Jan 092018

Eight people were injured and an Apple store evacuated in Zurich on Tuesday due to an smoking and burning iPhone battery, police said.

overheated iphone battery

Smoking iPhone battery (pic: 9to5mac.com)

A frantic customer entered the store on the main shopping street, near the train station, “because of an overheated battery which was releasing smoke“, the police said in a statement.

The employee who tried to remove the battery was “slightly injured” with burned hands, and seven other people received medical care on the spot without needing hospitalization.

The damage was limited thanks to “staff reaction” as quartz sand was poured onto the battery to contain the smoke, police added.

About 50 customers and employees inside the shop were evacuated as a precautionary measure, CNN reports.

Specialists at the Zurich Crime Institute are now studying the battery to determine the causes of the failure.

Jan 082018

A Tesla Model X performed something which was thought to be virtually impossible. A video footage shows the electric crossover being capable to tow a truck-trailer assembly that was stuck on a snowy road in the US state of North Carolina.

elon musk twitter

Elon Musk impressed by Model X performance

It is officially known that a Model X can tow a trailer with a maximum weight of 2,300 kilograms and that is possible thanks to a system that controls the torque distribution between the two axles.

In this case, the driver was using Slip Start mode, which can help Model X drivers navigate certain difficult road conditions such as snow, gravel, or a deep rut.

However, it’s still amazing that the electric car managed to pull a truck that is at least ten times heavier than the Model X towing capacity.

After seeing the remarkable stunt, Tesla’s chief, Elon Musk, did not hesitate to praise and promote Model X on Twitter.

Video: Watch Tesla Model X pull a struck truck on icy road

Jan 082018

Approximately 10% of iPhone users would change their phone battery rather than buying a brand new Apple device, according to a financial analyst at Barclays Capital. Sales of iPhone terminals could be by 16 million units lower in 2018 due to the scandal that rocked the Cupertino-based company, which admitted that it reduced performance on older iPhones because of ageing batteries.

iphone 6 side view

iPhone 6 side view (public domain photo)

More specifically, 10% of those using older models (iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus and SE) said they would choose to change the battery instead of buying a new Apple smartphone.

The same analyst says the US giant could lose up to $10.3 billion in revenue this year because of the battery scandal.

Apple explained that it has intentionally slowed down smartphones performance through software updates in order to minimize the risk for old terminals to shut down unexpectedly. The US tech giant cut the costs for battery replacement down to $29. Moreover, anyone using one of the abovementioned models will be able to change the battery regardless of gadget’s “health”.

Jan 042018

Sony 2018 Smartphones: According to various tech rumors, Sony intends to roll out several high-end and mid-range smartphones in 2018. The company vowed to change the Omnibalance design that has been used for years, however, from what it has been learned so far, the changes won’t be too “radical”.

sony 2018 smarphones

Sony Xperia XZ (pic: wikimedia)

Sony usually launches high-end devices twice a year, at Mobile World Congress and IFA. Here are the models we can safely expect this year:

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium. Sony’s XZ Premium model was performance-packed, but many people claimed it was too expensive and with an obsolete design. Instead, XZ2 Premium will have very narrow edges and retain the front speakers. Furthermore, the device is thought to feature glass back cover and dual cameras.

Sony Xperia XA2 / XA2 Ultra. Sony Xperia XA2 will have a 5-inch screen, just like its predecessor, and is smaller than XA2 Ultra – a phablet featuring a 6-inch Full HD display, a Snapdragon 630 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Its edges will be very narrow, and the front side will have a dual camera for selfies. The main camera will be a “conventional” one with single sensor. According to the rumors, the models in this family will retain the 16:9 display format and will have a fingerprint sensor positioned on the back, and not sideways on the Power button, as it has been so far.

Sony Xperia L2. This model will lie between XA2 and XA2 Ultra. The smartphone will feature a 5.5 inch display, a Snapdragon 630 chipset and 4 GB of RAM. It looks like the terminal will be first delivered with Android Nougat before receiving the Oreo update.
Photo credit: TopGear-V12 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jan 032018

LG is set to announce the new lineup of OLED TVs at CES 2018, including a giant 88-inch 8K screen.

The company still develops the WebOS platform used in recent years, but now is taking a step further focussing on AndroidOS and integrating Google Assistant on its OLED and “Super UHD” LCD TVs, thus completing the functionality of its own ThinQ AI branding.

LG Google Assistant 2018 OLED

LG Thinq AI branding (pic: LG)

For example, users will be able to use ThinQ AI to search online the soundtrack of the movie being played or to automatically turn off the TV at the end of a programme.

Google Assistant will be able to control the rest of the smart devices in the household and eventually answer questions that are not necessarily part of the Smart TV functionality.

In addition to the Voice Assist and Voice Control AI technologies, LG developed also a new image processor for its upcoming TV models, called Alpha 9, which is expected to provide improved algorithms for noise reduction and color representation. At the same time, Alpha 9 delivers support for 120 fps high frame rate HFR content.

