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Upcoming Battery Will Charge Phones And Electric Cars in Minutes

October 14, 2014 | by Lisa Winter

photo credit: Martin Abegglen via flickr

It takes about an hour to fully charge a cell phone, and the battery lasts about two to three years over 500 charge cycles. However, a new design could reduce charge time to only a few minutes and the battery is expected to last for 10,000 charge cycles over a 20 year lifespan. In addition to revolutionizing the technology that powers mobile devices, this has huge implications for the performance and longevity of batteries used in electric cars as well. The battery design was invented by Chen Xiaodong of Nanyang Technology University, and it was described in the journal Advanced Materials.

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries have been popularly used in electronic devices since the early 1990s, though the chemistry behind them has been studied since 1912. Traditionally, the batteries use a graphite anode (negative end) with a metal oxide cathode (positive end), along with an additive that helps facilitate electron exchange.

However, this new design replaces the carbon-based anode with a gel made of nanotubes of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is spherical when found in nature, but converting it into the nanotubes allows it to charge much faster. This gel also replaces the need for the additive. Without the additive, there is more room within the battery for more of the gel, increasing the amount of energy it can store.

While many scientists have been trying to improve the performance and charging speed of batteries for years, the beauty of this new design is that it does not require developing something entirely new, rather it significantly improves what is already there. In fact, these modifications can be integrated into existing manufacturing procedures, making it much easier to bring this technology to market.

“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” Chen Xiaodong said in a press release. “Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”

The battery is the heart of the electric car and can cost around $5000 USD. By using a battery that can last 20 times longer than current technology, it will decrease the lifetime cost of the electric car, making them a more affordable and attractive option.

This new battery has already been patented and the team is currently in the process of trying to build a large prototype. Even ahead of the prototype, many in the electronics industry have expressed an interest in the new technology. The researchers believe that it could be available to consumers as early as 2016.

[Header image credit: Martin Abegglen via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Apple Unveils iPhone 6, Apple Watch, Apple Pay

September 9th, 2014

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

 

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and ANICK JESDANUN, AP Technology Writers
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — For the first time in years, Apple’s iPhones weren’t the star of the show. Apple unveiled a smartwatch on Tuesday, a wearable device that marks the company’s first major entry in a new product category since the iPad’s debut in 2010.

The move is significant because of recent questions about whether Apple still has a knack for innovating following the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

The device’s introduction upstaged the company’s two new, larger iPhones, which won’t just have bigger screens; they’ll have a new, horizontal viewing mode to take advantage of the larger display.

The iPhone 6 will have a screen measuring 4.7 inches, while the iPhone 6 Plus will be 5.5 inches. In both cases, app developers will be able to design apps that can be viewed differently when the phone is held horizontally.

Apple also introduced a system for using the phone to make credit card payments at retail stores.

Apple is turning to the past as it lays out its future. The company is holding the event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts, the same venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer 25 years ago. The Cupertino, California, venue is near Apple’s headquarters.

As for the iPhones, which still represent the main source of Apple’s profits, larger models should help the company compete with Android devices.

Here’s what unfolded at Tuesday’s event:

LARGER iPHONES

The iPhone 6 will have a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 6 Plus will be 5.5 inches. The screen resolution on the Plus version will be sharper than previous iPhones, at 401 pixels per inch rather than 326.

With the larger screen comes a new horizontal view of the home screen. Usually, icons are stacked vertically, even when the phone is turned horizontally. App developers will also have new tools to rearrange their content to take advantage of that larger screen.

The new phones aren’t as big as Samsung’s latest flagship phones – 5.1 inches for the Galaxy S5 and 5.7 inches for the Note 4 – but they will be large enough to neutralize a key advantage Samsung and other Android manufacturers have had.

Notably, Samsung’s Note phone isn’t getting bigger this year. Last year’s Note 3 was 5.7 inches. Instead, Samsung is emphasizing other hardware features, such as a sharper screen. It’s also releasing a model with a curved edge to display weather, time and other information on the side of the phone.

Apple says the new phones will be faster and have better battery life than previous versions. The phones will also have a new sensor, the barometer, to estimate how much you’ve climbed stairs, not just how far you’ve walked or run.

Of course, some people still use their phones to actually make calls. When there’s poor cellular reception, people will be able to make regular calls over Wi-Fi. The handoff between the two networks will be seamless. In the U.S., this feature will initially be available through T-Mobile.

The resolution on the camera is staying at 8 megapixels, while rival Android and Windows phones have been boosting that. The S5, for instance, is at 16 megapixels. However, the megapixel count is only one factor in what makes a good photo. Apple says it is putting in new sensors for better shots.

Apple is also improving a slow-motion video feature by allowing even slower shots. The camera will be able to take 240 frames per second, double what’s in last year’s iPhone 5s. Normally, video is at 60 frames per second.

