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Blue Freedom charges gadgets using flowing water

Posted by wicked March - 25 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors knows that keeping your electronic devices charged up can be a challenge when you are away from an outlet. A new charging device has debuted that is hailed as the smallest hydropower plants in the world and it is called Blue Freedom.

The charging device uses a hydrodynamic turbine that spins when placed in flowing water and generates power. It also has an internal battery to store that power to be discharged later. Power from that internal battery can be used to top off your gadgets using USB cables.

The Blue Freedom also has a LED light and is designed to fit comfortably into a backpack. The generator device is able to produce enough power to run your smart device for ten hours after being placed in moving water for only an hour.

The Blue Freedom project is on Kickstarter seeking $100,000 and has raised over $83,000 so far. A pledge of $219 or more will get you a Blue Freedom device with shipping estimated for October 2015. The normal retail price of the Blue Freedom device is $319.

SOURCE: Kickstarter

This is a crowdfunded project, and as such may not deliver what its creators initially promise. Most crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have policies about what happens to your money if the project fails to deliver on its goals, but choosing to back a project is inevitably a risk. Android Community’s reporting on crowdfunded projects should in no way be seen as an endorsement, unless specifically stated, and we recommend closely examining the terms and conditions to understand your individual rights as a backer before making a pledge.

SolidEnergy smaller battery

Smartphone specifications are better than ever, but battery technology has remained stagnant for years. Fortunately, engineers share our complaints and SolidEnergy, another start-up to come out of MIT, is boasting a new battery design that will hopefully lengthen our smartphone usage times. The technology promises twice the energy density of today’s traditional lithium-ion batteries.

SolidEnergy’s new technology works by replacing the battery’s conventional graphite anode material with an ultra-thin sheet of lithium copper metal foil. The benefit here is that this greatly reduces the size of the battery for the same capacity, allowing the saved space to be used for extra capacity.

SolidEngery battery size

The use of lithium-metal electrodes in batteries has been the subject of research for many years, but there have previously been some technical barriers to their viability. Typically, lithium metal can react with battery electrolytes, which over time prevents current from flowing and leads to battery capacity degradation. The reaction also creates dendrites, which can short circuit the battery and ignite the flammable electrolyte.

To overcome these rather major problems, SolidEnergy uses both regular liquid and less reactive solid electrolytes, allowing for suitable conduction without the problematic reactions. A very thin layer of solid electrolyte is applied to the lithium metal foil in the anode, which is thin enough to avoid the lack of conduction usually associate with a thick solid layer while avoiding the short circuit issues of using lithium metals. The video below explains this different approach.

This new technology isn’t only about saving space, SolidEnergy has also successfully demonstrated superior capacity retention over successive charge cycles than competing advanced Li-ion technology. Over 100 recharge cycles, SolidEnergy’s battery retained 80 percent of its original energy storage capacity, meaning that non-replaceable batteries won’t be such a problem in the future.

The first commercial battery using this technology is scheduled to arrive for smartphones and tablets in 2016, with larger batteries for the electric automotive industry to follow.

Samsung Galaxy S6 teardown confirms difficult battery replacement

Posted by wicked March - 23 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

You can’t say that Samsung’s new baby, the Galaxy S6, is not at all purrrty – because it is all that. But as with the iPhone, this unibody non-removable battery design is getting everybody all worked up. Will it be easy to repair or replace a part? How difficult will it be to open up and replace the battery? Well, we have answers for you via this teardown done by the guys at MyFixGuide.

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One thing that can be said right off the bat, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is nicely designed even on the inside as with the outside. The problem is getting the darned thing cracked open in the first place. That can be accomplished – not so easily – by a technician who knows what he is doing, with a heat gun in just under 3 minutes. Warming the sides and seams of the new smartphone makes it easier to pop the back panel off.

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So we answer the most asked question about the Galaxy S6: Is it or is it not easy to replace the battery? Bad news guys, it is not as easy as it had been made to look in some online discussions and even in Samsung’s manual. Once you pop off the back panel, the battery isn’t even directly accessible, hence not easily removable. The technician must remove parts of the middle frame (image above), then take out the NFC chip and unscrew the main motherboard in order to even get close to the battery. See the image of the battery below when the technician finally gets through all the other parts.

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The moral of the story here is – charge correctly, don’t screw up your Samsung Galaxy S6’s battery. Aside from that, there are numerous things to notice with the phone’s guts – like the fixed base on the camera that helps control jitter. You can view the full teardown guide once MyFixGuide’s site comes back online. In the meantime, check out our source link for more images.

