FacebookGoogle PlusLinkedIn

Blog

News, Technology | April 26, 2017

UBER takes it to the Skies by 2020

Uber has revealed plans to team up with Aurora Flight Sciences to create and test out a network of aerial taxis for passengers to hire by 2020. At Uber’s Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas, the companies said the electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft will be part of the Uber Elevate Network, a scheme designed to eventually give Uber users the opportunity to use both land and air to reach their destination.

Uber has had trouble with the development of self-driving cars having recently paused tests due to a crash in Arizona and a court case between Uber and Waymo over intellectual property rights but partnering with a strong player in the aircraft industry may be more of a success. “Uber is taking a big step forward toward making the world’s first VTOL network a reality and our partnership with Aurora Flight Sciences will help get us off the ground,” said Mark Moore, Director of Engineering for Uber. “The Elevate VTOL network will help improve urban mobility around the world and transform the way we travel.”

The ride-hailing service has a vision which would provide consumers with on-demand urban air transportation by 2020 that would cost roughly the same as your average land taxi fare today. According to Uber’s description of the Elevate Network project, on-demand “flying taxis” would not only shave time off commutes drastically, but help reduce the growing issue of city congestion. “Just as skyscrapers allowed cities to use limited land more efficiently, urban air transportation will use three-dimensional airspace to alleviate transportation congestion on the ground,” Uber says.

The partnership will utilize Aurora research already underway for the US Department of Defense, the XV-24A X-plane project, and current craft prototypes will form a base for the eVOTL concept. The eVOTL will include adapted vertical take-off and landing technology in the same way that helicopters move and the craft which will not only be quiet but also zero-emission and will include collision avoidance systems.

Uber said the goal was to “enable customers in the future to push a button and get high-speed flight around cities.” The companies have already conducted one successful test flight and plan to run trials in both Dallas, US, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. All in all, Uber and Aurora hope to have 50 aircraft in the air for tests by 2020.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC
“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”
3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326
www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |
(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914
“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”
“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl
“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl
“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/
News, Technology | April 18, 2017

CLOUDBOOKS, possibly CHROMEBOOKS worst nightmare!!

 

Microsoft appears to aiming at the other end of the market. It’s rumored that the company will be debuting a new kind of PC at its education-focused event on May 2: an inexpensive computer designed to primarily run apps from the cloud, a device that will finally directly respond the rapid rise of Chromebooks. It’s called a CloudBook, according to reports, and it’ll run a new variant of Windows 10 called Windows Cloud. The main thing separating Windows Cloud from regular Windows? Machines running it will only be able to run apps downloaded from the Windows Store. That restriction is very similar to what separated the old Surface tablets, the Surface RT and Surface 2, from regular Windows machines. But that was because they ran Windows RT, the now-defunct version of Windows designed for ARM-based devices (as opposed to Intel/AMD x86 machines). Today, Windows RT is long dead, and older, Win32-based apps are even available in the Windows Store.

All that said, two qualifiers: Although Windows RT is gone, Windows 10 can still run on ARM devices—all Windows mobile phones have ARM chips and run it. So, theoretically, Microsoft could debut a Windows PC with an ARM chip whenever it wants. And that brings us to the second qualifier: Even though the Windows Store now offers some Win32 apps, that doesn’t necessarily mean the CouldBook will run them. At least one report says it will run Win32 apps, though, so a more likely scenario is this: The CloudBook will indeed have an Intel chip, but Windows Cloud will have a setting where you can restrict apps to Windows Store only, which will be the default. After all, if the whole idea is to take on Chromebooks, the OS will need to offer robust management tools.

Windows once tried going down the route of cheap machines barely worthy of the label “PC,” and the world rejected the result: the netbook. Times have changed, though: The cloud is now king, and Chromebooks have proven the viability of the model, which will go a long way toward convincing OEMs to get on board. In 2017, it should be possible to create a cheap Windows machine that performs well at a few cloud-based tasks (browsing, email and Office apps, mainly). The main challenge Microsoft will have with such a machine would be managing expectations. People tend to expect a certain amount of versatility from any PC under the Windows umbrella. Even if Windows Cloud and the CloudBook give Chromebooks a run for their money, it could face an even tougher comparison: Windows 10 itself.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

News, Technology | April 11, 2017

IPhone 8 VS Galaxy S8. Your Choice!

