Sale or partnership considered for poorly performing IBM department
According to sources familiar with the matter, IBM is pondering a sale of its semiconductor manufacturing facilities and business. The poorly-performing unit makes chips for IBM's own servers, as well as a limited amount of chips for other companies, with the major consumer of the chips being Nintendo, which uses POWER chips in its current Wii-U console.
Third wireless charging system boasts multiple device charging
The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) has launched a new brand for devices that adhere to its certification program. The "Rezence" logo will be applied to devices that are compatible with a third wireless charging system that relies on the principles of magnetic resonance to transfer power, something that offers a number of advantages over existing wireless power systems.
Wind farm to provide power for Oklahoma data center
Google is extending its green credentials, by purchasing the entire output of another wind farm for use by one of its data centers. The Happy Hereford farm near Amarillo, Texas has sold its entire 240-megawatt output to the search provider for an undisclosed amount, with the wind farm itself set to begin production of energy from late 2014 onwards.
Bracketron announces tablet-friendly in-car mounts
Bracketron has added two more mounts to its range of mobile device holders. The Mi-T Grip Dash Mount attaches to a dashboard or any hard surface using suction, and provides a low-profile way of holding an iPad mini or small tablet in a vehicle. A more-conventional Universal Tablet Window Mount performs the same task, but has a reinforced articulating arm and 360-degree rotating head for precise positioning from a glass surface. Prices and a release date have yet to be revealed, but are likely to be around $30 each, based on previous releases.
Processor loses 8 percent accuracy, slashes power draw
Researchers from Rice University and other institutions have unveiled an "inexact" computer chip that is built to allow for errors. The design forsakes 100 percent accuracy in an effort to save power; in its current form, the chips are claimed to be up to 15 times more efficient than current technology.
PlayStation 4 gets possible major new leak
Gradually mounting talk of early PlayStation 4 plans culminated Wednesday with a potentially telling rumor. Believed to be codenamed Orbis or "circle," possibly to make it part of a "circle of life" with the Vita, the system outlined to Kotaku would not just break from using the Cell processor but from the entire Power and NVIDIA graphics combo. Instead, it would reportedly use a 64-bit, x86-based AMD processor as well as graphics based on AMD's Southern Island core, used in the Radeon HD 7700 series and up.
Microsoft may show new Xbox in one year
Microsoft may not give the Nintendo Wii U much breathing room as a new rumor has a new Xbox arriving next year. The new system will reportedly be unveiled next June at E3 2012. Little has been mentioned to BGR in the scoop other than that the very earliest work had started in 2006, just a year after the Xbox 360 was on shelves.
Apple's Papermaster out after just two years
(Updated with added insights) In a surprise move, Apple today confirmed that Senior VP of Device Hardware Engineering Mark Papermaster was leaving the company after less than two years. Neither the company nor Papermaster has said whether the executive is leaving voluntarily or was forced out of the position, but it has already removed his biography. Mac hardware engineering Senior VP Bob Mansfield will take over his responsibilities in the short term.
Apple hires IBM chip exec
An ex-IBM chip design expert is expected join Apple next month, but is facing a lawsuit from his former employer that could block his employment with the Cupertino-based company. According to the complaint, former IBM executive Mark Papermaster will join in Apple as a senior executive in what could be an attempt to make new inroads into the server market and/or bolster the company's Xserve line up. Papermaster, expected to work closely with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, is being sued by IBM to block his employment at Apple and prevent him from divulging trade secrets related to IBM's Power chips and server products.
Zpower zinc-silver battery
Zpower, a provider of silver-zinc battery technology, announced the inclusion of their silver-zinc cells in a major notebook computer in 2009. Zpower claims their batteries have run-times up to 40 percent longer than comparable Lithium-ion cells, while simultaneously offering safety and environmental advantages. Zinc-silver batteries have almost been forgotten about but improvements in materials and manufacturing processes have brought them to compete in a market currently dominated by Li-ion cells.
China-based OEM manufacturer Better-Power Electric has developed a unique combination speaker and charger for the iPod and iPhone using a 4800mA, 3.7V Lithium-Ion Battery. The company says the device can charge an iPhone in 50-80 minutes and also works with various iPods and other mobile devices via USB. The speaker can play music for more than 12 hours, and iPhone owners can reportedly use it as a speakerphone.
MacBook Air solar power
QuickerTek is offering what it calls a "green" method of charging a Macbook Air. Announced on Friday, the Apple Juicz Solar Charger for the Macbook Air allows users to charge a Macbook Air using nothing other than solar power. There are three available models -- differing in size and charging power. All three are capable of folding up for storage and all also come with a stylish element bag for storing and carrying around the charger and a Macbook Air. The Apple Juicz Solar Charger is capable of charging a Macbook Air in between 5 to 14 hours, depending on the model being used. In order to use the charger an additional MagSafe adaptor must be purchased at the cost of $100 or QuickerTek can modify the customers current MagSafe adaptor for $25.
