MSI on Monday announced the availability of its "2010 iF Product Design Award Winning" Wind U160 netbook. This is MSI's second netbook built around Intel's Pine Trail platform, and taking full advantage of the new spec, the company claims you can expect up to 15 hours of run time when in MSI's exclusive ECO mode.
Everything you'd expect from a modern netbook is included, such as a 10-inch backlit LED display, Intel Atom N450 processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 6-cell battery, Bluetooth, Windows 7 Starter, and a 6-cell battery. It also comes with EasyFace facial recognition security software.
Where MSI looks to separate the U160 from the spate of Pine Trail netbooks is in its physical design.
"Abandoning the traditional clamshell form, the Wind U160 ushers in a new era of netbook design," MSI said. "From the illuminated MSI logo on the netbook's outer surface to the power button placed on the U160's cylindrical hinge, the newest Wind model sports a slim new footprint. Just 0.98 inches at its widest point, the U160 is the thinnest Wind model to date."
The Wind U160 is available now for $380 at Fry's, Newegg.com, and Buy.com.
Pretty soon you won't even be able to buy a toaster without worrying that it might be infected with malware. We're not quite at that point yet, but you can add an Energizer USB battery charger to the growing list of devices on the potentially contaminated list.
It's not the gadget itself, but the software that comes with Energizer's Duo Charger, model CHUSB. According to Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Energizer has been unkowingly distributing a backdoor Trojan since 2007.
The software was designed to let users check the status of batteries inserted into the charger, but it's the inclusion of a nasty DLL file (Arucer.dll) that's troubling. Once infected, the malware could download and execute files, send a directory listing to the remote attacker, send files to a remote attacker, and make changes to the registry.
Energizer, now aware of the problem, has discontinued sale of the product and is advising consumers "that downloaded the Windows version of the software to uninstall or otherwise remove the software from your computer," in addition to removing the Arucer.dll file.
We've seen increased efforts lately to push greater cell phone adoption into developing nations, and the latest to enter the fray is a low cost handset powered by commonly available AAA-sized batteries. Called the "FrvrOn," short for "forever on," Indian mobile phone company Oliver Telecommunications also outfitted its mobile phone with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but has good reason for including an AAA compartment.
"We have electrification all across the country but the power supply is erratic," marketing manager Ravi Perti told AFP. "With our phone, all one needs to do is pack a few extra cells (batteries) if one is traveling in areas where one expects power supply disruptions."
Perti says, the phone can run for up to three hours on the stock lithium-ion battery, and another hour on a single AAA battery.
According to government figures, there are 10,000 impoverished Indian villages with access to grid electricity. Even still, India represents the world's fastest-expanding mobile market, adding an average of 15 million customers every month.
ViewSonic, a newcomer to the ULV laptop market, has just unveiled its VNB131 ViewBook Pro, the company's first nobeook to utilize ultra low voltage technology. According to ViewSonic, this is just the first of many more to come.
"Our mobile and desktop PC products range in size and functionality in order to meet every individuals' computing needs," said ViewSonic's senior director of product marketing Sally Wang. "With our ULV VNB131 ViewBook Pro, mobile warriors get all the power they need, packaged to go in a lean, green design."
More specifically, ViewSonic's first ULV notebook ships with a 13.3-inch screen and an Intel Core 2 Duo ULV SU7300 processor clocked at 1.3GHz. Other specs include a 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, and a removable DVD burner. That last bit is particularly noteworthy because if you take the optical drive out, ViewSonic says you can pop in an extra 3-cell battery for up to 12 hours of run time.
The rest of the specs include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 1.3MP webcam, 7-in-1 media card reader, HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, a 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
You're not likely to find the Solar Egg on any Denny's menu, nor would you want to put one in your mouth anyway. Feel free to toss it out into low sunlight, however, where developers XPAL and Intivation claim the Solar Egg's internal 500mAh battery can reach over 90 percent charge in just 4 hours of exposure in "average charging conditions."
"Solar power is a huge unrealized energy source particularly in the Western world which tends to have fewer hours of sunlight than developing markets," says Christian Scheder, President, XPAL. "As personal devices demand more energy and solar charging technology improves, we are making solar power available to more consumers and changing the way people power their portable devices."
The two companies are touting the Solar Egg as the world's first high performance solar charger. They say it's built to power a range of devices, from phones to MP3 players.
This one will start shipping next month in "select regions," followed by a global rollout later this year. No word yet on price.
Do you know how often we hear about promising new battery technologies every year? Over 4 million times. That's what it feels like, anyway, even if we're way off in our estimation. But here's another number: One. That's how many battery breakthroughs we expect to materialize in an actual product in 2010.
