An Apple patent uncovered on Thursday describes new technology Apple is experimenting with in an effort to increase the battery life in its device lines. The patent filing, entitled Increasing Energy Density in Rechargeable Lithium Battery Cells, describes a unique multi-pronged approach to the problem of poor battery life in consumer electronics. Apple is investigating the use of a new “multi-step constant-current constant-voltage (CC-CV) charging technique,” which would increase the volumetric and gravimetric energy density of energy-storing material within a battery. According to the filing, this would increase the capacity of a battery without impacting battery size or charge time. Relative to competitive products, Apple’s mobile device and laptop lines are often praised for exhibiting impressive battery life. There can never be enough time in between charges, however, and as more features and better displays are added to future devices, manufacturers will always struggle to ensure battery life is not overly degraded as a result. More →
Competing smartphone platforms might be catching up to iOS when it comes to apps and UI styling — but can your Google phone do this? An iPhone 4 belonging to Omar Huartas allegedly blew up while his wife was holding it. According to Huertas’ video recount of the incident, the Apple smartphone became extremely hot while his wife held the device. The battery apparently swelled, dislodging the rear battery cover and catching fire. Huertas’ wife dropped the device on a table where it left visible burn marks. At some point during the fray, it also allegedly burned Huertas’ hand and expelled enough smoke that it set off his fire alarm. In a tweet to @ceoSteveJobs, a parody account on Twitter that Mr. Huertas may have thought to be real, Huertas writes, “my name omar huertas your iphone 4 blew up in my wife hand battery i spoke with apple i need something done loss data kids pic.” Huertas says he went to the Apple store to get a replacement phone, and it is unclear whether or not the affected handset is still in his possession. Hit the break for a bizarre video reenactment of the alleged incident. More →
Earlier this week, Kaufman Brothers analyst, Shaw Wu, made waves when he asserted that Research In Motion’s highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet could be delayed due to “battery issues.” Mr. Wu’s exact statement was as follows: “RIM needs to improve its relatively poor battery life of a few hours compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for [Apple’s] iPad.” Today, RIM has fired back with a concrete statement of its own, claiming that the PlayBook battery issues Wu reports are nonexistent.
Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.
There you have it. We would love for RIM to be a bit more forthcoming as to when — approximately — the device will be released, but we’ll just have to take this statement for now. More →
According to Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu, RIM may be forced to delay the release of its first tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Wu claims he is hearing that the PlayBook “needs to improve its relatively poor battery life of a few hours compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for [Apple’s] iPad.” As a result, Wu writes, the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook may be delayed until May, 2011. Wu notes that the cause of the battery issues may stem from the fact that QNX, the PlayBook’s operating system, was designed for use in scenarios where battery life is not an issue — such as in automobiles. RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie stated last month that the PlayBook would launch in the first quarter of 2011, with a price tag under $500.
We ran an exhaustive video preview of the BlackBerry PlayBook earlier this month, and called the PlayBook experience as it stands now “fluid, quick, and downright impressive.” With Apple’s iPad 2 and several Android tablets set to launch over the course of the first quarter, however, sales of the BlackBerry PlayBook could be negatively impacted should RIM be forced to delay the tablet’s launch until the second quarter. More →
To be honest, we haven’t heard all that much complaining from DROID X users running Android 2.2, but apparently Motorola has. In a forum post, Motorola listed several issues being experienced and reported by DROID X users who have upgraded their devices to Android 2.2. The list includes: stuck on Motorola logo after boot, random rebooting, Wi-Fi connection stability, Battery Manager “Force Close” error, media not playing, and music files cutting out early. Hit the jump for the full explanation and let us know if you’re seeing any of these issues. More →
The gang over at ifixit have taken Apple’s newest iPod Shuffle and given it a proper tear down. The fourth-generation Shuffle doesn’t contain any mysterious secrets — we’re not sure there is room for them — but the site does list a 51 mAh battery, logic board, click-wheel, and casing. It is pretty remarkable that a 51 mAh battery can last for 15 hours; most smartphone batteries — powering a screen — start at 1,000 mAhs. The site does say that in order to get inside the device you basically have to break it; making self-repair an interesting proposition. Hit the jump to see the tear-down in its full glory. More →
Any Apple fans out there waiting to grab the brand new iPod touch hotness? If so, you’re going to be pleased to learn that Apple’s newest iToy has hit the FCC for certification and has been mercilessly torn down. You’ll find that Apple A4 CPU, an internal antenna, 802.11 b/g/n, and a 3.44 watt-hour battery. Not to mention the Retina Display, front-facing camera for FaceTime, and rear-facing HD-capable shooter. Delicious.
