Phones That Could Charge in Minutes; Apple Leasing Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Cars; Renewable Energy Takes Huge Price Drop

Samsung has developed battery tech that could allow for faster battery charging than ever. Businessinsider.com reports that with the advanced tech, batteries could fast charge in 12 minutes instead of an hour for present fast charging. They did it using graphene instead of copper. The tech could be used in car batteries as well as smart devices. Samsung says they have found a way to mass produce the batteries at an affordable price, but no word on when they might become available.

It appears that Apple has leased a former Chrysler proving grounds in Arizona to test self-driving cars. According to 9to5mac.com, the land is in Wittmann, AZ. Chrysler has a newer facility in Yucca. The word was that the old facility was being sold to home builders, but now it looks like Apple is leasing the area, with has 3000 acres of fenced land, and 5000 total acres…including a city traffic course.

The march to renewable energy doesn’t look like it will be slowing soon. A story from thinkprogress.org found that steadily improving tech has dropped the prices of solar and wind power by 25% in just this year! That’s on top of an 80% reduction the past 10 years, which makes building renewable sources cheaper now than running old coal and nuclear plants.

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Google & Chrysler Pairing for Android Powered Infotainment System; Theatre Mode for iOS; Tesla Autopilot Update

Google and Chrysler are partnering on more than just self-driving tech. 9to5google.com says they are also working on an Android powered infotainment system. This is not Android Auto…it’s built on the Android Open Source Platform, and should provide full access to Google Assistant, Maps, and other resources like Pandora, Spotify, NPR One, and Pocket Casts. It will probably live within the Uconnect system on rollout.

Bgr.com reports that Apple’s iOS 10.3 is getting something called ‘Theatre mode.’ It’s not clear what it is….a popcorn icon denotes it on the screen….but it’s thought to be a Dark Mode something like ‘Do Not Disturb’ where all sounds are muted, and many apps display white text on a black screen. Twitter already has a dark mode for its iOS app, and it works well…easy on the eyes and discreet.

Tesla has started rolling out what they call HW2 Autopilot updates to cars made since October. By next week, according to techcrunch.com, the rest of the Tesla fleet will start seeing the updates. The rewrite of the Autopilot software will eventually enable full self driving mode in Tesla cars. Tesla wants to test complete autonomy by the end of 2017!


Google Self-Driving Tech in Chrysler Minivans Next Year; New iPhones We Can’t Live Without

Tech companies and car makers are moving at warp speed towards self-driving vehicles. Now, 9to5google.com has picked up a Bloomberg report that Google self-driving tech will be featured in 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. The non-exclusive deal may be in place this week. The vans will have a 30 mile electric only range, have a gas V-6 that kicks in after that, and the battery can be recharged in 2 hours when plugged into 240 volts.

In an interview Monday, Apple’s Tim Cook teased that the next generation of iPhones will have features you ‘can’t live without, that you don’t even know you need today…’ So far, Wall Street is not impressed, and the stock is still down, but it does make one wonder if there’s One More Thing or maybe Two that Apple has kept under wraps so that KGI Securities and other usually reliable sources haven’t been able to get wind of. We’ll know in September whether it’s just Tim Cook channeling Steve Jobs’ legendary reality distortion field, or if Apple is really going to knock our socks off with some killer feature or features.