We already knew the Tesla Model S was fast, but not this fast. After dropping a 12.371 quarter mile this past weekend at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida (@ 110.84 MPH), the National Electric Drag Racing Association awarded the Tesla Model S its stamp of officiation for being “the quickest production vehicle” in quarter mile tests. That’s not just on a single pass, mind you, but several quarter mile runs over the course of a day at the track. Each pass reaffirmed a 12-second average from the 416HP electric beast — more than proficient for a 4,700-lb hulk of metal, and more than competitive against much lighter and more expensive beasts. And that’s all without internal combustion, lest you forget — the thing even gets 350 miles per charge. Drag Times attended the event and promises video in the coming days, but for now you can peep the quarter mile timeslips and read their rundown.
[Photo credit: Drag Times]
Filed under: Transportation
Nokia has announced its lowest priced Windows Phone to date: the WP7.5 Nokia Lumia 510 replaces the Lumia 610 as the entry level WP handset — with an estimated retail price of $ 199 (excluding taxes and subsidies). India and China are the initial target markets, starting in November, “followed closely” by other Asia-Pac countries and South America.
The announcement by Nokia of a new device running Microsoft’s older OS, WP7.5 — rather than the high end, forthcoming WP8 platform — is the clearest sign yet Nokia is committed to trying to use Windows Phone as a low end smartphone platform, either alongside its Series 40 Asha line of devices or perhaps as a future replacement OS. If Nokia does choose to focus its low end efforts solely on WP7.5, Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza believes that could help Microsoft gain significant smartphone market share in future — predicting WP could gain a fifth of the market by 2016.
The Lumia 510 is still double the price of Nokia’s cheapest full-touchscreen Ashas — which carry a $ 99 price-tag. Non-touchscreen Asha are cheaper still so WP7.5 has a long way to go to achieve the same deep low end reach as Series 40. But every little helps to compete against Android’s sprawling mid-tier.
Gartner’s Cozza told TechCrunch: “It is critical for Nokia at this stage to drive volumes and fill the void quickly they have in their low to mid tier smartphone portfolio and so they need to broaden further the Lumia range. This should enable Nokia to better fend off competitive pressure coming from low cost Android offerings which are increasing at a very rapid pace in emerging markets. In these markets Nokia has market reach and still a desirable brand, and can offer differentiated and value services.”
Comment on the Lumia 510 launch in a statement, Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, said: “With the Nokia Lumia 510 we continue to meet our commitment to bring Windows Phone to new, lower price points. People who use Windows Phone quickly realize how much more intuitive it is than other smartphone platforms, and Nokia Lumia is the best embodiment of the Windows Phone experience. With the Nokia Lumia 510 we’re looking forward to welcoming more people into the Windows Phone experience.”
The Lumia 510 has a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen, with a resolution of 800×480 pixels. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon S1 chip, has 256MB of RAM, and 4GB of user accessible memory plus 7GB of free SkyDrive storage (Microsoft’s cloud storage service) — however there’s no Micro SD card slot to expand on board storage further. On the back is a five megapixel camera. The battery is rated at 1,300mAh.
To bulk out the Lumia 510′s software offerings, Nokia has included a Camera Extras app — to add changeable, digital lens/filters to the camera — plus its Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport apps, which are also found on high end Lumias.Related Posts:
Yes, we’ll admit that we borrowed that pun in the title. MooresCloud founder Mark Pesce’s Xzibit reference is still a very apt description of the Light, his company’s Linux-based LED lamp. The Australian team’s box-shaped illumination runs the open OS (including a LAMP web server stack) on an integrated mini PC with an accelerometer and WiFi. The relative power and networking provide obvious advantages for home automation that we’ve seen elsewhere, but it’s the sheer flexibility of a generalized, web-oriented platform that makes the difference: the Light can change colors based on photos or movement, sync light pulses to music and exploit a myriad of other tricks that should result from a future, web-based app store. When and how the Light launches will depend on a Kickstarter campaign to raise $ 700,000 AUD ($ 717,621 US) starting on October 16th, although the $ 99 AUD ($ 101 US) cost is just low enough that we could see ourselves open-sourcing a little more of the living room. At least, as long as we don’t have to recompile our lamp kernel before some evening reading.