The new phones will start shipping in the U.S. on Sept. 19, with advance orders to begin this Friday. Starting prices will be comparable to those in the past – $199 with a two-year contract for the iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes of storage.

However, the step-up models will have double the memory than before – $299 for 64 gigabytes and $399 for 128 gigabytes. The iPhone 6 Plus phones will cost $100 more at each configuration.

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Apple is calling its new payment system Apple Pay.

You’ll be able to use your phone’s camera to capture a photo of your card. Apple will verify it behind the scenes and add it to your phone’s Passbook account so you can make payments at a retailer. Apple announced several merchants that will accept this system, including Macy’s, Whole Foods, Walgreens and Disney stores – and of course, Apple stores.

Many companies have tried to push mobile payment services, but none has caught on widely. Cook says that’s because the business models have been centered around companies’ self-interest instead of the user experience. The latter, Cook says, is “exactly what Apple does best.”

For security, the card number is stored only on the device. Each time you pay, a one-time card number is created to make the transaction.

A SMARTWATCH

The audience erupted with cheers as Cook proclaimed that he had, “one more thing.” It was how Jobs used to close his keynote addresses.

That one more thing was Apple’s upcoming smartwatch. It’s called the Apple Watch, rather than the iWatch that many people had been speculating.

Consumer electronics companies have yet to demonstrate a compelling need for smartwatches, while bracelets have largely been niche products aimed at tracking fitness activities. Apple’s device looks to change that.

Consider the company’s track record: Music players, smartphones and tablet computers existed long before Apple made its own versions. But they weren’t mainstream or popular until the iPod, iPhone and iPad came along. Under Jobs, Apple made those products easy and fun to use.

Cook says Apple had to invent a new interface for the watch because simply shrinking a phone wouldn’t work.

Much of the interaction would be through the dial on the watch, which Apple calls the digital crown. You use that to zoom in and out of a map, for instance, so you’re not blocking the screen, which would have occurred if you were pinching in and out to zoom.

Apple also worked with app developers to create new functionality. You’ll be able to unlock room doors at Starwood hotels or remind yourself where you parked your car with a BMW app.

The new watch will come in a variety of styles and straps, with a choice of two sizes. Watches from competing vendors have been criticized for being too big for smaller arms.

The watch will require one of the new iPhones or an iPhone 5, 5s or 5c. It will be available early next year at a starting price of $349.

NEW SOFTWARE

Though much of the attention has been on new gadgets, the software powering those gadgets is getting its annual refresh. Apple considers iOS 8 to be its biggest update since the introduction of the app store in 2008.

Existing iPhone and iPad users will be eligible for the free upgrade, too. Apple takes pride in pushing existing customers to the latest software, allowing app developers to incorporate new features without worrying about abandoning existing users. With Android, many recent phones can’t be upgraded right away because of restrictions placed by manufacturers and wireless carriers.

Among other things, iOS 8 will let devices work better in sync. For instance, it’ll be possible to start a message on an iPhone and finish it on an iPad. With an upcoming Mac upgrade called Yosemite, it’ll be possible to continue working on that same message on a Mac computer as well.

These handoff features will extend to the new Apple Watch, too.

The new software will be available to existing users on Sept. 17.

Closing out the event, U2 performed on stage before Cook made its new album, “Songs of Innocence” available for free to all customers of Apple’s iTunes.

Apple’s stock was up 1 percent to $99.36 in Tuesday’s late afternoon trading.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How Shazam Works?

Shazam application logo for the iPhone.

Shazam is the closest a cell phone can come to magic. Say you’re in a restaurant, a song comes on, and you can’t quite place the tune. In the past, your options were limited; you could try asking your spouse or the waiter for a clue, but that approach risked revealing your ignorance. (That’s “ Sex Machine,” dumb ass.) Shazam—which launched in the United Kingdom in 2002 as a call-in service and became widely known in the United States last year when it hit the iPhone—solves the dilemma in a few clicks. Press a button on your phone, and in seconds you’ll get the artist and song title. Other than playing video games, it’s the most useful thing you can do on your phone. Read more [+]

HughesNet Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!!!! Germantown, Maryland

Do not let anyone you love rent a HughesNet Internet dish.  They are fast talking, with a lot of false promises, then THREATS to ruin your credit.

They promised us High Speed Internet for $86.99 a month. LIE! They promised twenty-four hour technical support. LIE! They promised High Speed Internet.  Lie!  Lie! Lie!

HughesNet will wheel you and deal you, then hit you with all sort of BIG BUCKS BILL that you supposedly owe them.

I called and set up installation time.  They sent me a email telling me that a “certified professional” has been assigned and he will install your “HIGH SPEED Internet”.  He would be contacting us within three days. True.

