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Google I/O 2011

clock May 11, 2011 01:11 by author Jeremy

Google's I/O event was held today, impressing the world with the fresh updates and new implementations they've got up their sleeves.

To start off, Google announced that Android 3.1 would be released to Verizon Xoom customers starting today. The update will include customizable widgets, and will allow users to have their device act as a "host" for other devices: for example, connecting a digital camera to your tablet will allow you to import all of your photos, while connecting USB devices like an XBox 360 controller will let you play specific games using the remote. By summer, Android 3.1 will be getting another update to include Google TV, which will have its own section in the Android Market as well.

Speaking of new Android versions, Google's released the official name (but not software number) of their next OS: Ice Cream Sandwich (seen above). They're hoping that this will be the universal OS applied to all devices, including your phone and tablet. While not officially stated, general word amongst fan-droids is that this should help battle fragmentation.

Also new to Android versions: Google has struck a deal with a large list of carriers and OEM's to make sure that all phones released will receive updates for a minimum period of 18 months. While this doesn't explain how often the updates will occur, it's still a start in the right direction. One of Apple's main strengths over Android phones was their stability brought through regular updates; meanwhile, Android owners struggle to get minor fixes corrected within just a few months. See the picture below for just a few of the major OEMs and carriers involved.

Google's also announced two new software services (though this first one was pretty much all but "officially" confirmed): Music Beta and instant movie streaming. Music beta will hold up to 20,000 songs in the cloud and is free (for now - very important note there). Like iTunes and many other media players, you can create playlists, see lists of recently played and play counts, and even offers "Instant Mix" (like iTunes' Genius). Also, once playlists are made, they'll be available on each Android device you own - no need for wires anymore).

Instant movie streaming will have varied pricing, starting at $1.99 for regular movies and $4.99 for HD selections. Upon renting a movie, you have 30 days to start it; once started, you have 24 hours to finish. The real question is how this will play out against other major movie streaming cmopanies such as Netflix.

Music Beta is available now for everyone to tinker with (remember, it's only free while in Beta). The movie streaming app will come with the Honeycomb 3.1 update and will hit phones "in a few weeks" (2.2 and above required, though).

The last two announcements really drove Google's point home - quite literally, too. Android at Home is one of them, which will allow your Android devices to control large appliances and devices throughout the house. This includes dishwashers, thermostats, even lamps. Google realizes that these machines won't have wifi or USB docks, so they're accepting developers to come work with them to make this a relaity. They've already started working on a few examples, such as controlling lights with your tablet.

The other announcement is one welcoming everyone to test and create for ADK, Google's new hardware design. It currently incorporates USB integration, but hopefully will include Bluetooth later. With the ADK, users will be able to control any number of products with their Android devices, assuming it gets a big enough kick-start from hardware designers and developers. At I/O, Google's example was a wooden labyrinth which was controlled by a Xoom via USB.

All in all, lots of exciting things at I/O today. Probably the most famous of these was the promised updates to phones from carriers/OEMs. We've still yet to hear what software number Ice Cream Sandwich OS will be, but we're sure it'll come out in due time. For now, we have Music Beta, instant movie streaming, and soon Google TV to hold us off.

Source/Pictures: engadget.com



Creating Battery Powered Electricity through Water: Just Rinse, Repeat

clock May 10, 2011 00:53 by author Jeremy

Battery Recharged with Salt Water and Fresh Water to Create Electricity

While not a new concept, battery powered electricity is being created through salinity (salt) levels in salt water and fresh water. One common method is through osmosis. There are other ways though, which scientists at Stanford have discovered. Their team will be working on a new type of battery that uses nanotechnology and slightly altered concepts to produce even more energy with less time and money.

Yi Cui, Associate Professor of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, is working with other Stanford scientists in this endeavor. Their plan is to filter fresh water surrounding a battery, with salt water, which will cause the battery to produce higher voltages; when the battery reaches a low charge, the salt water is replaced by fresh water, effectively recharging it and starting the cycle over.