Filed under: Household
“Cheetah” “Cheetah robot” Cheetah robot runs faster than “Usain Bolt” “Cheetah Usain Bolt” “Cheetah fastest” “Usain Bolt” “Usain Bolt fastest” A robot called Cheetah has set a new world speed record, running faster than the fastest human, Usain Bolt. The headless machine, funded by the Pentagon, reached 28.3mph (45.5km/h) when tested on a treadmill. It is created by the Massachusetts robotics company Boston Dynamics and backed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). Footage courtesy of Darpa and Boston DynamicsRelated Posts:
Japanese company Green House Co Ltd has quite an eclectic product portfolio, what with its women-only camcorder and peripherals like a PCI Express interface card with USB 3.0 support. Its latest device falls under another category entirely: the rivetingly named GH-LED10WBW is an LED lantern that runs on just water and salt; no batteries required. The light source provides eight hours of electricity per dose of saline water, and the lantern comes with a dedicated water bag for mixing the solution. The salt / water combo acts as an electrolyte with the magnesium (negative electrode) and carbon (positive electrode) rods inside the lantern. Users can get about 120 hours of power with the Mg rod before they’ll need to buy a replacement (the rod is sold separately to begin with). More than just supplying a battery-free source of light, though, the lantern can function as a charger, thanks to a USB port built into the casing. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the GH-LED10WBW will be available by mid-September.
Filed under: Peripherals
Inhabitat is always on the lookout for new and interesting innovations, but some of the things that flashed across our screens this week truly defy the rules of physics. Take, for example, the story of 51-year-old Chinese man Sun Jifa, who lost both of his arms in an explosion and built his own bionic hands out of scrap metal. Building functional prosthetic limbs is one thing, but doing it without the aid of fingers? That’s downright mind-blowing. We were also pretty excited to hear that a California-based tech company has developed a working hover bike that travels up to 30 mph. It isn’t quite ready for a high-speed chase in the forest a la Star Wars, but it still looks pretty cool. And in another amazing development, a team of Harvard researchers has figured out a way to store 70 billion books in a space the size of your thumbnail.
Putting Google’s latest candy-coated OS update on the very first Android phone? We’ve got a guy for that. Jcarrz1, the same wizard from XDA-Developers who ported Ice Cream Sandwich to the HTC G1, has managed to port a buggy build of CyanogenMod 10 to the handset — which puts Jelly Bean on the oldest hardware possible. Sadly, the old handset isn’t up to Project Butter’s 60FPS interface, but brave tweakers can still use the device’s touchscreen for apps, CM10 features and a partially functional Google Now. WiFi is also up and running, but cellular data is MIA. Check out the video above to see the pre-alpha build in action, or try it out for yourself at the source link below.
Filed under: Cellphones
Motorola made plenty of waves when it introduced the Droid RAZR for Verizon last year, and somehow I doubt AT&T was very pleased with that move. With that one launch, Motorola instantly made AT&T’s high-end line of Android-powered Atrix smartphones look chunky and downright un-sexy in comparison
Now with the Atrix HD AT&T has its own vaguely RAZR-esque device to push to the masses, but how does it stack up against its forebears? Or, better yet, how does it compare to the devices that occupy the top tiers of AT&T’s smartphone portfolio? As it turns out, the answer is “pretty damned well.”
- 4.5-inch 720p LCD display with ColorBoost
- Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with Motorola’s custom UI
- 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon MSM8960 processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of internal storage, expandable with microSD cards
- 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera
- Runs on AT&T’s LTE network
- MSRP: $ 99 with two-year contract, available as of July 15
- Motorola didn’t screw with Ice Cream Sandwich too much
- Excellent display
- Surprisingly strong spec sheet
- Uninspired design
- The camera is generally pretty lousy
- Battery life isn’t the greatest
I’m a sucker for a handsome phone, and to put it plainly, the Atrix HD isn’t much of a looker. It’s not ugly by any stretch (it’s far too inoffensive for that) but it seems like a considerable step backward from the progress Motorola made with devices like the Droid RAZR.
That said, the Droid RAZR’s influence is undeniable — if one of those svelte, angular devices suddenly got chubbier and softer around the edges, you would have an Atrix HD.
But let’s put those gripes aside for a moment, because there’s another one to dig into. The Atrix’s impressive 4.5-inch LCD display (ensconced in a protective layer of Corning Gorilla Glass) takes up most of the device’s face, but it seems a hair smaller than it actually is because it’s bounded by a pretty substantial bezel. In a way though, that bezel is something of a trademark of the Atrix family — the very first one had quite a bezel on it too, as did the Atrix 2.
