News

Inventors of lithium batteries win Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Three pioneers receive the prestigious award

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Lithium batteries are everywhere. This technology  is literally with us everyday whenever we use our gadgets. It paved the way for rechargeable gadgets which never lose power quickly.

This year, the inventors of lithium batteries win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It is long overdue, considering that these batteries came to the market in 1991. The three inventors – John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino – will receive SEK 9 million (approximately US$ 1 million) for their pioneering invention.

Lithium batteries was first pioneered by M. Stanley Whittingham. He discovered that lithium can hold and keep more electrical charge than lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries were common in those days, but they were also heavy. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, were light and compact.

SEE ALSO: Global Sources 2019: New Charging Solutions

John Goodenough improved upon the initial design of Whittingham. He made the lithium batteries hold more charge and safer to use. Then, Akira Yoshino made a commercially viable version of lithium batteries. Finally in 1991, a Japanese company made the first commercial version of lithium batteries.

Another interesting thing to note is that Goodenough will be the oldest person to receive a Nobel prize at 91.

The Nobel Prize is given to distinguished individuals who made significant contributions to our society. It is awarded to individuals selected by a committee annually.

Truly, this year’s winners deserve it. Just think about how different our gadgets would be without lithium batteries.

Lifestyle

The Pirate Bay just launched its own streaming service

Yes, it’s free

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Image source: Disney

Without a doubt, the streaming wars have begun. Especially after the introduction of Disney Plus, audiences are now struggling to find the perfect mix of price and content. Which streaming services should you sign up for, so you maximize all entertainment options while minimizing price?

However, as entertainment companies come up with more streaming services, prices are inevitably going up. That said, a former entertainment king is getting a lot more tempting again — piracy.

Before Netflix’s current dominance, audiences already resorted to torrenting and bootleg streaming. Now, rising prices will likely push audiences back to the entertainment model.

Case in point, infamous torrenting website The Pirate Bay has launched a streaming prototype — called BayStream — on its own site. Currently, users can access the service when they search for torrents. In the below search on The Mandalorian, for example, some torrents have a green play button. Clicking on the play button will direct users to a YouTube-like website where they can play the respective torrent without downloading it.

 

Unfortunately, the service doesn’t come with an instruction manual. However, upon further testing, the button automatically appears whenever a torrent has a hundred or more seeds, regardless of age. Sadly, the file’s availability on BayStream is an unknown. Some, despite having more than 100 seeds, are absent from the service. If anything, the top-seeded torrents are likelier to play on the site.

Additionally, users can also upload their own files on the service (up to 20GB). Presumably, uploading users can share their own files with others using the service.

The Pirate Bay has not officially announced the service. However, some reports say that the service is still in beta testing. Regardless, BayStream is an interesting addition to today’s overcrowded streaming market.

SEE ALSO: Netflix might limit password sharing between users

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Laptops

Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3: Price in Singapore

They’re finally here

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Last October, Microsoft took the wraps off the Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3. Worldwide release soon followed in November. Now, it’s Singapore’s turn to receive these devices as Microsoft is bringing them in the country.

Surface Pro 7

Here are the prices of the different Surface Pro 7 variants:

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,388 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,788 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,688 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 3,288 (Platinum)

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 comes with a 12.3-inch IPS display. Powering the device is a 10th-gen Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics for performance boost. It looks exactly like the Surface Pro 6, and the only thing differentiating them is an USB-C port which replaced the DisplayPort.

Surface Laptop 3

Along with the Surface Pro 7, Microsoft also launched the Surface Laptop 3. This year, they are releasing a bigger 15-inch variant, which is a first for the Surface Laptop line. This variant will come to Singapore along with the traditional 13.5-inch variant.

The variants and the prices are as follows:

13.5-inch variant

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,488 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,288 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)

15-inch variant

  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG $2,488 (Platinum and Matte Black)

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 comes with an Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics or an AMD Ryzen processors with Vega graphics. Design-wise, it is the only Surface device in a traditional laptop form factor. Like the Surface Pro 7, it also did away with the DisplayPort in favor of USB-C.

Accessories

Buyers of Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3 may want accessories to go with their newly purchased devices. Microsoft has them covered with the following peripherals:

  • Surface Arc Mouse — SG$ 118
  • Surface Pen — SG$ 148
  • Signature Type Cover for Surface Pro 7 — SG$ 249

They come in a variety of colors including Ice Blue, Poppy Red, Black and Platinum.

Surface devices and accessories are available at Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, EpiCentre @ ION Orchard, Harvey Norman, and Lazada. Business customers can avail the device at AsiaPac, JK Technology, and UIC. Alternatively, consumers can head to Microsoft’s store to buy the device.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Surface family Hands-On

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News

OPPO AR Glass launches, works like the HoloLens

Looks like the HoloLens

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At its on-going OPPO Inno Day 2019 conference, the company has today announced its first AR Glasses. These new augmented reality smart glasses run OPPO’s Glass OS and work quite a lot like the Microsoft HoloLens or Google Glass.

The announcement comes at a time when the smartphone company has said that it is now focusing on diversifying its portfolio of product categories. According to Android Authority, the Oppo AR Glass will be released in 2020, however, the specifics on exact availability or pricing are yet to be revealed.

The AR glasses include support for 3D surround sound to offer users an immersive AR experience. It also comes with various modes of interaction, including gestures and voice recognition.

The company didn’t go into detail about the technical aspects of these AR glasses, suggesting it’s still at the prototyping and development stage. It does reveal that the eyewear sports as much as four cameras, two fisheye, one HD, and one Time-of-Flight (ToF) to give it a comprehensive view of the world

OPPO didn’t give a release date for the glasses, but it also announced other new products. The company said its first smartwatch will be released in the first quarter of 2020, and it announced a 5G CPE connection Hub.

OPPO founder and CEO Chen Mingyong said that the company plans to invest a whopping CNY 50 billion (US$7.1 billion) in research and development over the next three years. In addition to 5G and AR, research will focus on IoT and AI

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