Tag: fire

Telly catches Fire

old-school-tvA separate Fire TV device might become a thing of the past as telly makers are starting to integrate the streaming technology.

Seiki, Westinghouse and Element Electronics are launching a series of 4K sets with Fire TV technology built-in. They all include Amazon’s current interface, including a wide range of Alexa voice commands thanks to a microphone-equipped remote. If you use an over-the-air TV antenna, you’ll have access to both a channel guide and favourite individual channels on the home screen.

The first lot are appearing at CES and so far, none of the companies are saying when.  There will be 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch models. These are budget telly makers so adding Fire into your telly will not cost much more.  It is also likely that other cheaper manufactures will follow suit.

Samsung, LG and Sony already have highly developed smart TV platforms (whether in-house or Android TV), and it’s doubtful they will bother.

Samsung expected to recall the flaming Galaxy Note 7

fire-intro-picSamsung is expected to recall of all of its newest Galaxy Note 7 phablets sold at home and abroad in less than a week after reports that a few of the devices exploded while being charged.

The Samsung official told Yonhap News Agency that the cause of the reported explosions has been traced to the battery of the new phablet.

“The most important thing is the safety of our customers and we don’t want to disappoint our loyal customers,” said the official, who spoke to the Yonyap news agency.

Samsung is expected to announce the result of its investigation into the cause of the reported explosions, as well as comprehensive countermeasures either this weekend or early next week at the latest.

“Products installed with the problematic battery account for less than 0.1 percent of the entire volume sold. The problem can be simply resolved by changing the battery, but we’ll come up with convincing measures for our consumers,” said the official.

The official said the company’s announcement of the recall is unlikely this week because Samsung is in talks with Verizon of the US and other business partners on the issue.

“Global discussions are under way about matters such as how to deal with products delivered to dealers. Results of the investigation and relevant countermeasures will be made public this weekend or early next week at the latest.”

“We don’t have any intention to delay (the announcement) or hide (the result of investigation). The decision will be made in consideration of maximum consumer benefit.”

Industry watchers say Samsung will be able to take the likely recall as an opportunity to upgrade its credibility, as long as it takes prompt and convincing measures. The phabet has only been out a couple of weeks.

Fire disaster was a good thing claims Bezos

Hindenburg3Budget bookseller Jeff Bezos has been telling the world that the Fire Phone disaster was good for the company.

Amazon’s wizard idea to start flogging a smartphone, the Fire Phone, was a major flop that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

But according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Fire Phone was a “tiny little blip” compared to some of the larger experiments his company is working on now.

“If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip,” Bezos said.

He said that the size of mistakes needed to grow along with the company, Bezos said. “If it doesn’t, you’re not going to be inventing at scale that can actually move the needle.”

The great thing is when you take this approach, a small number of winners pay for dozens, hundreds of failures. And so every single important thing that we have done has taken a lot of risk taking, perseverance, guts, and some of them have worked out, most of them have not, he said.

Other failed projects included the hotel-booking site, Amazon Destinations, and auction site, Amazon Auction. But it’s also led to massive successes, such as its Amazon Web Services and the Amazon Echo, which is why Bezos likes to call the company “the best place in the world to fail”.

 

Amazon bans Google and Apple

AmazonOnline book seller Amazon will stop selling media streaming devices from Google and Apple that do not play nice with its video service.

The outfit sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t “interact well” with Prime Video.

No new listings for the products will be allowed and posting of existing inventory will be removed October 29, Amazon said.

Basically, there was no chance of Google or Apple coming up to snuff. Prime Video doesn’t run easily on its rivals’ hardware.

Roku’s set-top device, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, which work with Amazon’s video service, aren’t affected, it said.

It is a risky move and shows that Amazon is OK about losing sales to improve its own video streaming service. Apple and Google have the best selling media streaming devices generally.

But Amazon has invested heavily in online content, including producing its own exclusive shows as a way to attract new Prime subscribers, who pay $99 a year for speedy shipping and access to video and other services.

It might hurt Google and Apple a little. Google does lean on Amazon more than Apple which has its own stores and uncritical legion of fanboys who will buy whatever Jobs’ Mob tells them.

Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku devices made up 86 percent of all media-streaming products sold to US households with broadband in 2014. An estimated 86 million media-streaming devices will be sold globally in 2019, the research firm said.

Amazon supplanted Apple for the No. 3 position in sales in 2014. Roku led the market with 34 percent and Google was second with 23 percent.

“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in the e-mail, which was sent to sellers yesterday. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”

You can’t hold a candle to this recharger

Candle_flame_(1)A man has come up with a means to recharge a phone using a candle.

Andrew Burns of California startup Stower to develop the candle charger using therm-oelectrics, which have been around since the early 1800s.

Burns’ method basically involves lightomg a candle, fill a device with water, and you have a charger.

“So the way thermo-electric generators work is you have a hot plate and a cold plate and you smash these generators together and it’s that temperature difference, it creates a diffusion of energy from the hot side to the cold side.”

That diffusion throw out between two to three watts, about the same amount of power derived from a USB port – perfect for charging smartphones and tablets. In an emergency situation and a small amount of energy can go a long way, says Burns.

The company has developed a similar device to charge phones over a campfire which is handy if you are out and about in nature or your house is on fire.

The company is working on developing a charger for stove tops in Guatemala as part of a push to expand their business and provide sustainable micro-energy solutions in emerging markets.

Stower has raised nearly $27,000 on Kickstarter for the candle charger with 30 days left in the campaign.

Sony Vaio Fit for Fire

Sony has warned the world that its Vaio Fit is only fit for the flames and its battery needs replacing.

In a statement the company said it is warning customers that batteries inside its Vaio laptops may catch fire. The Sony Vaio Fit 11A has sold worldwide since its launch in February and the outfit might have flogged nearly 25,000 of them.

It is advising owners of the laptops to stop using the device immediately in case they are suddenly hit by a holocaust. Of course they could just take the battery out, as that seems to be the thing that has a habit of catching fire.

“Sony has identified that the non-removable battery packs provided by a third-party supplier, included in (and limited to) VAIO Fit 11A released in February 2014 could potentially malfunction and cause overheating, resulting in partial burns to the chassis of the PC,” Sony said in a statement.

The Vaio Fit 11A is a Windows 8 hybrid device that flips into both traditional laptop and tablet configurations. It was only sold in the UK via Sony’s configure-to-order service, and not in the shops.

“The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance, so we are advising those with affected models to switch off the unit and discontinue use. We have provided customers with a simple tool to check the serial number to identify whether it is an affected model,” Sony said.

Customers who think that their Vaio Fit 11A is about to turn Hellraiser can call Sony’s “hotline” or send the company their contact details so it can advise them what to do next. Marshmallows or sausages might be good now that the weather is improving.

Sony has had a few problems with overheating laptop batteries. In 2006, it began a global replacement programme for some lithium-ion laptop batteries; although at the time, most of the world’s leading laptop manufacturers at the time had problems with flaming batteries. We broke that story when we were at the INQster.

Then in 2010, US authorities instructed Sony to recall hundreds of thousands of VAIO laptops because of similar overheating concerns.

Sony has had enough of the PC business and is flogging the Vaio business to a private equity firm so that they can catch fire on someone else’s watch.

 

Samsung still Apple’s chip chum

Despite all the rumours that Apple was spurning Samsung’s chip making facilities as if it were a rabid dog, it looks like Jobs’ Mob will be using its rival to make the A8 chip.

Apple Insider reports that Samsung has won the contract to produce Apple’s next-generation A-series processor. Apparently, it will be made at the same Texas facility that churns out the 64-bit A7 at the heart of the iPhone 5s and iPad Air.

Samsung said that a manufacturing agreement has already been signed and that engineers from both companies are working together to ramp up production. Shipments of the A8 will will begin in autumn when the fruity cargo cult is expected to unveil new models of its shiny expensive toys.

It was no easy deal. TSMC, which makes other, lower profile chips for Apple has been named and shamed as Samsung’s successor for A-series chip production. Even last week the smart rumours were saying that TSMC had taken over “most” of the orders for the A8, leaving Samsung as a secondary supplier.

Curiously, this is exactly what happened for both the A6X and A7 processors, and each of those chips rolled off Samsung’s Austin production line. One wonders if someone is seeding the TSMC rumours to throw hacks off the scent.