A notification LED and the 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera sit to the left and right of the Atrix’s earpiece respectively, while a Motorola logo squeezes between those components and the top of the display. Centered just below the display is an AT&T logo, which happens to look an awful lot like a capacitive button — after years of using iPhones, my thumb instinctively reached for it a few times before I managed to get it accustomed to its surroundings.
Nestled at the very top of the device are ports aplenty since Motorola opted to stick the headphone, microUSB and microHDMI ports up there. The microSIM and microSD card slots are nestled under a pull-out plastic tab along the Atrix’s bottom left edge. Meanwhile, the volume rocker and the infuriating sleep-wake button sit high on the device’s right edge; I say infuriating because pressing either too high or too low along the button’s ribbed edge won’t bring the Atrix to life.
Fortunately, the Atrix’s rear end is far less problematic — unless of course you’re not a fan of the patterned Kevlar that takes up a majority of the space. Save for a thin and chintzy-feeling layer of plastic that runs around the rear’s outer edges, the only other thing not covered in the scratch-resistant material is a gently sloping plateau containing the 8-megapixel camera pod, LED flash, and rear speaker.
While the Atrix HD looks downright plump in comparison to its Verizon cousin, that doesn’t mean it has the weight to go with it. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite — at 4.9 ounces (the same as the iPhone 4/4S) the Atrix feels almost disconcertingly light given its curvy physique. I know, it’s a tough job to strike a comfortable balance between size and weight, but the device’s overall feel doesn’t do much to inspire confidence.Software
After seeing Motorola clutter up its Android devices with its overbearing custom UIs for years, playing with the Atrix’s tweaked spin on Ice Cream Sandwich is like being able to breathe easy for the first time. It’s certainly not stock ICS, but Motorola has apparently decided to leave most of Google’s handiwork well enough alone — frankly, good on them.
Even more surprising is that what Motorola added to the mix is either generally unobtrusive or genuinely useful. Take for instance the small pair of arrows that now live next to certain apps like the phone dialer or the stock web browser. They’re there as a little visual hint, as swiping up or down on those icons allows users to jump into a quick view of information related to that app — for the dialer, a swipe brings up a list of favorite contacts, while a swipe on the browser icon displays the user’s bookmarks. Sure, they’re mostly things that users can set a widget for, but adding a subtle way to easily access and hide that kind of information is terribly thoughtful.
Also — and this may be a remarkably dorky admission — but Motorola’s default Circles widget is a mighty nice touch. The widget’s three circles display time, weather, and remaining battery life respectively, but as with those app icons, swiping up and down on individual circles lets users switch between different bits of pertinent data. Prefer a digital time readout over an analog one? Swipe away. Want to switch from a battery meter to a data usage tracker? You know what to do.
Motorola also transplanted SmartActions to Ice Cream Sandwich, which (if you haven’t yet heard) allows the device to execute certain user-defined actions when triggered by information like time or location. I’ve always fancied myself as more a “go with the flow” kind of guy, so I admittedly don’t rely on the automation feature much, but it’s simple enough to create an action for every stop or random event in your day.
Still, It should be known that there’s a peculiar sense of fun to be had in cobbling together new Actions, just because of the sheer flexibility afforded to the app’s users. Be on the lookout for SmartActions notifications though, as the app will keep suggesting new possibilities to you whether you like them or not until you pop into its settings and prevent it from doing so.
Perhaps the only truly clumsy part of Motorola’s UI is how users add new homescreen pages. You see, the Atrix HD has two of them set up out of the gate, and swiping to the right from the main page brings the options of adding a blank one or choosing from a series of homescreen templates to fire up. The problem here is that the transaction is noticeably jerky, especially considering that navigating through menus and apps is otherwise incredibly smooth. There are arguably cleaner ways to handle this process — a spin on HTC’s classic “hold down the home button” approach comes to mind — but it’s a minor gripe at best.
Add some redesigned icons, and you’ve got Motorola’s take on Ice Cream Sandwich in a nutshell. Apologies if I’m gushing a bit — I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I don’t like what manufacturers usually do to stock Android, so its little surprise that I’ve quickly grown to like Motorola’s “make minor, thoughtful improvements” approach.
As with every other smartphone AT&T has sunk its metaphorical teeth into, the Atrix HD comes with its fair share of bloatware. Most of those pesky apps can be uninstalled without issue (hallelujah!), and the rest can be disabled and hidden without too much effort. Sure, it’s not quite as good (or as satisfying) as removing them outright, but the little victories are better than none at all.Camera
The Atrix HD has some great things going for it, but top-notch camera functionality just isn’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong — the camera will do in a pinch when you absolutely have to snap a photo, but its performance is ultimately underwhelming.