The technology we're referring to comes from a Japanese company called Eamex, who says it has discovered a way to increase the life of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. We tend to give this one a bit more credibility, if only because Eamex isn't talking about a theoretical tech that could eventually lead to the demise of lithium-ion.
What Eamex has done is figure out a way to stabilize the electrodes and prevent the deterioration of tin. Why's this important? Because it means the batteries can withstand a lot more charge and discharge cycles. We're talking about over 10,000 cycles with a shelf life of 20 years. By comparison, Apple says a MacBook or MacBook Pro battery can withstand about 1,000 cycles over about 5 years of constant use.
Unlike other battery technologies, you don't have to wait a decade for this one to come to market. Eamex says it will ship a battery with about 10,000W of power per kilogram (suitable for electric cars and scooters) by the end of 2010.
The toughest part about going green (as in, environmentally friendly) is that energy saving devices and technologies often cost a a lot of green (as in greenbacks, dinero, cash, money, ducats, pieces of eight, and for you old school adventure gamers, buckazoids). So what's our point? Well, Schosche's lower priced solBAT II solar backup device is a pretty big deal.
Owners of the original solBAT had to cough up a C-note for the luxury of toting around a backup battery capable of being charged through an integrated solar panel. The soBAT II is essentially the same thing, only it charges faster, and at $30, it also costs far less the same.
Battery capacity consists of 1500mA. The device comes with a windshield cradle and suction cup, as well as a USB charging cable. You can use your existing USB cable to charge a variety of devices, such as your iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, most cellphones, and more.
It appears we were mistaken about the price drop, but not in a bad way. The solBAT still runs $30, but we goofed in saying it originally carried a $100 price tag. The truth is, the solBAT was always priced at $30. It was the solCHAT Bluetooth speaker phone that debuted at $100 (and still costs as much). Oops!
Redmond, we have a problem. According to several user reports, Windows 7 inherited Vista's poor power management when it comes to laptop battery life.
The reports mostly come from users on Microsoft's TechNet forum, who complain of reductions in battery life from two hours down to 30 minutes, and in some cases, even less. There have also been complaints of batteries not fully recharging, and some have even claimed that their laptop batteries are forever damaged by whatever drainage problem might be occurring.
These types of issues also plagued Vista and were supposed to be addressed in Windows 7. Towards that end, Microsoft said it was investigating the potential problem, noting that part of the issue relates to the BIOS. According to a Microsoft spokesman, the appearance of error messages suggesting that users replace a perfectly good battery is likely a BIOS issue and the result of Windows 7 pulling data from the PC's firmware.
Battery drainage complaints in Windows 7 are nothing new and have been noted by users dating back to the OS's beta testing days. The issue is particularly problematic for netbook users.
High-end laptops are lucky to squeeze 3 hours of run time out of a single charge, and if you're looking for ultra long battery life, your best bet is a netbook. Or is it?
Asus had on display at CES a performance-oriented laptop the company hopes will redefine the high-end genre. The UL80JT, as it's currently called, can switch back and forth between a high-end Nvidia GeForce 310 and Intel's lowly GMA graphics. Combined with a Core i7 CPU capable of re-clocking itself on a second-by-second basis and other micromanagement tricks, Asus claims users can expect up to 12 hours of run time.
Even cooler, the whole process is transparent to the user, meaning you don't have to fiddle with power settings. The laptop decides for itself when to clock the dual-core Core i7 chip up or down and when to switch between graphic chips, and while we're skeptical we'd actually see 12 hours of run time, we would expect the UL80JT to run a lot longer than a typical high end notebook.
Trying to get noticed at CES is a nearly impossible task, but the RCA Airnergy certainly caught my attention when I was sifting through the list of the most interesting devices I saw from the show floor. The idea behind the Airnergy is both fiendishly simple, and infinitely useful all at the same time. To put it simply, they are able to convert Wi-Fi signals into energy at a high enough efficiency level that you can actually use it to wirelessly charge your gadgets.
The technology can either be bundled into an external enclosure as shown above, or even integrated directly into a replacement battery for your phone. The external enclosure version charges up an internal battery whenever it finds a hotspot, and will discharge upon command to any USB powered device it is plugged into. Gizmodo claims it was able to charge a Blackberry Bold all the way from 30% to full power in less than 90 minutes using only Wi-Fi harvested energy.
So far so good right, but what about the price? RCA claims it will be available by the summer, and they are aiming at an MSRP of around $40 for the external enclosure version, and around $60 built into a replacement battery for your cell phone. Imagine a day when you can actually charge your laptop simply by surfing the web on a wireless network. They have a long way to go before they get that efficient, but its a pretty cool concept for mobile gadgets all the same.
Anyone else excited by this one? Hit the jump to check out the interview.