Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Tata AirPod: India's tiny air-powered prototype car


The Tata AirPod: India's tiny air-powered prototype car

via www.mdi.lu
Indian car maker Tata hopes to bring a car powered by compressed air — an idea that's been contemplated for years but has proved difficult to build commercially — to market. Built on technology licensed from Luxembourg's MDI, the AirPod is a light, apparently one-seated car that's supposed to be able to run at between 45 and 70 kilometers an hour (28 to 43 miles per hour). Instead of running on gas or electricity, however, the engine is powered by a tank of compressed air, which can either be pumped in through a charging station or taken in while driving with the help of an electric engine. The car can also recapture some energy during braking, similar to current hybrid vehicles. The concept still seems a bit shaky, but it could offer cheaper and more environmentally friendly recharging without waiting for something like IBM's lithium-air battery.
While MDI has been working on the technology for years, it signed a licensing agreement with Tata in early 2007, and a concept car was unveiled in late 2011. In May, the engine concept was successfully tested in two Tata cars, allowing Tata and MDI to proceed to the next phase: figuring out how to actually create a product that could go to market. We've heard nothing more so far, but it's meant to be developed "over the coming years."

Android Reigns as iPhone Sales Stall Ahead of New Model


Android Reigns as iPhone Sales Stall Ahead of New Model


Android Reigns as iPhone Sales Stall Ahead of New ModelPeople holding off on buying iPhones in anticipation of a new model in September have led to a dent in Apple’s sales, research from Gartnerindicates. Samsung, however, has seen continued growth, increasing its Android market share to one-and-a-half times that of Apple.
There is a 2.3 percent drop in worldwide smartphone sales compared to the same period last year, according to Anshul Gupta, a principal research analyst at Gartner. Gupta blamed the decline on users postponing upgrades ahead of high-profile device launches expected in the coming months.
Apple’s sales fell 12.6 percent from the first quarter of the year -- although they grew 47 percent year-on-year. The outlook is not bleak, though: "High-profile smartphone launches from key manufacturers such as the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward,” Gupta added.
Android Reigns as iPhone Sales Stall Ahead of New ModelGartner data indicates Apple sold almost half the amount of smartphones Samsung did.The research firm believes Apple might experience another weaker-than-usual quarter in the third quarter of 2012, depending on the exact launch date of the new iPhone. Apple is widely expected to introduce a new iPhone on Sept. 12, and to start shipping it a week later. In anticipation of the new model, big retailers are already discounting the iPhone by $50, and Apple is matching the offer at its stores.
Gartner believes Apple will see strong holiday sales. The firm’s analysts said the next-generation iPhone should prove to be a big push for iPhone 4 users to upgrade because of its expected new design with a larger screen and likely other stylistic changes to the form factor.

Samsung Keeps the Crown

Android Reigns as iPhone Sales Stall Ahead of New ModelThe Samsung Galaxy S III sold reportedly 10 million units.Samsung remained the undisputed king of phone sales in Gartner’s books with 64.1 percent of the market share. It had a 25 percent increase in sales from the second quarter of 2011. Smartphones account for more than 50 percent of Samsung’s mobile sales (45 million units), and the growth was attributed to record sales of Galaxy Android smartphones, in particular the Galaxy S III, which reportedly sold 10 million units.
Nokia is in the second spot head of Apple, but its sales also declined by almost 15 percent the past quarter. Gartner found sales of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones are struggling, as the company is facing reduced profitability because of continuous declining sales of premium smartphones.
Gartner’s smartphone OS market share figures for the second quarter put Android in the lead with 64.1 percent share, followed by iOS at 18.8 percent. Symbian and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion each have over 5 percent, while Microsoft’s Windows Mobile is on par with Samsung’s Bada OS at 2.7 percent each.