Tech Firms Seek Energy Alternatives to Power Data Centers

Hotter temperatures are not only wreaking havoc on residential electric bills and power grids, but also on data centers, which are looking for reliable green backup power to prepare for “the new normal” and keep our planet’s collective knowledge accessible online through record heat. Cooling system failures resulting from the UK’s July heatwave resulted in Google Cloud’s London data centers going offline for a day, creating a ripple effect for customers as far off as the U.S. and in the Pacific region. Oracle’s London cloud-based data center was also impacted by what the company called “unseasonal temperatures.” Continue reading Tech Firms Seek Energy Alternatives to Power Data Centers

Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Samsung says over the next five years it will invest $356 billion in chip production, biopharmaceuticals and other next-gen tech, creating tens of thousands of new jobs. While Samsung says most of the funds — $285 billion — will be spent in South Korea, the Seoul-based electronics giant also has operations in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Philippines. That new plan marks a 30 percent increase in Samsung’s spending over the previous five-year period and is a considerable expansion over earlier budgeting. Memory chip manufacturing and 6G wireless are among the areas to benefit from the new investment. Continue reading Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

Flowcopter is said to be creating the world’s first gas-fueled drone, with a flight range of hundreds of miles, potentially spanning hours. Current drones rely on battery power or electrical recharging. While the consensus is that battery technology is advancing rapidly, and will someday permit lightweight, long-range travel in drones and other vehicles, fossil fuels currently provide denser sources of energy with less weight and at lower cost. The reasons there are no gas-fueled quadcopters to date is their engines aren’t as precisely controllable as are electric motors. But Flowcopter feels it has overcome that. Continue reading Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

ETC’s George Gerba visited the CES Unveiled show floor in Las Vegas Monday evening looking for companies and products that would be of interest to our members, illustrate emerging trends, or are simply unusual. Gerba discovered a range of compelling technologies across areas such as blockchain, non-fungible tokens, Li-Fi, wearables, large-scale video screens, the metaverse, remote work, cell signal boosters, health, batteries and more. Among the more interesting companies at CES Unveiled this year were Icecap, Oledcomm, Somalytics, VideowindoW, Toraru, SureCall, Biospectal, Prinker, Airxom and Nanotech Energy.  Continue reading CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

Apple Self Service Repair Shop Is Good News for Consumers

In what’s billed as a major triumph in the “right to repair” movement, Apple says it will begin selling the parts and tools to allow people to make their own iPhone repairs. The movement gained momentum in July when the FTC announced it would step up enforcement against tech firms that made gadget repairs difficult for consumers and small businesses. Microsoft, which along with Apple, Google and Amazon had lobbied against the FTC effort, in October announced it was joining Dell, HP and Motorola in getting a jump on “right to repair” legislation. Continue reading Apple Self Service Repair Shop Is Good News for Consumers

Tesla Value Pushes Past $1 Trillion with News of Hertz Order

Tesla valuation shot up to $1 trillion on news that Hertz ordered 100,000 vehicles for delivery by the end of 2022. The purchase is anticipated to favorably affect Tesla consumer sales as rental drivers are able to essentially test-drive Tesla electric cars. Over the past year Tesla stock has more than doubled, and the $1 trillion valuation puts it in an elite class of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet whose market caps exceed $1 trillion. Facebook in June crossed the $1 billion valuation mark only to fall below during September and October selloffs. Continue reading Tesla Value Pushes Past $1 Trillion with News of Hertz Order

Flagship Pixel Phones Now Powered by Google Tensor Chip

The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro smartphones are here, complete with a profound hardware upgrade, capably showcased in the camera system, which benefits from a processing boost thanks to Google’s new Tensor mobile chip. Basically, Google has completely redesigned its flagship phone, adding bold colors and improving the camera to a degree that should make it competitive with other high-performance phones. While it’s been noted that some of what are being billed as the camera’s Android 12 features exclusive to Pixel 6 have previously been offered on other phones, Google’s configuration appears to be unique. Continue reading Flagship Pixel Phones Now Powered by Google Tensor Chip