Solar-powered MacBook Air
QuickerTek has introduced a pricey way for MacBook Air owners to show how green they really are. "Apple Juicz" is described by the company as a “major breakthrough” because it powers and charges the MacBook Air at the same time. The Juicz comes in three models, a 19-watt version for $500, 29-watt model for $600 and a 58-watt model for $1000. Each come with solar panels that fold into an included 10.5 inch carrying bag.
MacWireless on Thursday unveiled a new international version of its 200Mbps Powerline Network Adapter, which allows users to channel network activity through power sockets in their home or office. The technology provides users with flexible network deployment options without the need to run Ethernet cable or worry about poor reception over WiFi due to concrete or other wireless interference. MacWireless is selling each adapter for $100 from its website.
iPod accessory manufacturer Griffin Technology on Thursday unveiled the PowerDock 2 and PowerDock 4, a new dual- and quad-slot charger for the iPod and iPhone. The PowerDock gives iPod owners two to four dock connectors with eight universal bezel adapters to hold and charge two iPods or iPhones at the same time. The brushed aluminum stand features a rubber bottom to prevent slipping. Griffin is selling the PowerDock 2 for $50, while the PowerDock 4 is selling for $70.
MacWireless PoE kit for AP
MacWireless.com on Friday unveiled a Power Over Ethernet kit for the Airport Extreme Base Station (802.11n version) that allows users to position the router 328 feet from a power outlet. The kit provides power over an Ethernet cable between a pair of adaptors: one that sits on the power outlet in question and one that resides by the Airport. MacWireless.com is selling the pair of adaptors for $60, and are available from the company's website.
Freeloader for iPod, more
UK-based Solar Technology today unveiled the Freeloader 8.0, a portable solar charger with a built-in battery, designed for the iPod and several other electronic devices. The Freeloader comes in silver and pink, and features two small sold-away solar panels that can charge the internal battery within 5 hours, supplying up to 18 hours of power for the iPod. Solar Technology is selling the Freeloader 8.0 for £30 (~$60 USD); as of now, it is available only in the UK.
Current State for iPhone
As part of Kaleidoscope's private eco-friendly venture, The Greener Grass, the Ohio-based organization has unveiled Current State, a system designed to help iPhone users monitor power usage in their house. The system consists of a series of pass-through plugs that sit between the power outlet and appliance plugs, taking readings of power usage, and sending them to a software front-end on the iPhone. Pricing and availability for the system were not mentioned.
Pyro debuts video encoder
Pyro AV has unveiled Pyro Kompressor HD, a PCI Express-based accelerator solution that encodes HD MPEG-2 and HD H.264/AVC up to eight times faster than software-only video compression. The single-slot PYRO Kompressor HD board is powered by the Ambric Am2045, a parallel processor with 336 RISC processors delivering 1.2 teraOPS-class of video horsepower for consistently high throughput encoding. Pyro Kompressor HD for the Mac platform will be available this spring for $3,500.
Energizer iPod battery
Energizer today unveiled a new iPod battery extender, as well as several new lighting products; it will be demonstrating them at CES 2008. The Energi To Go for iPod uses two AA batteries, and when used with the company’s e2 Lithium cells, produces over 40 hours of audio playback, or 11 hours of video. The unit unfolds, revealing a dock connector, allowing the iPod to sit in the lightweight battery pack. Energi To Go for iPod comes with two Energizer e2 Lithium AA batteries, while pricing and availability has not been mentioned.
iPod speaker, earphones
USBFever.com has launched four new iPod accessories ranging from a tiny portable speaker earphones. The company's Fingertip Mini Cube Speaker serves as a tiny sound system that works with all iPod models. The speaker is small enough to hang on a keychain, and features built-in amplification via a Lithium-Ion battery that users recharge via USB. The Fingertip Mini Cube Speaker ($10) offers 0.8W power output, weighs 17 grams, and includes an on/off button.
The iPowerRush brings 10 to 15 hours of additional playtime to iPods and iPhones by using six AAA batteries, and provides an extra 120 hours of standby time for iPhone users. The unit features a slip design, measured at 2-inches by 3 5/8-inches by 0.5-inch, making it very compact, with a push-button that shows remaining battery power, and also features a built-in voltage limiter that prevents it from over-charging the iPod's battery. The iPowerRush is currently available for $30 from iPowerRush.com.
SwitchEasy iPod cases
SwitchEasy has introduced a bevy of cases for Apple's various devices during the holiday season, while USBfever unveiled a few different accessories geared towards iPod and iPhone users. The Capsule case for the iPhone heads off SwitchEasy's offerings, featuring a hard, duo-tone polycarbonate plastic frame with a built-in lock, with a hard coated protective membrane for the screen. The separately-available VisionClip for the case allows users to holster the iPhone, face-in, while still providing a small cutout allowing users to see who is calling them. The Capsule for iPhone and VisionClip sell for $30 and $15, respectively.