Thin-and-light laptops were a major trend in 2009, but is that still the case in 2010? A recently circulating series of photos from Vietnamese tech Web site vozExpress show what looks like a soon-to-be-announced Toshiba laptop, one that promises to be both the thinnest and lightest 13-incher on the market. Based on the corner we can see, it certainly looks attractive. As to whether it's truly useful remains to be seen.
International Battery, which makes large-format lithium ion batteries for utility-grade energy storage, has raised $35 million in a series C round of funding.
The money comes from existing investor, private equity firm Digital Power Capital, and will be used for expanding manufacturing in Allentown, Penn., according to International Battery.
Many lithium ion battery companies, including A123 Systems and EnerDel, are developing packs for both vehicles and utility-grade storage.
International Battery's technology of large-format lithium ion cells is best suited for stationary uses, such as back-up storage for renewable energy. Its prismatic-shaped cells are about the size of bricks, rather … Read more
Netbook fans have had their share of ups and downs recently--for example, getting better battery life from the new Intel Atom N450 CPUs, but being herded toward the limited Starter edition of Windows 7 at the same time. Another frustrating problem was the absence of Nvidia's Ion GPU from the latest generation of Netbooks--a situation now rectified by the announcement of Nvidia's new next-generation Ion.
We were big fans of the HD video and modest 3D-gaming capabilities of the Ion when we saw it in fall 2009 in systems such as the HP Mini 311. But changes Intel made to the Atom platform for the current N450 (and N470) CPUs locked the Ion out of newer systems, at least for a while. Until now, the only similar option has been Broadcom's Crystal HD video accelerator, which works well for HD video files, but somewhat less well for streaming Web video (even if you install the latest Flash beta player software), and it also lacks the capability to do 3D graphics.
The new Ion operates differently, as a result of Intel's decision to combine its Netbook CPU and integrated graphics into a single unit. Instead of taking over for the integrated graphics and talking directly to the CPU, the next-gen Atom communicates with Intel's new NM10 chipset, which in turn goes to the processor and then the display.
While it may offer only modest performance improvements over the original Ion (we'll know more after benchmark testing), the new version also works with Nvidia's Optimus technology, which seamlessly switches between integrated and discrete GPUs to extend battery life. That means the Ion chip can switch on when needed, but not drain the battery otherwise. … Read more
Hyundai has released preview images and details of its i-flow concept, which will bow at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The concept will be powered by Hyundai's first diesel-electric hybrid power train and should slip through the air with a slippery 0.25Cd drag coefficient.
At the heart of the i-flow's power train his Hyundai's new 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine that shares motivational duties with a yet-undisclosed electric motor and a lithium ion-polymer battery pack. Hyundai also makes no mention of what sort of hybrid system the i-flow will use. Judging by the size of the engine … Read more
We've been highly skeptical of the benefits of buying a Netbook with a built-in Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator.
First, we're fans of Nvidia's Ion GPU, which not only provides similar HD video playback assistance but also basic 3D graphics support. Second, the Broadcom part wasn't supported by Adobe's Flash player, making it useless for streaming Web video, which is what we'd imagine a lot of Netbook owners would want to play.
But, as the Nvidia Ion in its current form is not available on Netbooks built around Intel's newer Atom N450 CPU, the Broadcom chip is the only game in town at the moment.
Fortunately, Adobe has finally made Flash 10.1 beta 3 available for download, which, according to the PC makers who offer Netbooks with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, provides better HD Web video streaming performance.
We took a Netbook with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, HP's new Mini 210, and ran it through several Web video tests to see if the new Flash player actually provided any benefit. A video overview of our results is embedded (excuse the occasional cameo appearance by my face in the overly reflective glossy screen). … Read more
Update: Check out our video of Flash 10.1 beta 3 in action!
With portable 10-inch screens and prices as low as $299, a Netbook would seem to be a great choice for video-watching on the go. Sadly, your average Netbooks can't handle HD video, so getting a good experience from Hulu, YouTube, or Netflix on Demand is out of the question most of the time.
One could always apply some lowered expectations and consume only SD video sources, but if that really the kind of world we want to live in?
One step in the right direction was … Read more
Think announced Monday that EnerDel will be the exclusive supplier of lithium ion batteries for Think City's U.S.and for 60 percent of its sold in Europe.
The company also announced that AeroVironment will be partnering with Think in the U.S. to build a series of "very-fast-charge stations."
The result of the fast-charging stations, combined with EnerDel's lithium ion batteries in Think City cars, will be electric that take only 15 minutes to charge from zero capacity to 80 percent capacity, according to Think.
You've gotta love Ion. Year after year, no company better embodies the CES spirit of throwing offbeat products at the wall and seeing what sticks. Some of the products catch on and some don't, but it's always fun to flip through its new releases and see what might be the Skymall superstar of the new year.
For 2010, Ion is continuing its tradition of USB turntables, iPod speakers, and analog media converters (including a USB Walkman-style cassette deck), but also breaking ground on several new product categories.
It seems that when Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo said in December that his company would invest $1 billion in green technologies for the home, he may already have had a deal in the works for the garage.
Panasonic will be collaborating with Tesla Motors to develop next-generation nickel-based lithium ion battery cells for electric vehicles, both companies announced Thursday.
"Combining Tesla's rigorous cell testing and understanding of EV requirements with Panasonic's cutting-edge battery technology will result in custom cells optimized for use in EVs," JB Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer, said in a statement.
The … Read more