Kevin  was the installer.  Very nice young man.  We were told by HughesNet to talk with the installer regarding additional installation charges that may apply based on our specific installation requirements.  Payment is do at the time of installation.  “When the installation is complete, you will be billed the initial one-time fee and the first monthly service fee on your credit/debit card.  I was told get details of items included in installation “see www.installguide.HugesNet.com”.

Kevin gave me a blank INSTALLATION REFERENCE SHEET, one of seven.  There is no amount of money, my signature is not on this sheet (page1), Kevin’s name – Date of installation 7/28/2011 – Time AM was all that is on it.  I never received a copy of pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.  I had no company phone number, or mailing address.

I only had Kevin’s cell.  Called six times, NO RETURN phone calls. I couldn’t stay connected to Internet or I would freeze up.  I wasn’t having this problem with another company and I’m not having any problems with this new company.  MAGICALLY stopped when I disconnected HughesNet!

I had Kevin’s cell number in case I had any problems.  He said to call him first, “because the company uses East Indian representatives who barely speak English”.   I called, left messages but no return CALLS.  Not ONE!

Then attempted to email HugesNet, but I was not able to stay connected to Internet.  Even attempting to get on the Internet took 10 to 15 minutes.  Oh I forgot, “I was on High Speed”!  When I wasn’t being dumped off the Internet my keyboard would freeze.  It took almost a minute to unlock.  I couldn’t get out of the site, I couldn’t even disconnect.  That’s right this is HIGH SPEED!

I googled to get a phone number for HughesNet.  Well that was just as much fun.  I called four times before I finally got someone to answer the phone.  And then it went down hill from there.  The first person be it female or male I couldn’t tell, couldn’t understand me any better then I understood her/him.

It was a miserable 10 minutes for both of us.  She transferred me to technical person.

OH MY! Again an East Indian with a horrible accent, every time I had to ask him to please repeat, he became very upset.  Talking even faster.  Then he tried to transfer me.  I knew then I was lost in no-mans-land.  First static then click, then 30 Minutes of click, static .  But no live person.  By then I was willing to talk to “PEGGY”.

This was August 30,2011.  I went back to Internet, got through to a”Chat” text line, Chelsy tried texting me.  But I kept freezing or got thrown off the Internet.  She got part of a message when I finally said I was canceling my account.

I received another email from “DONOTREPLYHUGHESNET” calling me “Ms. Jakee or Jakee”  I had asked them for a RAM Request number and mailing address to return their equipment.  They told me they would be sending a manual of instructions and a boxes with prepaid label.  But it would be any where from 15 to 21 days after cancellation of service,  to send this to me.

August 3, 2011.  I received another HughesNet love note.  Again calling me MS. Jakee and beginning the paragraph with Jakee.  Well at least they spelled my correctly.  Telling me (Jakee) that they were glad to hear I wanted to return the product.  Oh please, it is a piece of garbage that is over priced to begin with.

September1, 2011 they mailed out the “KIT”.  We got it September 6, 2011.  We disconnected everything on August 21, 2011.

In this “Kit”.  I received a nasty threatening letter.  Stating we needed to return the equipment to them within 21 days of the end of your final monthly billing cycle.  NO DATE or EXPLANATION of when the FINAL MONTHLY BILLING CYCLE begins or ends.

“If you fail to return the equipment to us within this period, we will charge your account ( and your previously provided credit card, if applicable) an Unreturned Equipment Fee of $300.00″.  HugesNet had already attempted to with draw this money, the bank called us”.

“Both the modem and radio transmitter must be returned to avoid these fees.  If only the modem is returned, the amount of the fee will be$200.00.  If only the radio transmitter is returned the amount of the fee will be $100″.

“Further, we remind you that failure to return the modem and radio transmitter to Hughes, or to pay the applicable Unreturned Equipment Fee may result in serious consequences to you, as Hughes may elect to report this incident to credit reporting agencies and to pursue any available legal remedies”.

We shipped their modem, radio, power supply, LAN cable.

By FEDEX September 7, 2011.

They sent us Termination bill $335.54.

TERMINATION FEES $400.00,

Rental Fees HughesNet Residential Rental (L)-PRORATED $-9.02,

OTHER FEES Property Tax Surcharge- Prorated $-0.68,

SERVICE FEES HughesNet Basic-Prorated $-54.18,

Total Charge $336.12.

ADITIONAL PROPERTY TAXES MI State $-0.04,

LEASE TAXES MI State $-0.54. 

Issued August 31, 2011.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/14/2011 06:24 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/HughesNet/Germantown-Maryland-20876/HughesNet-Liar-Liar-Pants-on-Fire-Germantown-Maryland-776867. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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