Archive for January, 2011
Hydrogen-powered cars were once considered the future of transportation– a title seemingly now usurped by battery electric vehicles. But hydrogen may be back, thanks to Cella Energy, whose system dispenses of the usual approach– big tanks of pressurized gas feeding into fuel cells emitting electrons and water. Cella has developed a way of storing H2 gas inside microfibers, but more importantly, also in microbeads.
The hydrogen-infused microbeads, in a liquid suspension, form a synthetic fuel that can actually be burned in an internal combustion engine without modification. Best of all, Cella says its fuel could be sold for just $1.50 per gallon when ready for commercial production. No word on when that will be, though.
Vying for the title of the most customizable smartphone ever made, HTC’s legendary HD2 can now triple-boot Windows Phone 7, Android, and Windows Mobile 6.5, courtesy to posters at XDA-Developers. The 4.3″ phone, grandfather of HTC’s current large phones, has similar specs to today’s high-end smartphones (1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, 512 MB RAM) and runs all three OSes smoothly (not at the same time though).
The triple-boot system entails running Windows Mobile 6.5 as the native OS, with Android and Windows Phone 7 installed on the phone’s MicroSD card. See the thread for instructions on how to make sure you’re cooler than people who have just two OSes on their phones.
Windows Phone 7 now fully works on the phone (earlier issues with accessing Windows Live services like the Marketplace have been solved). The HD2 has also seen ports of Ubuntu and Meego, so we could soon see a quad- or penta-OS HD2.
Mercedes-Benz just announced at the Detroit Auto Show that it will be putting the electric version of its SLS AMG supercar, the E-Cell, into production in 2013. The E-Cell sports four electric motors (one per wheel) that together produce 526 hp and 629 lb-ft of torque. The standard SLS has a 6.2L V8 putting out 563 hp and 479 lb-ft, so the electric version is down 37 hp but up 150 lb-ft versus its gas counterpart.
Unfortunately, the E-Cell weighs a whopping 880 lb more (400 lb of which is in the 48 kWh lithium ion battery) than the regular SLS, which was already not terribly light at 3,571 lb. Auto Express reports that the extra heft does have a decidedly negative effect on the car’s handling. Mercedes says, however, that the weight should be reduced by the time the car hits production, and regardless, the motors’ massive, instant torque is an undeniable attraction. The E-Cell even manages a respectable 125 mile range.
The normal SLS AMG attracts so much attention that should Mercedes choose to produce the E-Cell in the color it’s being displayed in (“AMG Lumilectric Mango”), you’ll always be the center of attention for miles around in one of these. And hey, maybe the extra weight won’t matter, because with all the wide-eyed bystanders surrounding the car, you won’t be moving terribly fast anyway.
Auto Express driving impressions video after the break.
Google just announced on its Chromium blog that it will be removing support for the H.264 video codec from the Chrome web browser, in favor of supporting only its own open WebM codec (which, as we covered earlier, is based on On2 Technologies’ VP8) for HTML5 web videos using the <video> tag.
Earlier, Microsoft, Apple, and Google had decided to support H.264 (the dominant high-definition video codec) for HTML5 web video, while Mozilla and Opera supported only Google’s WebM codec. Now, Google’s move leaves Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 and Apple’s Safari 5 as the only major browsers supporting the H.264 codec without plugins. Ironically, since the vast majority of HTML5 video on the web today is encoded using H.264, Google’s move will likely reduce the usable installed base of HTML5 video-capable browsers.
Read on for more about Google’s web video codec move.
Mercedes’ new C-Class coupe is scheduled to be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March. Some European bloggers seem to have beaten Mercedes to the punch, however, releasing three leaked press shots of the new car. The coupe shares its front-end styling with the facelifted 2012 C-Class sedan but is unique from the A-pillar aft.
