When Less Isn’t More – We Need Better Batteries

April 28th, 2010 |
More, more, more. In the tech world, who doesn’t want more megahertz in their CPUs? Faster and more powerful GPUs for the increasing demand of high definition video from 1080p. Moore’s Law states that every two years the number of transistors on a circuit board can be doubled. Thus, this is the reason why the iPhones or BlackBerry’s in our pocket are nearly as powerful as a computer I purchased ten years ago. The silicon is shrinking and the hardware is getting stronger.

There’s only one problem – the battery. Batteries haven’t improved as fast as the rest of the computing world. In fact, why the hell are we still using Duracells and Energizers? AA batteries should be obsolete by now. There shouldn’t be a single digital camera on the market that has a battery that can’t last through a days worth of picture taking. No buts. End of story. It’s two-oh-freaking-ten. Designers, get with the times, please!

When Apple revealed their iPhone back in 2007 sporting an internal non-replaceable battery, the world cried foul. Then look what happened. Oh right, no one is whining about it anymore (except for all those Nokia fanboys). The rate at which our gadgets are used to their fullest potential and then disposed is so rapid today that it doesn’t matter. I don’t know a single person who owns an iPhone and has used it to its max for two years and has needed to get the battery replaced – they are still holding charges and bobbing along.

Scene from "The Matrix" (1999)

Asutek (Asus) struck on something interesting back when it introduced the first eeePC and practically opened the floodgates to the Netbook category. Their batteries, at the time, sucked. The original 7″ eeePC ran a variant of the open source OS, Linux, and while it was supposed to be the stepping stone to the future, the OS never caught on. Unlike Windows XP, Linux is so un-bloated that a 3-cell battery lasted quite a long time back in the day. We all know what happened to Linux. Consumers demanded Windows XP, and they got it for another couple years until Microsoft shipped Windows 7. Once everyone made the jump to Windows again on their little Netbooks, people demanded more battery. The 3-cell could no longer cut it. We needed 6, 9, and even 12-cell batteries. As the batteries expanded, the slimness of Netbooks became chunky. The Netbook of today is hardly what you would consider ultraportable. At best, a good Netbook is expected to be able to handle a day’s worth of web browsing, because let’s face it, no one wants to be lugging around an AC adapter at all. Lesson: If you’re going to do Linux, make it a competitor to Windows. I’m willing to bet Google’s extremely feather light Chrome OS will be able to jump start what Asus, HP, and many other companies have failed at.

If you asked me which Atom processor is the best for a Netbook, I’d probably have to spend a bit of time on Google. I’ve lost track of all the Intel Atom versions (now there’s dual core Atoms?). The most important thing when considering any mobile device is now, of course, the battery.

With almost every Android phone packing a 1Ghz Snapdragon processsor or iPads with their A4′s and Netbooks with their Atoms, the processor is no longer the cherry on top. Finding a computer that fits your needs, looks good, and has incredible battery life is no easy feat.
One of the companies that have been innovating and putting a larger chunk of R&D into getting more juice out of the old Lithium is none other than Cupertino’s Apple, Inc. Apple may get a lot of attention for their shiny new gadgets from their iPods, iPads, and iPhones, but no one can complain that the batteries that power Apple’s latest gadgets are anything but spectacular. Read the rest of this entry »
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Raymond Wong

Don’t Hate Gizmodo Because They Did Their JOB

April 21st, 2010 |

Over the past weekend, blurry photos of an alleged next generation iPhone managed to get into Engadget‘s hands. What started out as a rumor and then thumbed by netizens as being a fake turned out to indeed be the real McCoy. Initially thought to be a Japanese clone, MacRumors has since retracted that story. The tale went like this: an Apple engineer was drinking at a bar in California and left a new iPhone prototype disguised in a case to make it appear to be a 3GS. Some one managed to find the device, waited around the bar, but no one came to claim it. He later discovered that his find was a never before seen iPhone incognito. Guy shops it around and Gizmodo buys it for $5,000. According to Gizmodo, the engineer lost the iPhone LAST month on March 18. Gizmodo managed to acquire it last week.Photo from the Gizmodo scoop

Gizmodo extensively photo/videographed the prototype iPhone and determined that what they purchased was bonafide genuine Cupertino designed hardware. The Gawker Media technology blog (who was silent the entire weekend while Engadget enjoyed their traffic) published their next generation iPhone story on Monday and quickly racked up over three million page views (now at the verge of reaching 7 million).

Netizens continue to nitpick and cry foul at the discovery due to the nature of the iPhone’s design. The lost prototype appears to be a departure from Apple’s “unibody” and “curved” design mantra that they have slowly pushed onto all their hardware lines, including their recently released iPad.

Brian Lam, editorial head at Gizmodo, received a few calls from Apple requesting the phone back. He fired back with the request that Apple officially acknowledge that their find is a real Apple device. Apple issued a letter to Gizmodo late Monday night and Brian happily said that Jason Chen, editor in chief at Gizmodo who was in possession of the prototype, would be more than willing to send it back to Apple.

That’s not all. On Monday evening, while the tech blogosphere was going nutso (this story was even on Tuesday’s The View of all places to talk tech!), Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz posted a story insisting they were on the cusp of discovering who was the poor Apple engineer who lost the super secret device. They discovered that it was a person named Gray Powell. They promptly plastered screenshots of his Facebook profile picture and Flickr accounts for the world to see.

Netizens quickly gripe again and call Gizmodo a douchebag for exposing the Apple employee, claiming that he will never get a job again anywhere and that he is scarred for life. Web commentators continue to slam Gizmodo for their shoddy “investigative reporting” by buying the prototype and then proceeding with unnecessary trouncing on Powell.

To add more damage points, Brian Lam then posts a snarky “apology” wishing Powell good luck and stating that tomorrow is another day. (The apology has since been retracted).

Now that you’re all caught up on the story, I’d like to say something to all the netizens that are complaining about Gizmodo’s journalism ethics:

Two words. TOO BAD. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong

Gray Pride! Gray Powell Lost an iPhone Prototype and Found New Friends!

April 20th, 2010 |

Does it really suck to be Gray Powell right now? C’mon! This might be the best/worst day of his life! In the last second there were 65 more tweets about Gray Powell. The world is on your side, Gray POWER! Nonstop supportive tweets to comfort him for his common human blunder. Gizmodo contributor, Jesus Diaz, is the one in the Twitter shitter for ratting out beloved Gray Powell. While everyone else keeps the live feed going on this epic leak of, ummmmm, a fucking phone, I am wondering what Gray Powell is doing… right this second!

1. Browsing the gun selection at Walmart
2. Eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and watching Dancing With The Stars
3. Getting a tattoo, shaving his head and bashing out car windows with an umbrella
4. Drinking free pints of Hofbrau at the Gourmet Haus Stadt while high-fiving douche bags
5. Getting a BIG blow job from Steve Jobs. That’s totally not PC.

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Rocky Mills