Battle of the Backup Batteries: Hands-on with Portable Power Chargers

portablepower

With every generation of smartphone — soon with quad-core superphones — comes bigger screens, faster GPUs and speedier network connections. This quite often results in shorter battery life. Not to mention all the googling, random fact checking, and tweets we’re punching out, battery life is a huge issue.

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World’s first 3D, HD-recording binoculars set for release from Sony

Sony-DEV-5

The DEV 3D HD video recording binoculars from Sony record full 1080p HD video in either 2D or 3D, offering three hours of 2D recording time on a single charge. More impressive, though, is the stereo mic with audio input, two Exmor R CMOS sensors, dual f/1.8-3.4, 0.5-10x optical zoom lenses and Memory Stick Pro Duo and SDXC support.

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Boeing UAVs copy insect swarms for reconnaissance missions

scaneagle

Boeing’s newest “swarm” is inspired by the flight and teamwork of insects. Tests in eastern Oregon last month saw different types of UAVs — two Insitu-manufactured ScanEagles and one Procerus Unicorn from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory — were working together using the swarm system to map out the terrain and create waypoints for teams on the ground.

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Coming soon to Starbucks: Free iOS “App of the Week” cards

starbucks-shazam-app

Starbucks is going to start giving out free “App of the Week” cards, just like they did with the free “Song of the Week” cards. First up, is Shazam Encore, the $5.99 iOS app that helps you identify songs playing on the radio, in the pub — or in Starbucks.

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RIM accidentally shows off HTC phone in Torch release party vid

HTC-Blackberry

In BlackBerry’s latest promotional video, the company accidentally showed off clips of their event guests sending messages on what looks like an HTC Incredible 2 — an Android phone. The company quickly pulled the video, but not before Phandroid.com managed to download it to YouTube.

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Google ups the ante by adding Weather to Maps

google weather

Google has upgraded their maps with a new layer: Weather. So not only do you know where you’re going or what landmarks to look for when you get there, but you’ll know how many layers to wear, and the cloud cover, wind speed, ocean surface currents and whether or not you’ll need an umbrella hat, too.

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Ashton Kutcher’s 1,100 square-foot trailer redefines “excessive”

ashton-kutchers-motorhome-01

Ashton Kutcher’s 1,100 square-foot semi “trailer” comes complete with seven flat-screen TVs, two levels, two bathrooms, granite countertops and a conference space, this behemoth needs hydraulic expansion and retraction areas to meet U.S. transportation laws’ size requirements while on the road.

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Creepy singing robot head has long years of service ahead of it

creepy head

Artificial Intelligence may not be contained to the manufacturing industries forever. In fact, it might not be long before human customer service workers and receptionists are a thing of the past. Chyi-Yeu Lin and colleagues at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology have built a singing, disembodied animatronic robot head that will someday put every last unskilled desk clerk and Walmart greeter in the unemployment line once and for all.

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Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned from the EU

galaxy tab n ipad 2

German courts have ruled in Apple’s favour in the California company’s latest lawsuit against Samsung. The ruling states that no Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets will be sold in the European Union (Netherlands excluded) due to alleged infringement of both patents and style. Any store who infringes on the ban and continues to sell the device will face either $350,000 fines or imprisonment of management.

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Rectenna gleans electricity from radio, Wi-Fi waves

rectennna-wireless-energy

Two companies in Japan have created new lines of devices capable of powering small electronics using electricity from various radio and wireless signals in their environments. The first was developed cooperatively by Tokyo Electron Device and Powercast in the U.S., and can draw up to 2.5 milliamperes out of 800 MHz cell phone signals.

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The skinny on the iPhone 5 design

iphone5-vs-iphone4

With the release of the iPhone 5 around the corner, the rumours are ramping up once more. The latest: The Slim iPhone 5. Started by a francophone who tweeted a photoshopped picture of a condensed iPhone 4, Macrumors ran the pic without the cutline – which read “A picture like this could drive some sites […]

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The Tornado Hunters’ 6,300 kilo armored tank

tornado-hunter-tank

Do you remember that scene in Twister where the man and lady tie themselves to a gas pipe with a leather belt and see the guts of a passing tornado? Me too. But apparently that was a tad unrealistic. In reality, you would need an American-built pickup truck, loaded down with 3,600 kilos (7,937 lbs) of steel armour — and one hell of a ballsy videographer.

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