The issues here are numerous. Autofocus was a bit on the screwy side, for one — when left in full auto mode, the camera easily homes in on nearby objects but struggles to produce a sharp image when trying to focus on something farther away. White balance too seemed off, which sometimes led to predominantly white shots taking on a blue cast. Low light performance was similarly disappointing, with a fair amount of grain visible once light dims below optimal levels.
In fairness, it’s not all bad — like with other Ice Cream Sandwich devices snapping shots is incredibly quick, and videos recorded in 1080p don’t come out half-bad all things considered. On the off chance you think that a good camera is the single most important feature a smartphone can have, you’d do well to steer clear of the Atrix HD. Otherwise, the weak-put-passable camera is a notable sore spot in an otherwise solid device.Display
While I’m more than happy to knock the bezel that runs around it, I can’t do the same for the Atrix HD’s 4.5-inch 720p display — it’s yet another pleasant surprise in a phone that seems designed to confound expectations.
As usual for TFT LCD panels, the Atrix HD’s display lacks the deep, sumptuous blacks seen in AMOLED displays, but white levels were consistently bright. On top of that, the display’s combination of size and resolution means everything is nice and crisp. To be more specific, the display features a pixel density of 326 ppi — handily beating powerhouses like the Galaxy S III (306 ppi) and matching handsets like the iPhone 4/4S.
Then there’s the color situation. Everything is nice and vivid (especially the tweaked app icons the Atrix is laden with), and colors remained bright as I bounced from viewing angle to viewing angle. Motorola also saw fit to throw in their new Colorboost functionality, which pumps up color saturation for more vivid images.
The Atrix is far from the first handset to try something like this — Sony’s Xperia ion tried the same thing with its Mobile Bravia engine but it pushed saturation to nearly lurid levels. Motorola’s Colorboost enhancements thankfully didn’t push things quite that far so users can expect and images visuals to pop instead of going outright nuclear. That said, not everyone may enjoy that additional visual flair and there’s no way to disable it, so it’s definitely worth taking a look at in person before taking the plunge.Performance
Well now — the Atrix HD may not look like much of a contender, but there’s some real horsepower packed inside that unassuming frame.
Motorola wasn’t very forthcoming with processor details when the device first popped up on their website on one fateful July evening, but AT&T later confirmed that the Atrix HD runs on the same dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset as seen in heavyweights like the HTC One X and the Galaxy S III.
That’s quite a catch for the budget-conscious handset, as it regularly puts up Quadrant scores just north of 5000 (the average of five trials was 5084) — not shabby at all, especially compared to the One X’s five trial average of 4995 and the U.S. Galaxy S III’s average of 5063.
That said, there was virtually no lag to be found while navigating between through menus and swiping through multiple pages of apps. Firing up and playing through some Grand Theft Auto III and Minecraft Pocket Edition was similarly smooth, as were my usual test videos (i.e. old episodes of Doctor Who). Suffice it to say, the Atrix should have no trouble keeping up with even the most demanding daily grinds.
As far as the Atrix HD’s network performance goes, I found little to complain about. It’s always sort of a crapshoot testing from my particular corner of New Jersey (especially because AT&T hasn’t yet seen fit to bring LTE online around here), but the Atrix HD managed to pull down an average of about 9.6 Mbps down and a strangely slow 859 Kbps up. Call quality too offered few disappointments — calls were generally very clear for people on both ends, though there tended to be a bit of audible buzz from time to time. Maximum call volume could have been a little higher though, but on the whole I had no trouble nearing people on the line, and vice versa.
I’m a bit of a stickler for nice speakers on smartphones, and the three-hole speaker embedded into the Atrix HD’s rear is decidedly above-average. It’s far from perfect (audio tended to be a tad on the echoey side) but it’s plenty loud enough or a little grooving on the go — something that plenty of other handsets have trouble with.Battery
Though not as disappointing as the camera, the Atrix HD’s battery did skew toward the underwhelming side of things. Like its slim Verizon-bound cousin, the Atrix sports a sealed 1780 mAh battery underneath that Kevlar black plate. That battery gave Jordan some trouble when she reviewed the Droid RAZR way back when, but the situation isn’t quite as rough this time around.
