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 Gets CA Permit for Self-Driving Car Tests; Gadget Pulls Water Out of Thin Air

In a rather stealthy web update Friday before the Easter weekend, California’s DMV revealed that Apple has joined 29 other companies in getting a permit to test self-driving vehicles. According to businessinsider.com, this is the first hint that Cupertino was still working on self-driving tech since a letter to the NHTSA in December. Apple will be running its tech in 3 Lexus SUVs and the permit covers 6 drivers…other than the cars themselves. It appears that Apple is working on autonomous software, and not a full car, but stay tuned.

Scientists at MIT and Cal Berkeley have developed a solar powered water harvester that can extract humidity out of thin air to produce drinking water. Thenextweb.com reports that it’s solar powered, and can produce 3 liters of water in 12 hours, in a place with only 20-30% humidity….so will even work in a desert. (The Mojave desert daytime humidity runs 10-30%.) The scientists say a person could survive in the desert on a soda can’s worth of water a day, and the gadget can produce that much water in an hour. It uses a new type of metal-organic framework, or MOF.


Pixel Preorders Outstrip Demand; Microsoft VR Headset Partners; Surface Book i7; Renewables Pass Up Coal

Since the sputtering flameout of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Apple has increased production of iPhones, expecting to pick up new customers. According to 9to5google,com, they aren’t alone. Google Pixel phone preorder deliveries have now slipped to mid-November. Some phones originally slated for delivery this week will now be shipped November 18th!

At their event today, Microsoft announced they are working with partners to release standalone VR headsets starting at $299. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer are all involved. Thenextweb.com says Redmond also showed off a ‘HoloTour’ app that was initially developed for the HoloLens that lets you take Street View like trips around the globe.

Microsoft adds the Surface Book i7 to the Surface family. It contains a number of internal upgrades according to arstechinca.com, including a welcome 16 hour battery life! More from the Microsoft event-which is going on now-tomorrow.

Noting a major milestone, slashdot.org reports that renewable energy sources like solar and wind have passed up coal as the world’s largest source of power capacity! The International Energy Agency says a million solar panels were installed every day last year, and two wind turbines were added every hour last year in China alone.