The new Samsung Galaxy S8 has launched, and its target of choice is the as yet unlaunched Apple iPhone 8 Anniversary Edition. These phones are critical for both companies. Apple survives largely off the iPhone today, and Samsung is trying to recover both from its burning phone problem and from its top executive being arrested on bribery charges. Neither firm can afford a big loss to the other, and Samsung just came out of the gate with one hell of an opening salvo.

A big difference is that Apple can focus on product, while Samsung has to restore its image, and that is a far harder thing to do.

Iphone’s Downfall

Apple’s iPhone both surprised and, for a time, drove the smartphone market. It helped wipe out Palm, forced BlackBerry to make massive changes, and knocked the once-dominant Nokia down to the third tier of mobile phone players. On the other hand, Apple’s attempts at diversification haven’t gone very well. The iPad is no longer the PC killer it once was thought to be, the iPod is all but gone, and the Apple Watch was a disappointing misfire. (Ironically, it is still the most successful single product in its class, suggesting an as-yet-unresolved class problem.)

Apple no longer controls the smartphone market, though. Control now is shared — and firms using Google’s Android platform represent a significantly larger share. In this new Android-led world, Samsung has been the company to beat. Apple has had an amazing run recently, largely because Samsung’s halo phone, the Samsung Note 7, had a nasty tendency to catch fire. Samsung didn’t address that problem well at all, leading to the phone being banned from planes and ultimately recalled. That didn’t give Apple a sustainable advantage, though, because Samsung didn’t fail. That means the gains that Apple got likely will go away once Samsung re-enters the high-end segment and recovers its brand, which really is the bigger problem. It has made a start — recovering the phone is what it just did.

The long-term problem for Apple is that Apple’s margins are industry-leading but Samsung’s aren’t. That means Samsung and others can put more into their phones and still charge less. That’s why the S8 is so scary. It is a technology showcase that Apple can’t match unless it cuts into margins, and Apple can’t do that without collapsing its valuation.

In effect, Apple is between a rock and a hard place if Samsung can execute — but execution isn’t easy.

Samsung’s Downfall

Thanks to the burning phones and a tendency for some of Samsung’s washing machines to explode of late, folks aren’t trusting Samsung much. This has resulted in Samsung having to run an expensive campaign to recover its brand. Having worked on a similar project at IBM decades ago, I know this kind of problem is neither cheap nor quick to fix. It took IBM millions and five years to recover its brand. Samsung’s market is both more forgiving and more fickle, which suggests it could do it far faster, but I still think it will take at least two years of solid execution and millions in marketing.

This may not be helped by the fact it currently is selling refurbished Galaxy Note 7s, which still are banned from airplanes. Given that the failure was caused by a design feature rather than a component problem, these phones still could catch fire.

This seems like a continuation of the tactical thinking that got Samsung into this mess in the first place, and if one of these refurbished phones should catch fire, it could result in a huge advantage for Apple. It also suggests that the problem created cash liquidity issues that likely resulted in this incredibly risky decision.

A lot of folks have speculated that if the new phone catches fire, then Samsung is screwed. However, the reality is that none of its phones can catch fire, because that will cause people to disbelieve the message of a new, more quality-focused Samsung. So, the phone it launched may be up to the challenge of restoring Samsung’s brand, but the company’s execution appears to be falling short in other respects. It still could fail due to the decision to resell the problematic Note 7s and the sheer time it will take to recover its image.

Conclusion

With a healthy and well-executing Samsung, the new Galaxy Note S8 could have done scary things to Apple’s iPhone 8 sales, particularly because Apple simply can’t afford to match in its phone the kinds of advancements that Samsung has showcased. However, Samsung isn’t healthy, and its decision to resell the problematic Note 7 is a showcase of what has been a string of excessive risks. An Apple supporter could rig a refurbished Note 7 to catch fire in a critical location, and the risk that Samsung represents could be removed. That’s a hell of a temptation for a lot of Apple employees and partners, even if Apple management weren’t involved in such a move.

Further, Apple just torpedoed Andy Rubin’s iPhone killer before it launched, suggesting Samsung should be thinking far more defensively. Apparently, Tim Cook did pick up at least one Steve Jobs skill — and if Samsung doesn’t watch out, this one will bite it in the butt. Unless Samsung suddenly gets a lot smarter, this round likely will go resoundingly to Apple, despite what otherwise is a very strong effort with its new S8 phone.