The downside is that this type of procedure requires two components to be ready at all times: salt water and fresh water. This is found in limited areas, typically at river mouths near oceans. With even just a few facotires made nationwide, we could see a much cheaper way to gather renewable energy without much effort in comparison. However, we'll have to wait for Cui and the Stanform team to finish perfecting their battery.

Sources: ACS.org, gizmag.com

Find rechargeable AA batteries and rechargeable AAA batteries on eBatts.com.



Dell Changes the Alienware Line-Up

clock May 4, 2011 00:38 by author Jeremy

The Alienware name carries a powerful meaning behind it for gaming enthustiasts. These computers and laptops are known for their sheer power and speed...plus the cool little alien-looking symbol that's mind-controlling you to buy it. The mothership of Dell, however, has decided to make a few changes to the laptop-side as of late: they'll be cancelling their M15x laptop (the 15 is in reference to the screen size), but will finally begin shipping their new M18x.

The Alienware M18x lures unsuspecting victims with its unearthly specs, including i7 chips, up to 32 GB of RAM, and only the latest NVIDIA & ATI graphics cards. In case that wasn't enough to grab the attention of your human mind, there's also the fact that this laptop has a ginormous screen: 18" in diameter of pixels that you love to stare at every day. An extraterrestial of this size would need a fairly powerful battery, which Dell delivers in the form of its 12-cell, 97Whr, Li-Ion battery.

In case the M18x is a little too big for you, Dell still has their other sizes available: the M11x, M14x and the M17x. I'm sure the M15x will still be missed by certain individuals, though. Back to your home planet you go, Mr. 15-inch-Alien-laptop.

Sources: engadget (confirmation of removal of M15x), Dell

Find replacement Dell laptop battery parts on eBatts.com ready to ship.



Fairbanks, Alaska Has One of the World's Most Powerful Batteries

clock April 20, 2011 00:33 by author Jeremy

Meet BESS: the Battery Energy Storage System. What exactly is BESS, you ask? Imagine a structure the size of a football-field, in the shape of a horseshoe. Big, right? So big, in fact, that it has to be "watered" down on a regular basis. This Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) contraption is actually thousands of 1.7V Ni-Cad batteries linked together.

Built in 2003 by GVEA (Golden Valley Electric Association) the BESS provides Fairbanks, Alaska with a backup power source. Fairbanks is known to have regular blackouts but thanks to BESS, outages have been reduced by more than 65%. Data gathered by GVEA indicates that the average person in 2003 experienced 3 and a half hours of no electricity; however, in 2010 the time was reduced to 45 minutes.

The BESS is not without its faults though. It was designed only as an interim power source while a backup generator can start, and can only produce roughly 27 megawatts of power for 15 minutes. "If there's a large outage, like 60 megawatts, it doesn't make up for the whole thing and then you have to shed people," said Mike Wright, Vice President of Transmission and Distribution at GVEA.

These "faults" are easily dismissed though, considering it does exactly what it was intended to do. A majority of the time, people won't even notice a blackout due to the BESS picking up on it instantly and providing the necessary power to cover. The BESS is always on, keeping voltages at the right levels in transmission lines when it's not being used for blackouts.

Source: dailyjournal.net



Duracell Powerpack 300 Video Tutorial/Review - Compact and Lightweight

clock April 13, 2011 01:11 by author Jeremy

Duracell Powerpack 300

As the smallest model of our powerpack series, the Duracell Powerpack 300 brings only the most necessary functions to the table. There are two AC sockets and a single DC socket; these can be used to power a wide range of electronics, including laptops, cell phones, radios, fans, GPS systems and even televisions. On the sides are car jumper cables with 120 cold cranking amps, and on the back is a 250 psi air compressor, making this unit perfect for emergency situations with your vehicle. A flashlight is also included on the front, with a built-in battery and 4 LED lights.

Check out our video tutorial to see close-ups of the product and how it can be used.

Features:

  • 2 AC sockets
  • 1 DC socket
  • Flashlight w/ 4 LED lights
  • 120A Car Jumper
  • 250 PSI Air Compressor

Duracell Powerpack 300 Portable Power Solutions are available on eBatts.com.



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