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Researchers announce the development of flexible, stretchable lithium-ion batteries

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 5:36 am

We've been hearing about flexible smartphones and displays, but before we can even imagine them in the consumer space, we need batteries to be flexible and stretchable. Well, it looks like that wait might be getting closer to an end, with researchers announcing the development of such a technology.

 

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Using a process called "ordered unraveling", John A. Rogers from the University of Illinois and Yonggang Huang from Northwestern University say that their battery can be stretched by up to 300% of its original size, all without losing any functionality. Energy storage islands and "serpentine" wire connections are placed in a sheet of polymer. Polymer is flexible and stretchy by default, with the overlapping wiring can be installed without being damaged.

 

What can we expect in terms of battery life? According to the engineers, their solution performs close to a standard lithium-ion battery of the same physical size. So we're looking at around 8-9 hours, as well as the ability to charge it wirelessly, but the current prototype they're using loses some capacity after just 20 recharges.

Rovio updates Bad Piggies, gives gamers 30 new levels and more

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 4:36 am

Rovio have released an update to Bad Piggies, which gives gamers 30 new levels as part of a bundle called 'Flight in the Night'. The new content also includes access to new Road Hogs events, a new sandbox and extra achievement features.

 

 

Angry Birds makes an appearance in Flight in the Night, where once the Angry Birds are asleep and the sun has gone down, the fun with Flight in the Night begins. Gamers will need to pilot the pigs to their destination without disturbing the snoozing birds, as they're very territorial - one wrong move and they'll attack you.

 

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Not only are there 30 new maps, but there are six new time trial events, a brand new sandbox where you can flex your creativity, and finally, six new achievements to try and collect.

Pandora limits mobile listeners to just 40 hours of free music listening per month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 3:34 am

If you're a heavy user of Pandora, you won't like this news - the company has announced they're putting a limit on how much music you can listen to through their free app. There's now a 40-hour limit, which was pushed in thanks to the rise in royalty rates that Pandora must pay record companies.

 

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If you'd like to listen to more than 40 hours of music per month, you can choose to subscribe to the Pandora One service. This service gives users unlimited listening, on top of a lack of advertisements. You can either choose this, or pay a one-time $0.99 fee to listen as long as you'd like for the rest of the month. Desktop users still have the ability to listen to unlimited music.

 

Most of you reading this will never hit the limit. In fact, it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month.

 

That said, limiting listening is a very unusual thing to do, and very contrary to our mission so we wanted to share a quick explanation. Pandora's per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption.

Wii U not doing well in Japan, Vita outsold it last week

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 2:19 am

Nintendo's Wii U console isn't doing too well in Japan, where according to last week's sales figures, Sony's PlayStation Vita outsold it. Japanese sales analyst, Media Create, had a report published where the Vita sold 11,456 units between February 18-24, with the Wii U selling just 9,633.

 

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The PS Vita did have a price drop, but these sales were before the price drop had come into effect. Next week's numbers should be even stronger for the Vita. Nintendo's 3DS is still going strong, selling a blistering 74,729 units last week along.

Galaxy S IV benchmarks leaked, dominates the competition

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 1:35 am

Samsung is set to launch their competition crushing Galaxy S IV in just over two weeks time, but now we have some benchmarks to share with you. It looks like Samsung's upcoming flagship smartphone has enjoyed some leaked benchmark scores, with a result posted to Browsermark's database today.

 

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In raw CPU performance, it completely demolishes the competition - scoring 2710 using Google Chrome 25. The previous champion? Apple's iPhone 5 with 2416 using Safari. Samsung's Galaxy S III LTE model scored 2359. If these results are true, the Galaxy S IV is going to be a true powerhouse of a smartphone, and you can't complain at that.

 

The other thing to remember is that there won't be much in the form of competition against it, as any phone that would trump it would require even faster internals. Sure, we have the Snapdragon 800, Tegra 4 (and 4i) coming, as well as Samsung's own Exynos 5 Octa, but the Galaxy S IV is going to be here, very soon. Those other SoCs are months away.