Apple will no doubt be looking for other chip makers as working with the company you are trying to sue into a coma is bad for business. It might be that it is waiting for Intel to get up to snuff on its foundry business. 

Samsung to release smartphone

Although you are unlikely to hear much about it from the Tame Apple Press, Samsung is about to issue a new flagship Galaxy S smartphone this month.

Those who have mentioned it claim that features such as a bigger screen will lead to a sharp jump in sales, while claiming that Apple’s iPhone will do well because of its er… bigger screen.

“A bigger screen for the S5 may not become much of a selling point as Apple is widely expected to introduce large-screen smartphones – Samsung’s mainstay products – later this year,” Reuters sniffed.

Samsung sent out invitations today for the “Samsung unPacked 5” event on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The launch has been brought forward by around three weeks.

That being so, Samsung is preparing for its weakest mobile annual profit growth in seven years as the outfit has to deal with strong currency and the fact that the US market is largely saturated.

The S5 is widely expected to feature a bigger screen, an improved rear camera and biometric functions such as iris recognition or a fingerprint scanner. It may also come with an improved Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

If Apple were doing a launch like this, the press would be full of frenzied speculation about what it would contain. In fact looking through the wires, it seems that the loyal press is not even speculating that the event will see the launch of the new Samsung phone.

Instead they are trotting out the same rubbish about Samsung losing sales to the glorious Apple steamroller in China, even though that is clearly not happening at all. 

Samsung tries to censor exploding S4 video

Samsung hoped to supress the news that one of its S4 phones caught fire and has created for itself a PR nightmare.

Video footage of a Galaxy S4 that caught fire while charging appeared on YouTube.

YouTube user GhostlyRich posted a video on YouTube in early December. While the battery did not explode, the charging port was burnt.

This bricked the phone and seeing that the phone is still under warranty, you would think Samsung would simply exchange the device.

Samsung however made the mistake of sending the user a stiff missive saying that it will exchange his defective device only after he pulled his initial video from YouTube.

Besides the fact that it is very difficult to stop a viral video even after it has been pulled, it seems that Samsung missed the whole “if you cock up don’t threaten your customers thing”.

It also forgot that there are shedloads of Apple fanboys, and a Tame Apple Press which would be keen to run a story like this to prove the technical superiority of their favourite gadget.

The advice to Samsung is that if something like this happens in the future you could get good PR from it just by being nice. Most people accept that gear goes wrong, but if a company handles you well, all can be forgiven. In fact you might even get good press out of it.

However if your toy breaks and you behave like a bastard you tend to get this sort of story written

The original YouTube video, at the time of this posting, had 45,000 views and the video showing the Samsung demand letter,  has more than 277,000 views.

Alcatel-Lucent stuffs 31Tbps down a cable

Global telecoms giant Alcatel-Lucent is claiming the new world record for pushing data down a fibre cable.

It claims it has transmitted data at 31Tbps over a single long-haul 7200km optical fibre cable.

The experiment was carried out at by the firms R&D focused Bell Labs division on the Innovation City campus in Villarceaux.

It used 155 lasers, each operating at different frequencies and carrying 200Gbps of data over a 50GHz frequency grid.

The researchers managed to get that much data down the wire by cutting back distortions and noise on the line.

They did this using an enhanced version of Wavelength Division Multiplexing that splits light into different wavelengths so that it can carry more data.

Philippe Keryer, Alcatel-Lucent’ Chief Strategy and “Innovation Officer”, said that undersea fibre-optic transmission as integral to the digital economy and jacking up the bandwidth will improve the internet.

He said customers were facing increasing demand on their networks for data capacity and higher-speeds of transmission, so the carriers had to come up with ways to transform global data networks.

The evolution of the technology started in May 2011 when a team of German, UK and Swiss scientists successfully used Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing to send data at a rate of 26Tbps over a 50km long single-mode fibre optic cable.

Last year a Japanese team working out of NEC transmitted 4Tbps over a single “ultra-long haul” fibre optic cable without any repeaters.

Earlier this year there was a test in the UK of a new type of hollow fibre optic cable that yielded speeds of 73.7 Tbps.