Just a quick PSA: Garmin has just announced that they are voluntarily recalling 1.25 million nüvi navigation units due to the possibility of faulty batteries. A press release explains that some devices, with a specific printed circuit board design, could contain defective third-party batteries that, “in rare circumstances, increase the possibility of overheating, which may lead to a fire hazard.” The nüvi models affected include those with the model numbers 200W, 250W, 260W, 7xx and 7xxT. If you want to determine if your nüvi is being recalled you can visit garmin.com/nuvibatterypcbrecall to check. We have the full press release after the break. More →
Yesterday, Facebook acknowledged that their recent Android application update — version 1.3 — contained a bug that was draining handset batteries. The post looked like this:
Hi folks, a number of you have commented on seeing a battery drain on your device since installing the new Facebook for Android app. We have identified the bug that is causing this battery drain and are working on a fix now. As soon as the patch is ready, we will push out an update. Thanks for the quick feedback and for your patience as we get this fixed!
Today, the company has released an updated version of the software — version number 1.3.1 — that, according to a subsequent Facebook post, “includes a fix for the battery drain problem some of you were running into.” Hit the Android Market to install the update. Anyone experience unexpected battery drain after installing Facebook 1.3?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple, Inc. is looking into reports that the performance of iOS 4, on the iPhone 3G, is sub-par. The most common gripes are that the two-year old handset is “sluggish” and “burns through a charge” very quickly after the update is installed. Anyone out there experiencing this? More →
Japanese electronics manufacturer Brother is stepping outside its printing and sewing machine roots to explore motion-powered battery technology. The Japanese company is unveiling prototype AA and AAA batteries that are comprised of a rechargeable battery and an accompanying generator which produces power from vibrations/movement. The system can generate up to 180mW and is designed for low power devices like remote controls and LED flashlights. No word on when, or even if, these batteries will hit mass production but folks in Japan can get a sneak peek at this shake and charge battery system during the upcoming Techno-frontier 2010 being held July 21 to 23 in Tokyo. More →
A rumor out of TmoNews suggests that the newly announced Motorola Charm may be delayed before it even gets out of the starting gate. The handset is reportedly experiencing issues with the battery that are serious enough to force Motorola and T-Mobile to delay the launch of the Android handset until August. Under the same breath, the whisperer mentioned the possibility of Motorola including an extended battery with each handset; a scenario that may allow for a timely launch and a bandaid for the problem while Motorola works out the kinks. Whatever the case, those interested in the Charm may want to watch for a follow-up to see if this rumor pans out. More →
We weren’t the only ones to get an iPhone 4 early — iFixIt just released one of their famous teardowns, and while nothing is really new, we do have confirmation on some of the bigger points:
- RAM is confirmed to be 512MB compared to 256MB in the iPad and iPhone 3GS
- The two screws on the bottom allow removal of the back glass plate, not the front LCD as with previous models
- The battery, while not user accessible, is easily replaceable — and huge!
- The entire from LCD assembly will require replacement if damaged. On earlier models people would buy either the LCD or digitizer separately and adhere them together, but with Apple’s new manufacturing process, this won’t really be possible
- The integration of cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios into the case assembly is “genius”. We agree
So, interested in checking out some more shots of the iPhone 4’s insides? Couple more photos after the jump, and hit iFixIt for the rest! More →