The Atrix HD managed to plug along for 5 hours and 10 minutes of our usual stress test — an automated series of Google Image Searches with the display set to 50% brightness. Meanwhile the Atrix HD only lasted just under five hours in our video stress test, in which the device loops a 720p video at 50% screen brightness and with volume cranked all the way up.
When it came to getting me through a normal day of calling, web browsing, checking emails, and sending obnoxious text messages, the Atrix managed to hang in there for just under eleven hours of on-again-off-again use before finally going dark. As always, your experience is going to differ from mine — that ten hours was enough to see me through most days but if you’re the type to unplug your phone and start your day when the roosters crow, you’ll almost definitely have to reach for that charger before day’s end.
Really, the most frustrating thing about the battery is that Motorola could easily have gone for something bigger without sacrificing too much in size. With its 8.4mm waistline, the Atrix HD is just over half a millimeter thinner than the Droid RAZR Maxx. Some concessions probably had to be made for the updated hardware that went into the thing, but would it have killed Motorola to pop in a slightly more substantial battery?Conclusion
Let’s touch briefly for a moment on what the Atrix HD isn’t. It’s not the kind of that phone will turn heads as you walk down the street. It’s not the most solid feeling device you’ll ever pick up. It’s not a terribly great camera, either.
It is, however, a hell of a phone for just $ 100. What the Atrix HD lacks in style (and it lacks a lot in style) it makes up for with plenty of substance — a mostly untouched flavor of Ice Cream Sandwich, a surprisingly strong spec sheet, and a great display make it a wallet-friendly dark horse that stacks up favorably to the carrier’s heavyweights. While an extra $ 100 will afford you a device that combines striking looks and some serious horsepower, the Atrix HD is an excellent choice for those who couldn’t care less about style.Related Posts:
This is a video of Zack, whose parents decided to take him for a walk along the Christmas trail of WTF, where there’s an animatronic t-rex waving a holiday wreath around in its puny arms. Little Zack stops for a minute to take it all in, then decides ‘NO THANK YOU’ and takes off in the opposite direction. Me? I would have jumped on the back of that thing and ridden it straight through my school, stopping only in the cafeteria for a heaping serving of corn dogs and chocolate milk. “Sounds like you’ve really given this some thought.” Please, I have given this ALL my thoughts.
Hit the jump for the I would have at least tried to get it to fetch a stick.
One of the selling points for the new iPad has been the fact that it supports 4G, but at least in one market, that 4G promise is facing a challenge. In what might be a case of a storm in a teapot, the Competition and Consumer Commission in Australia has said that Apple cannot advertise its newest tablet as 4G-capable because it doesn’t actually work on the 4G network that exists in the country.
The regulator plans to take its argument to federal court this Wednesday, where it will try to order Apple to change its marketing of the product. It also wants Apple to offer refunds to any buyers that feel they have been mislead by the advertising. Update: Reuters writes that Apple has now said that it will write to all of those who have purchased the iPad to date in Australia and offer a refund.
Australia currently has one 4G network in operation — offered by the incumbent carrier Telstra — but according to this Reuters story, that network runs on a band of spectrum not supported in the new iPad.
Apple’s Australian website now sports a customized page pointing users to the ultra-fast network availability in the country with a screenshot of one of the leading daily newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald (pictured above).
There is also a separate link taking users to a page describing how to get data access on the device, including 4G, listing carriers that offer access.
But there is a slightly ridiculous element to this story: Apple on its Australian site has simply replicated much of the marketing material it is using elsewhere. In countries like the UK, it also mentions 4G and LTE, but forget about getting that here: the regulator here hasn’t even started issuing licenses for the spectrum. The question is whether users — not just in Australia but in other countries where the 4G doesn’t work — really buying the devices thinking they are getting 4G when they are not?
Another point to consider is that it appears so far, the tablets and data plans using cellular access are not actually selling as well as those for WiFi-only tablets. A report from Localytics last week found that only about 6 percent of all traffic coming from iPad tablets originated from cellular networks; the rest came via WiFi. Statistics like that make this kind of complaint from the regulator seem like a storm in a teapot.
Australia’s courts have been a friend and foe to Apple in the past year over other issues, specifically around patents. Apple succeeded in getting Samsung to temporarily stop selling its 10-inch Galaxy Tab tablet just as it was trying to launch the product, claiming that it infringed on patents. Ultimately, however, Samsung’s side was upheld in that case and those bans were lifted, in a case that is still ongoing.