VIA: Phone Arena

Tegstove cooks food and charges gadgets

Posted by wicked March - 18 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

If you are the sort who likes to camp and spend lots of time outdoors, it can be a challenge to keep your mobile gadgets charged up so you can stay in touch. A new device has debuted called the Tegstove that can cook your meals and charge your gadgets while you are outdoors.

The Tegstove is a gas burner and can charge your devices even when the gas is turned off using butane. In addition to cooking and charging devices, the Tegstove also has a battery inside to store energy for use later.

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The internal battery begins to charge as soon as the burner is lit. The device will work without having to cook anything, but when a pan is on the burner more heat is reflected back increasing the temperature and output of the TEG.

The device uses a Thermoelectric Generator inside to produce electrical current. The base of the stove is 300mm wide making it more stable than other offerings on the market. Tegstove is on Indiegogo now seeking $50,000 and has raised over $350 with 50 days to go. A pledge of $99 will get you a Tegstove with shipping expected in September 2015.

SOURCE: Indiegogo

This is a crowdfunded project, and as such may not deliver what its creators initially promise. Most crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have policies about what happens to your money if the project fails to deliver on its goals, but choosing to back a project is inevitably a risk. Android Community’s reporting on crowdfunded projects should in no way be seen as an endorsement, unless specifically stated, and we recommend closely examining the terms and conditions to understand your individual rights as a backer before making a pledge.

LithiumCard PRO: external battery for mostly mobile people

Posted by wicked March - 17 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

As smartphones become more and more complicated, the battery conundrum is still left unsolved. Good thing various companies continue to develop battery packs, external batteries, etc to help those of us who are constantly mobile and draining our smartphone batteries more than once a day. A new Kickstarter campaign is probably one of the thinnest but most powerful external batteries available now, and it can fit in the back of your pocket.

The LithiumCardPRO is the newest generation and hypercharging version of the original one created by LinearFlux. It’s still the same size as the previous one (as big, or rather as small) as a credit card. But now, the capacity has been increased three-fold to 3000mAh and 3 Amps of Power, but it also gives you more capacity than the regular same-capacity chargers. They used the HyperFET Gen2 technology to be able to charge over 1% per minute compared to the original one.

Another problem with having multiple chargers is that you also carry around a lot of wires. With LithiumCard PRO, you don’t need to bring any more extra cords. It has micro USB and all other connectors you would need to power your devices. And you can also use it to back-up your smartphone’s content on your laptop or computer. If the charger is also running out of juice, then you can simultaneously charge both the LithiumCard and your smartphone.

They have already reached their goal of $10,000 and there are still around a month to go before the campaign ends. If you feel like supporting this product and would like to be one of the first to own it, head on over to their Kickstarter page.

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SOURCE: Kickstarter

This is a crowdfunded project, and as such may not deliver what its creators initially promise. Most crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have policies about what happens to your money if the project fails to deliver on its goals, but choosing to back a project is inevitably a risk. Android Community’s reporting on crowdfunded projects should in no way be seen as an endorsement, unless specifically stated, and we recommend closely examining the terms and conditions to understand your individual rights as a backer before making a pledge.

ZeroLemon SolarJuice harnesses the power of the sun

Posted by wicked March - 16 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

We’ve seen quite a few high capacity power banks, some larger than we want to be, but there are only a few that catch our attention because of their novelty or their strangeness. The ZeroLemon SolarJuice can pretty much fall in either or both of those categories, but don’t be too quick to pan this power pack. Not only does it boast of a huge 20,000 mAh battery to replenish two of your precious mobile devices at the same time, it can also charge itself up using the power of light.

Solar-powered battery packs are nothing new entirely, but so few are as affordable as ZeroLemon’s offering. For just $49.99, you get not only the benefit of a more environment-friendly way to juice up your mobile device but also a large 20,000 mAh battery. With two USB ports, as much as two devices can take advantage of all that juice at the same time.

As for how much juice, the pack can dish it out in 2.1 and 1 ampere doses. With all of the above, it can charge an iPhone 6 seven times over. Additional features include 4 bright LED lights for indicating charging and discharging as well as a super bright LED flashlight for emergencies. All in a compact and lightweight (1.1 lbs) pack.

As mentioned, the ZeroLemon SolarJuice costs only $49.99. That’s a sweet 50 percent price cut from the regular $100 price tag. As always, our deals are time-limited so don’t take too long mulling it over.

Android Community Deals is brought to you in cooperation with StackSocial. Generated revenue helps fund this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial and are not representative of the opinions of the Android Community staff.

