Company touts energy efficiency and graphics performance ahead of Haswell launch
The arrival of the next generation of Intel Core processors is drawing near and, as you would expect, the chipmaker is busy drawing the world’s attention to all that is worth highlighting about its upcoming “Haswell” (codename) chips. The company most recently talked up the 22nm chips it is widely expected to launch early next month at a media briefing it hosted last week.
We just received an email from Samsung Mobile letting us know about a new promotion tied to the company's Galaxy Nexus. Beginning Thursday, March 29 and running six weeks through May 10 (or while supplies last), customers who purchase the Galaxy Nexus and sign a two-year service agreement will be eligible to receive a free battery bundle kit that includes an extended-life i515 2100mAh battery and back cover.
Ubuntu’s declining popularity was a hot topic on the Internet recently, with a number of sites using Distrowatch's annual web rankings to ring alarm bells for the popular Linux distro. But there were those who looked askance at these reports -- and quite rightly so, accusing them of grossly exaggerating the extent of Ubuntu’s alleged decline. Whatever be the true extent of its decline, the fact is Ubuntu is still a very popular Linux distro and Canonical will have another chance of redeeming itself with Precise Pangolin in a few months’ time.
Ruh roh, Shaggy. If what we're hearing from news and rumor site Fudzilla turns out to be true, Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet could have a tough time taking on the iPad, Galaxy Tab, and every other slate. According to Fudzilla, battery life woes are proving to be a thorn in RIM's side.
"Apparently, the issue stems from the adapted QNX OS that powers the new PlayBook tablet along with the fact that the OS was never really optimized for battery life," Fudzilla explains. "To address this issue the engineers at RIM have had to adapt, refine and build new routines at low levels to allow the OS to only sip the battery power to extend battery life. Optimizing battery life isn’t an easy thing to do and takes significant time and work."
This isn't a death knell for the PlayBook, and most agree the device holds a lot of promise. But don't rule out a delay, either. The last thing RIM wants to do is push out a half-baked tablet to go up against competing slates boasting 6-10+ hours of battery life.
The latest addition to Samsung's N-Series netbook range -- the N230 -- is really just another netbook in a what's long been a crowded market, only this one promises to stay up and running all day long, and then some.
"A long battery life is vital to a reliable mobile computing experience and the N230 has been designed to provide just that: With Samsung’s innovative LED display, optimized processing performance and proprietary Enhanced Battery Life (EBL) solutions, the N230 delivers incredible energy-efficiency. It offers an extensive battery life of up to 7 hours as standard and with an optional long-life battery. This can be extended up to an amazing 13.8 hours (66Wh battery)," Samsung said.
Other features include the usual suspects, including a 10.1-inch screen, Intel Atom N450 (1.66GHz) or N470 (1.8Ghz) processor, 1GB of RAM, 250GB hard drive, and everything else common to most modern netbooks.
While the inside is mostly familiar, Samsung did upgrade the chassis compared to previous N-Series netbooks. The N230 sports a brushed metal palm rest, chrome hinges, a borderless chiclet keyboard, and a revamped trackbad with two buttons instead of one.
Samsung says the N230 is available now, though we've only been able to spot a handful of vendors selling the unit. So far, pricing has hovered at around $400 for the smaller battery version.
Battery performance on Wi-Fi enabled devices varies pretty wildly based on our experience, but the folks over at technologyreview.com think they finally know why. According to researchers over at the University of Texas, most Wi-Fi enabled access points don't properly implement the protocol designed to reduce the power drain on mobile devices. This makes performance somewhat inconsistent, but researchers think it's something that can be addressed going forward.
The power saving mode was designed to allow mobile devices to enter a "sleep" mode between packet requests, however most end up staying in a fully powered up state until the completion of the entire transfer. Depending on the size of the file, and the network latency, this can add a considerable amount of additional battery drain. Head researcher Eric Rozner concluded that "an HTC Tilt's total power consumption increases by threefold when using Wi-Fi". 3G data caps are likely to increase consumer dependence on Wi-Fi in the future, so clearly this is a problem that deserves a bit of attention.
We hope this is something the handset makers find a way to address given the relative ease of pushing updates to smartphone platforms, but if the problem is indeed with the access points, I wouldn't count on this unfortunate situation resolving itself anytime soon. Isn't this why we have the Wi-Fi Alliance? I guess they are still licking their wounds after arguing about 802.11n for seven years.
Batteries are everywhere. They’re in our phones, mice, cars, laptops, game machines, controllers, remotes, cameras—you name it. Battery technology influences the design, capabilities, and feature set of nearly everything portable, from laptops and cell phones to hybrid and electric vehicles.
Most of the batteries in our lives are rechargeable, and our more eco-aware world is quickly replacing standard alkaline AA and AAA batteries with rechargeable equivalents. Still, few people know how all these batteries work or how to best take care of them.
We’re going to focus on common rechargeable battery types, but before we get into that we should cover a few basics about how batteries work and go over common terms.
Amazon has added a native PDF reader to its Kindle 2 e-reader, making it only the second device in the Kindle family to boast this feature. The Seattle-based company also announced a much enhanced battery life for the Kindle 2. The longer battery life, it says, is the fruit of a six-month-long firmware improvement program.
According to Amazon, it has managed to extend the Kindle's battery life by 85 percent, which translates to seven days on a single charge with wireless turned on. But apparently Amazon's firmware improvement program failed to yield any such improvements in battery performance when the wireless is turned off. These enhancements will be delivered to existing Kindle owners as part of a firmware update. Some earlier versions of the device will also be receiving native PDF supports via Whispernet wireless.
Barnes and Noble is facing an enviable predicament, that of failing to keep the Nook in stock. But Amazon made it very clear in a press release that the “Kindle is in stock and available for immediate shipment today.”
Three netbooks were tested: the Toshiba mini NB205, ASUS Eee PC 1008HA, and the HP Mini 311. On average, the computers ran down 47 minutes sooner with Windows 7 than with XP. Still, two of the units were running after nearly five hours, and the Toshiba made it nearly nine hours on Windows 7. It may not be the same as losing nearly an hour on a conventional laptop, but it is something to consider. If you plan to buy a netbook, will you be hunting for one running Windows XP?
More than anything else, battery technology holds back mobile innovation. Sure, we’d all like super fast mobile CPUs, but the 10 minutes of battery life we’d get isn’t a good trade off. Battery technology has, thus far, advanced at a depressingly slow rate. However, rechargeable zinc-air batteries could actually deliver changes next year.
A company called ReVolt claims to have developed a way to make zinc-air batteries rechargeable. The batteries use oxygen from the air to generate current. Also, they don’t contain any of the toxic materials that are found in lithium-ion batteries, which are estimated to only hold one-third as much power.
In sciency terms, these batteries rely on reduction/oxidation reactions between a zinc and air (oxygen) electrodes. By using new gelling and binding agents, the previously single use batteries can be recharged. They have been tested for up to 100 cycles, but could be capable of 300-500. Smaller batteries for cell phones and hearing aids are supposed to show up in 2010. If that goes well, larger versions for electric cars could be produced. Will this revolutionize the tech world, or is it just so much hot air?