Laptops Embrace Smartphone Tech in Wake of the Pandemic

According to IDC, although computer sales have been decreasing for the past decade, during the COVID-19 pandemic PC sales shot up 50 percent or more per quarter compared with the previous year. As a result, laptop manufacturers are now integrating technologies once reserved for smartphones, including powerful processors, higher-resolution displays, and increased battery life. New designs such as tablets that snap onto keyboards (detachables) and thin laptops with 360-degree hinges that fold into tablet form are also emerging. Continue reading Laptops Embrace Smartphone Tech in Wake of the Pandemic

Biden Orders an Evaluation of Semiconductor Supply Chains

In response to a worrying shortage in chips, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to conduct a 100-day review of the supply chains for semiconductors for various products, large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, pharmaceuticals, and rare-earth elements crucial to technology and defense. Biden is also seeking $37 billion in funding to “supercharge” chip manufacturing and urged a separate one-year review of supply chains of six “broader sectors” including food production and technology. Continue reading Biden Orders an Evaluation of Semiconductor Supply Chains

GoPro Releases New Wireless Remote, Firmware for Cameras

GoPro launched a new wireless remote with free firmware updates that is designed to control the company’s cameras even if they are far away or mounted somewhere hard to reach. Priced at $80 — the same as the previous Smart Remote — it is compatible with the Hero 9 Black, Hero 8 Black and Max cameras. Improvements in design include a larger display and an even bigger Record button on the front, ideal for use with gloved hands. Dubbed the miniature Remote, it is also waterproof up to a depth of 16 feet. Continue reading GoPro Releases New Wireless Remote, Firmware for Cameras

Court Finds Amazon Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

The California Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can be held liable for the damages created by a defective replacement laptop battery purchased from a third-party seller on its marketplace. The buyer, Angela Bolger, reportedly got third degree burns when the battery, from Amazon third-party seller Lenoge Technology, caught fire. Amazon has defended itself against such liability lawsuits so the appeals court decision is a major blow to its e-commerce business. The company currently faces several other liability suits.

Continue reading Court Finds Amazon Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

Apple Planning Mac Computers with Own ‘Kalamata’ Chips

Two years ago, Apple stated plans to sell Mac computers with its own chips, and now announced it will roll them out in 2021. The company is developing three Mac-specific chips using the 5-nanometer process it will debut this year. The chips, which are expected to be faster than those found in the iPhone and iPad, won’t be able to initially surpass Intel’s performance for Apple’s high-end MacBook Pros, iMacs and Mac Pro. For that reason, Apple will likely first debut a laptop. Apple has used Intel chips since 2005. Continue reading Apple Planning Mac Computers with Own ‘Kalamata’ Chips

CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

At CES 2020, the non-profit standards organization Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced that LE (Low Energy) Audio would be incorporated into its technology, improving a standard signal’s ability to manage and share wireless audio streams between devices — without stressing the batteries. In fact, since 2012, Bluetooth has incorporated LE features, dubbed Bluetooth Smart and BLE, to allow wearables and sensors to stay connected and minimize battery drain. But it has had no impact on wireless audio devices, which LE Audio hopes to remedy. Continue reading CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

Apple Showcases Upcoming Devices, Subscription Services

At the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino on Tuesday, Apple unveiled three new iPhones and announced the $4.99 monthly fee for its TV+ streaming video offering (to launch November 1) and Arcade video-game service (coming September 19). The iPhone 11 models — starting at prices ranging $699-$1,099 — tout updates such as new colors, improved battery life, more camera lenses, Night Mode for low-light photography, and the option to record video by simply holding down the camera button. The tech giant also unveiled an upgraded 10.2-inch iPad with A10 processor in addition to a new Series 5 Apple Watch featuring more power (starting at $399), while reducing the price of its Series 3 model about 30 percent to a low $199. Continue reading Apple Showcases Upcoming Devices, Subscription Services

Apple Close to Deal to Buy Intel’s 5G Mobile Chip Business

According to sources, Apple is far along in talks to purchase Intel’s smartphone-modem chip business, a deal valued at $1+ billion. If successfully concluded, the deal would give Apple the means to produce its own chips and Intel’s expertise in 5G modem chips. Apple has long sought to be able to provide its own chips, hiring engineers, including some from Intel, in order to differentiate its phones in a market that has plateaued. Intel would like to sell its smartphone business that has been losing about $1 billion each year. Continue reading Apple Close to Deal to Buy Intel’s 5G Mobile Chip Business