its latest generation of phones, a move that starts moving Microsoft’s smartphone operating system further into the mainstream market.

The move comes as the two partners seek to establish themselves as major players in the smartphone market. Nokia has been seeing very strong erosion of its position in the last year, dropping from owning 33% of the smartphone market in the third quarter last year to 14% this year. Microsoft, while garnering solid reviews for its OS, has not seen that translate into wide scale adoption.

The two have been working together for eight months and Microsoft’s Windows 7is a major upgrade for Nokia over its aging Symbian operating system, one that was failing to match the latest features of the rival Android and iOS platforms.

However Microsoft, never a power in the smartphone OS, has also seen its share in this space decline. A recent report by analytic firm ComScore showed Microsoft’s share drop from 7.5% to 5.8% between March and June 2011.

The two phones in this release are the Nokia Lumia 710 and the Nokia Lumia 800, with the 810 being the model targeted at the Apple iPhone and high end Android offerings. Currently available in Europe the smartphones are slated for rollout in Asia later this year. Nokia said that it is in talks with all four major US carriers and intends to release them in the US in the future.

The Lumia 800 has an 8-megapixel camera and a bright 3.7-inch OLED display that’s slightly larger than the screen in the iPhone. It has 16GB of storage and the phone is powered by a single core Qualcomm 1.4GHz processor. It includes an 8 megapixel rear facing camera.

The entry level Lumia 710 features the same processor and comes with 8GB of storage, a 5 megapixel rear facing camera and 3.7-inch WVGA display. The smartphones will run on high-speed 4G networks that use a technology called LTE, or Long Term Evolution, as well as on older 3G networks.

The Windows operating system still appears to be catching up to its rival iOS and Android rivals but is now a much fuller featured OS and includes cut and paste and other features that show it is on the road to parity. However it is a long road.

The Windows 7 OS uses “smart tiles” that show information about an app without needing to launch the app. It comes with a range of apps built in- People Hub, Pictures Hub, Microsoft Office Hub, IE9 Mobile, Xbox Live, and 25GB SkyDrive storage. There are currently tens of thousands of apps for Windows 7 but that seriously trails Android and iOS apps, which now number roughly half a million each.

This looks to be a good first effort for the pair but they still have a ways to go, particularly in getting both more features in the OS and a greater app market. Many top sports sites make no mention of Windows support at this time. However with the massive number of Microsoft developers out there this looks to be a relatively easy issue to fix.