The new features will also be available on the LG Super UHD 2018 models, equipped with less expensive LCD panels and using same WebOS-based operating system for managing Smart TV functions. More information will surely be found out at CES 2018 event that is scheduled to begin within just a few days.
Source: The Verge

Jan 032018

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular instant messaging service, ceased support for the following operating systems: Windows Mobile 8, BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10, taking effect December 31, 2017. However, the platform will keep releasing updates for Nokia S40 until the last day of this year.

whatsapp support

Whatsapp (pic. internet)

Users are allowed to use the app for a while, but will no longer be able to create new accounts or recheck existing ones.

Developers have announced that they will focus on newer versions of operating systems including: Android 4.0 or newer, iOS 7 or newer, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile.

The company recommends people to buy newer smartphones as Facebook Messenger is no longer available for those using Windows Phone 8.

At this time, the WhatsApp conversation history can not be transferred from one platform to another, however, users will have the option to email the unsaved data.

WhatsApp was launched in 2009 and was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19.3 billion.

Dec 242017

The first units of the new Ford EcoSport produced in Romania, are ready to serve the European market!

Ford Romania announced last week that the first units of its new EcoSport model produced at Craiova factory were loaded onto freight trains being ready for delivery to European customers.

Ford Ecosport Craiova

Ford Ecosport (Photo: Ford.ro)

“We got already two trains with about 600 cars that were loaded over the weekend (December 9-10). We are very pleased that the official launch is set to take place according to our internal plans and procedures. The Craiova-based team as well as our suppliers have done a great job and are extremely satisfied with the outcome of the operations,” said John Oldham, President of Ford Romania and director of the Craiova manufacturing plant.

The two cargo trains will carry the EcoSports to the UK and Germany, as model’s inaugural launch across Europe is scheduled to take place after mid-January 2018. Ford officially began production of the new EcoSport last October. About 1,700 basic operators and qualified staff were employed at Craiova automotive plant this year in order to address the growing workload. At this point, Ford Romania has 4,200 employees.

May 192017

Statistically, it is reported that more than half those who lose their lives in car accidents on New Zealand’s roads, use vehicles manufactured before 2000’s. (see video below)

Toyota Corolla crash test (pic: ANCAP)

In order to demonstrate the claim, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) conducted an experiment to highlight the development and importance of a car safety performance.

ANCAP experts have set up a crash test using two cars – same brand, same model, – but built 17 years apart.

On the left side there is a Toyota Corolla from 1998 and on the right side a Corolla hatchback (dubbed Auris in Europe) manufactured in 2015. Both Corollas were accelerated to 64 km/h and smashed into each other.

The crash result speaks for itself, hence, which car would you chose???

Video: Crash test Toyota Corolla model 1998 vs. 2015-built counterpart

May 062017

Already in the testing stage, the flying vehicles designated for taxi services are expected to appear soon in the large metropolis landscape, and Uber might be among the first companies to offer such options.

Uber flying taxi Ehang 184 drone

EHang 184 – a self-flying taxi drone to be used by Uber (pic: Youtube capture)

The company’s plans were revealed at a Dallas conference and aim at creating “Elevate Network”, a transport service supported by flight vehicles capable of vertical take-off / landing in specially delimited areas such as public parkings, roof of buildings, or even yard of your own dwelling.

At the event, Uber mentioned its ongoing partnerships with Dubai’s transport authorities, aiming to demonstrate the first functional air taxi service at World Expo 2020. The flight would be served by the eHang184, a driverless drone designed and built in China, able to carry a single passenger weighing up to 100 Kg, and reach a maximum speed of 160 Km/h.

Passengers will be able to enter the desired address in drone’s onboard computer using a touch screen display, and then the vehicle will automatically take off and head for the selected destination. Alternatively, a European version of the air taxi service could involve specially trained pilots to remotely control the flying vehicles.

Fitted with electric propulsion, the flying taxis can ensure a 30 minute flight over a 50 km distance, enough for quick travels between the crowded central areas of the big cities.

Video: EHang 184 – world’s first self-flying taxi drone

Feb 252017

Apple has opened an inquiry into an iPhone 7 Plus “explosion” after the incident was filmed and posted on Twitter.

iphone 7 plus catching fire

Burned and damaged: Iphone 7 Plus (pic: Brianna Olivas/Twitter)

“So my IPhone 7 plus blew up this morning, was not even using it, literally no explanation for this”, wrote Brianna Olivas (username Bree) who captured the situation on tape. She subsequently uploaded two photos with the burned gadget to confirm her assertion.

The viral video of the smoking iPhone 7 Plus shows the handset burning until the case melts away with smoke being released from the side of the device.

An Apple spokesperson quoted by CNET, said that the company reached out to Olivas and is now investigating. “We are in touch with the customer and looking into it”.

Therefore Apple seems to copy Samsung, whose flagship Galaxy Note 7 was withdrawn off the market after getting frequently in flames.

It took South Koreans several months to figure out why their phone caught fire or even exploded in several cases. They discovered that the battery components did not fit properly into the housing thus causing the problems. Another battery was manufactured quickly, but caught fire as well, so Note 7’s fate was sealed.

Now, the incident involving Apple could be a chance for Samsung’s relaunch as Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be a strong competitor for the iPhone.

Samsung had to remove Galaxy Note 7 from shops just two months after its lavish introduction, and the decision cost the company more than five billion dollars.