Interestingly, this is not the first Mercedes two-door to resemble the latest C-Class. For a while, the company sold the CLC (outside of America), which was actually a previous-generation (W203) C-Class Sportcoupe (hatchback) facelifted to match the current sedan’s (W204) exterior styling. This time around, however, the car has standard trunk instead of a hatchback.
No further details have been confirmed, though we expect the coupe to gain the same engine options as the sedan- the C250 (a new 1.8L twin-turbo direct-injection inline-4 with 201 hp, 229 lb-ft), C300 (retaining its 3.0L V6 with 228 hp, 221 lb-ft), and C350 (a new 3.5L direct-injection V6 with 302 hp, 273 lb-ft).
The C-Class sedan and coupe are almost sure to get AMG, and possibly AMG Black Series, versions sporting AMG’s 5.5L twin-turbo V8.
It’s finally here– after years of speculation, Apple’s iPhone has at last launched on Verizon’s CDMA network in the U.S. Executives from both companies presented the new device, an iPhone 4 with a CDMA radio instead of GSM/HSDPA, at a media event in New York this morning. The device is otherwise the same and will launch on February 10 for the same price as on AT&T (16GB for $199, 32GB for $299 on a 2-year contract). Verizon is, however, tossing in a Wifi mobile hotspot feature, which will allow up to 5 local clients to access the internet through the phone’s CDMA 3G connection.
Being a CDMA phone, the Verizon iPhone 4 will not be able to use voice and data simultaneously on 3G, nor will it be able to roam outside the United States. On the upside, it does have a redesigned antenna that sounds like it may fix the “deathgrip” issue plaguing the standard iPhone 4 (gripping the phone from a joint on the side causes it to entirely lose its cell reception).
The end of AT&T’s exclusive hold on the iPhone should allow Apple to significantly boost its U.S. sales as it battles an onslaught of competitors running Android and other mobile OSes. From Verizon’s perspective, the iPhone could have made a great introduction to its 4G LTE network, but integrating today’s first-gen LTE chipsets into the iPhone 4 would’ve required significant re-engineering, which Apple wasn’t willing to do.
More info: Verizon Wireless
Press release after the break.
In the course of just a few hours, the seeds have been planted for a major upheaval in personal computing. Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 8 will support ARM processors, graphics chip maker Nvidia has revealed that it is developing a full lineup of ARM processors. ”Project Denver” will include CPUs for desktops, laptops, servers, and supercomputers and is an all-out assault on Intel’s PC market dominance.
In the past, Nvidia has licensed ARM cores for its Tegra and Tegra 2 smartphone/tablet chipsets (see here for more info), but with this announcement, Nvidia aims to turn itself into a full-fledged System-on-a-Chip (SoC) architecture designer– a major upgrade. The firm will integrate graphics chipsets into its CPUs, as Intel and AMD have done recently. The single most important factor that makes Project Denver significant, however, is Microsoft’s announcement: no longer being limited to just x86 chips (which Nvidia could never get a license from Intel to produce), Windows 8 PCs will be able to run on Nvidia’s processors without issue.
Read on for more about Nvidia’s new CPU project.
Microsoft dropped a bombshell at CES today, announcing that the next version of the Windows OS will run on ARM processors. The company stated that Windows for ARM will run on SoC (System on a Chip) architectures and will support hardware accelerated web browsing, media playback, and peripheral support on par with standard x86 Windows.
The move is aimed at extending the Windows experience to new devices. ”Windows PCs will continue to adapt and evolve,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in his keynote. “It means Windows will be everywhere on every kind of device without compromise.” The company showed off demo units running a future version of Windows (but with the user interface from Windows 7) on ARM chips from Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments.
The ARM-powered machines were running just Internet Explorer 9, Office for ARM, and an Epson printer driver. The Nvidia Tegra 2 demo box, however, was nonetheless impressive, smoothly playing the Iron Man 2 trailer in 1080p and running the IE9 HTML5 demos without any hiccups.
Read on for more details about Microsoft’s ARM announcement, and see our Smartphone Processor Guide for more information about ARM’s SoC processor architectures.