Samsung’s new animal battery packs is also awareness campaign

Posted by wicked March - 12 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

A new set of external battery packs released by Samsung will not just juice up your smartphones, but it will also teach you about how not all animals are having a great time here on planet earth. The Animal Edition Battery Packs is part of the Charge Your Life campaign which aims to raise awareness about the plight of four endangered animal species: the Lesser Panda, the Fennec Fox, the Giant Panda, and the Golden Monkey.

There will be two sizes of the battery packs available. The 8400 mAh will give you more than three times the capacity of the soon-to-be-released new flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S6. Meanwhile, the 11,300 mAh battery packs will bring you four times the capacity of the Galaxy S6 and can also charge the Galaxy Note 4 more than twice. Both kinds of battery packs will display the power levels as you charge. If you use the Charge the Life mobile app, you will even see the respective featured animal become more animated as your device gets charged more.

The 8,400 mAh battery pack will feature the lesser panda, a 42-inch long and 10-pound animal that has less than 10,000 existing adults, and the fennec fox, a nocturnal animal found in the Sahara. The 11,300 mAh battery will have images of the giant panda, which has just 2,000 living ones in the wild, and the golden monkey which has been on the endangered list because their habitats have been destroyed.

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Byeongju Kim, Vice President and Applicative Product Biz Group Leader for Samsung says that these products will meet both the needs and demands of the customers for more battery capacity and at the same time, “raise awareness about a critical issue.” There are no pricing or availability details yet for the Animal Edition Battery Packs.

SOURCE: Samsung

Kawai!! The super-sweet ultra-cute Samsung portable battery packs

Posted by Tom March - 12 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

The Samsung Animal Edition battery packs are a heart-melting take on portable power and come in two sizes and four varieties of animal.

The 11,3000mAh portable battery packs come in giant panda and golden monkey editions and offer full charge four times over.

Smaller animals, smaller power; the fennec fox and red panda are 8,400mAh batteries.

There’s also an accompanying app on the Google Play store in which the animals animate as they charge. Aaaah.

Pricing and availability TBA.

Via pocket-lint

Ampere is a charge measuring app, also monitors battery discharge

Posted by wicked March - 9 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

The problem with charging your Android device is that you notice that sometimes a charger will charge quickly and sometimes not so quickly. The science behind this is actually the quality of the USB cable and the amount of juice the charger is pumping, plus a number of other variables. The Ampere app is able to read through all that and give you the current amount of power you are receiving during charging, and the amount of discharge as well when not charging.

Pretty standard, actually – but because of the numerous makes and models of devices, and the way their software allows or restricts access to these kinds of data, it is difficult to pin down an app that will do all of these things. Ampere looks to be that app. It started as an app compatible to Android 5.0 devices only – now it will read data off any device from Android 4.0.3 or better.

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There are devices that are not compatible with the app, and as a caveat, the developer has listed them out in the app’s description. Notably, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and a lot of HTC One devices are there, and the LG G3. This author is using an LG G2-F320S, and the app works like a charm.

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The app is good for trying to figure out which cable and charger combo is best for your device. It’s also nice to have when you go out and buy a spare or replacement cable. Nice to know if the cable is up for giving you a good charge rate. Download via the source link below.

DOWNLOAD: Google Play Store

The Samsung Galaxy S6’s battery is removable, sort of

Posted by wicked March - 9 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Android makers – especially Samsung – have hyped the “removable battery” feature of Android-based smartphones over the years, basically throwing potshots at Apple’s iPhones for not having this feature at all. That has mellowed down recently, as more and more Android manufacturers have discovered the beauty of the unibody design. When the MWC 2015 rolled in, fans of the Samsung Galaxy S6 were in for a rude surprise – the battery of the new flagship was non-removable, or was it?

Ok, early caveats here – it’s not removable in the sense that you would be able to replace the battery with another unit at a whim, the Galaxy S6’s sweet unibody design still has its prices and this is one of them. But if you really wanted to replace the battery – like if it was busted or anything like that – there apparently is a way, as members of the XDA forum have discovered.

Samsung’s manual, at page 138 (see source link below) actually describes this process in detail. The warning is that it should only be authorized Samsung repair personnel that should attempt to do it, but the instructions are in the manual for all to see. You can try it at your own risk, basically. It involves removing the SIM card tray, removing the back cover (as to exactly how, we are not told in the manual), unscrewing the holding screws, removing the circuit board, and then voilà! – there’s your battery.

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Not quite the easiest operation, we gather – especially because of the Galaxy S6’s glass unibody design. But if you’re really in a bind with a busted battery, this is good for knowing that there will still be hope for you. It might not be easy to do, but at least it is possible.

SOURCE: Samsung

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