Chrome for Android updated to version 25

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 28, 2013 12:01 am

Google has updated the Android version of its Chrome browser to 25. With the update comes numerous feature additions, such as the ability to play audio while the app is in the background. Of course, like all app updates, this update brings with it numerous stability and performance fixes.

 

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The full update list includes:

 

  • Improved scrolling performance
  • Increased responsiveness to pinch-zooming on pages
  • Faster interactive pages thanks to the latest version of the V8 javascript engine
  • Audio now continues to play while Chrome is in the background
  • Expanded support for HTML5 features
  • Support for pausing audio in Chrome when phone is in use (note: this requires an additional permission)

 

You can pick up the latest version of the app on the Google Play Store.

iPhone, Android smartphones get access to Adobe Photoshop Touch for $4.99

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 11:32 pm

Adobe has finally made its mobile Photoshop app available for smartphones. The new app, which will set customers back $4.99, is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app has been available on mobile tablets for a while now and this new version features a redesigned experience for the smaller screens.

 

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Many of the same features are available in the new mobile app as are available on tablets. Of course, this app isn't nearly as powerful as the desktop app, but it does come with some of the core features that users would expect from an application carrying the "Photoshop" name.

 

Users will also get a free 2GB of Adobe Creative Cloud storage. iPhone users will need iOS 6.0+ and an iPhone 4S and Android users will need to be running version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Nintendo Wii Mini coming to UK on March 22 for 80 pounds

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 11:02 pm

Our UK readers will soon be able to purchase the Nintendo Wii Mini for 80 pounds. Game and Amazon both currently have the Wii Mini up for pre-order at that price and ShopTo has it for 85 pounds. The device will be available for purchase on March 22, 2013.

 

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80 pounds comes in at around 50 pounds cheaper than the original Wii and is over 150 pounds cheaper than the cheapest Wii U pack currently available. We've reported about the Wii Mini before, which has previously only been available in Canada. The Wii Mini features stripped down internals, such as no SD card and only one USB port.

Auction for Google Glass on Ebay pulled after price shoots past $15k

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 10:29 pm

Unfortunately for those who missed the Google Glass pre-order, there is really only one other way to get a headset before everyone else: buy one from someone who pre-ordered a set. Since the competition to win a chance to buy a pair ends today, you're basically left waiting for the public release or buying a pre-release product from one of those lucky few who have purchased one already.

 

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One such person put up an auction on Ebay, which has now been pulled. The auction started at $1,500, the sunk price for the headset, though it quickly skyrocketed to over $15,000 before being pulled. It's not clear whether the user pulled the auction or whether Ebay and/or Google had something to do with it.

 

From the auction's description:

 

I've been selected as an early adapter for Google's upcoming release. you are buying a brand new unopened pair of Google's Project Glass glasses. i will be personally attending and picking up my pair in either Los Angeles, or New York at Google's Project Glass launch event, which will take place some time after Feburary 27th.

 

Is it really worth 10 times the asking price? I'd say no, but there are people who have plenty of money laying around that they could drop on something like this.

ExclusiveTT: Haswell coming at Computex on Z87 chipset, next-gen performance platform to be X99

By: Trace Hagan | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 9:41 pm

Time to spill the beans on Intel's upcoming CPU and chipset plans, if our tomato sauces are correct. One of our sources tipped us that Haswell will be coming at Computex (June 2013) on the Z87 platform as the mid-range solution (much alike the previous-gen Z77), though this is something that is widely available through Google, and mostly widely known among inner circles as being fact.

 

More importantly, the source let us know that the next-generation performance range of CPUs will be coming by the end of the year, and not 2014 as previous speculated. This news comes from a source that is very close to the subject.

 

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While we suspect this to be Ivy Bridge-E based, our source wasn't exactly clear and it could end up being Haswell-E, with Ivy Bridge-E being skipped. We do know, however, that the next-gen performance chip will make use of a chipset called X99. A quick Google for "X99" turns up relatively little and basically nothing about an Intel chipset.

 

We'll be sure to keep you up-to-date with all of the latest Intel CPU and chipset news as soon as we hear anything more.

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