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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Apple Ditching Qualcomm Modems; Unbreakable Phone Screens in Works; Surface Pro with LTE Advanced Next Month

Apple has been squabbling in court with Qualcomm for some time, and Qualcomm has withheld software used to test its communications components. Now, according to appleinsider.com, Apple is designing phones and iPads to run on Intel and MediaTek modems. Apple has used multiple suppliers for years in iPhones, but often the Qualcomm modems have been the ones that could work on bands used by more carriers.

Who hasn’t dropped their phone and sweated it cracking or breaking…or worse, picked it up to see a shattered screen? Now, thenextweb.com reports that scientists at the University of Sussex may have a solution…screens made of silver nanowire and graphene. Present screens that use indium tin oxide are not only fragile…indium is scarce and expensive, and an environmental disaster to extract. Of course, the world isn’t exactly flooded with silver, either…that’s where the silver nanoparticles come in. Combining them with graphene…made from plentiful graphite…you get a less expensive and stronger alternative. With any luck, this development…which the scientists say is easily scalable to mass production…will be in phones soon, and broken screens will be pretty much a thing of the past!

Microsoft is planning to ship a new version of Surface Pro tablets that have LTE Advanced mobile connectivity by early december. Geekwire.com says the successor to the Surface Pro 4 will start at $1149 with 4 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs storage. An 8 gig of RAM and 256 gigs storage model will set you back $1449. Both run an Intel Core i5 processor.


Apple Music Getting Much-Needed Makeover; Flexible Brighter e-Paper May Be Coming

Apple will show a revamp of it’s Apple Music streaming service at WWDC in June, according to a Bloomberg report picked up by macrumors.com. The interface will allegedly be more intuitive and easier to use. The service has grown to more than 13 million subscribers in the past year, but has also taken considerable criticism on it’s clunkiness and artists have griped that the social aspect….Connect….has failed miserably.

A Chinese company has figured out a way to use graphene to make e-paper that’s brighter and more flexible that the present screen material. Geek.com reports that the company- Guangzhou OED Technologies- already markets e-paper displays under the O-paper brand. They are promising that production will start yet this year, so the next generation Kindles from Amazon in 2017 may be not only much more readable, but ‘bendy,’ or there could even possibly be a roll up e-paper device.


LG Will Join the Roll Your Own CPU Club

Smartphone and appliance maker LG has made a big move. Their next smartphone will sport the company’s own CPU chips. Engadget.com says they’re an 8 core chip similar to Samsung’s.

A married couple has unveiled the world’s first 3D print graphene battery. Forbes.com reports that the prototype already matches the power of a AA battery, and can be made in any shape. They plan to offer materials for people to print their own at home!

Talk about a vanity app…Looksery has launched a video chatting app that makes you look more attractive. TechCrunch.com says the app is live on Apple’s app store, and you can make avatars with it, too. I’ll be George Clooney, please.