They may not have the biggest market share, but according to a Strategy Analytics report picked up by 9to5mac.com, Apple took in 91% of mobile industry profits in the third quarter of 2016. Huawei had the best showing of any Android maker with 2.4%. Samsung, of course, helped Apple by taking a big loss with the recall of their fiery Galaxy Note 7 models. LG and HTC also reported losses.
Thenextweb.com reports that a new battery concept from scientists at University of Central Florida may be able to charge in seconds and last 20 times longer than a conventional lithium ion cell….possibly lasting over a week! It’s essentially a super capacitor. The battery doesn’t degrade like present ones, either…holding the same charge after 30,000 recharges. Keep your fingers crossed, if this pans out, it will be a game changer for smart devices, electric vehicles, and anything else running on batteries.
Microsoft has announced that Skype Translator, which has been freestanding and Spanish to English only, will be coming to Windows PCs in the next few weeks. Geekwire.com reports that it will be a baked in feature to PC based Skype, and will also add French, German, Italian, and Mandarin for voice, plus 50 written languages. They won’t have it out for smartphones, at least for a while. Microsoft admits it’s not perfect, but early tests indicated people can carry on a conversation with it.
Battery life just sucks, and virtually every gadget we use runs by battery power. Something better may be on the way, at least for the smaller devices. According to engadget.com, scientists in Canada and France have come up with a micro-supercapacitor with the same energy density of most lithium ion batteries. Even Elon Musk has lusted for capacitors as a replacement for batteries, since you can recharge them infinitely without loss of capacity. The rub with the micro-supercapacitor is it’s built from exotic materials like gold and ruthenium oxide, so crazy expensive when you scale up in size. The scientists say for replacing micro batteries, though, the capacitors can store 1000 times the energy of those tiny batteries. They may be showing up in wearables before long, but we’ll have to wait a while for instant charging cell phones and electric cars.
With a second generation refresh of the Apple Watch expected out next year, 9to5mac.com says multiple sources are touting some features we will probably see on v. 2.0. Among those are a Face Time video camera built into the top bezel, and a new WiFi system for more iPhone independence. Insiders say you may be able to do most basic communication over WiFi without going through your iPhone. One thing not expected is more battery life. Apparently, Apple says most customers are happy with what the device now has. Did we mention they plan additional pricey premium models starting at over $1000?
On the subject of batteries, some researchers at Stanford have come up with a way to make lithium-ion batteries safer. As has been known, they can overheat and catch fire sometimes. Engadget.com reports the researchers have developed a chemical layer over the lithium anodes that prevents the finger like dendrites from growing out and shorting the battery. The barrier utilizes a mixture lithium nitrate and lithium polysulfide, for you chemistry nerds. A nice side effect is longer life. The treated batteries hold 99% efficiency for over 300 charges, compared with 150 cycles without. The breakthrough could lead to electric vehicles that could go days without a recharge.