Against Apple, it generally is the execution, not the product, that makes the critical difference, and Samsung remains overmatched.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

News, Technology | April 4, 2017

HEALTH monitored by Contact Lens

A research team led by Oregon State professor Gregory Herman has developed a transparent biosensor that, when added to a contact lens, could conceivably be used to detect symptoms an array of health conditions. Currently, a lab-tested prototype can only detect blood glucose levels, but in the future, the team believes it could detect other medical conditions, possibly even cancer. It’ll be a few years before we see such futuristic contact lenses on pharmacy shelves, but the technologies required to build this noninvasive diagnostic device largely exists today.

Imagine a biosensing contact lens that can tell when your blood sugar is getting too low, or if there’s something wrong with one of your organs. By leveraging the power of ultra-thin transistor technology, researchers from Oregon State University have taken us a step closer to achieving that goal.

When he embarked on the project, Herman was looking for a better way to help people with diabetes. Today, diabetics can continuously monitor their blood glucose levels with electrodes implanted under the skin. Trouble is, this form of monitoring can be painful and cause skin irritations and infections. A disposable, biosensing contact lens would be more practical, safer, and far less intrusive.

To get started, Herman piggybacked off an idea he and his colleagues came up with a few years ago—a semiconductor composed of the compound gallium zinc oxide (IGZO). This is the same semiconductor that has revolutionized electronics, allowing for higher resolution televisions, smartphones, and tablets. Herman now wants to apply a similar technology to diagnostic medicine.

To make the prototype contact lens, the researchers fabricated a biosensor containing a transparent sheet of IGZO transistors and glucose oxidase—an enzyme that breaks down glucose. When this biosensor comes into contact with glucose, the enzyme oxidizes the blood sugar. This causes the pH level in the mixture to shift, triggering measurable changes in the electrical current flowing through the IGZO transistors. Tiny nanostructures were embedded within the IGZO biosensor, allowing the transparent device to detect minute glucose concentrations found in tears.

“There is a fair amount of information that can be monitored in a teardrop,” Herman told Gizmodo. “Of course, there is glucose, but also lactate (sepsis, liver disease), dopamine (glaucoma), urea (renal function), and proteins (cancers). Our goal is to expand from a single sensor to multiple sensors.” As noted, the current model can only test for glucose, so only time will tell if the technology can be leveraged to sniff out these other chemicals.

The sensor is still in the development phase, and it has yet to be attached to a contact lens. Eventually (and ideally), a souped-up version of this device will transmit data via radio frequency (RF) to a receiver. As a bonus, the RF signals will also power the device; in future, a tiny antenna will be used to charge the capacitor. Currently, the prototype is not transmitting data outside of the sensor, and scientists take readings by measuring the electrical current flowing through the device.

Given that contact lenses are disposable, these devices need to be affordable. But Herman doesn’t see this as a problem. “We are using a technology that is very similar to what is used for cell phones, the IGZO thin film transistors,” he said. “One hundred transistors in a cell phone display is going to cost less than ten cents.” Encouragingly, Herman and his colleagues developed an inexpensive method to make IGZO electronics, but as he himself admits, “there are other costs that will need to come down.” The affordability of these hypothetical devices is still an open question.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta

 

News, Technology | March 30, 2017

Windows Keyboard crosscut on a Mac

A Mac’s keyboard layout just isn’t quite right for Windows. Whether you’re primarily a Windows user or primarily an OS X user, the layout doesn’t feel quite right when you run Windows in Boot Camp but you can fix that.

There are several possible ways you might want to rearrange these keyboard shortcuts depending on what you’re used to. All it takes is a few cl…icks with SharpKeys and you’ll feel more at home. Mac keyboard layouts are subtly different from PC keyboard layouts. On a typical PC keyboard, the bottom-left corner of the keyboard contains keys in this order: Ctrl, Windows, Alt. On a Mac keyboard, you’ll see the following layout: Control, Option, Command. In Boot Camp, these keys function as Control, Alt, Windows.

In other words, the Alt and Windows key are swapped from where you’d expect them to be. Worse yet, Mac users will have to use the Control key for various keyboard shortcuts that require the Command key on Mac OS X.

There has to be a way to fix this and there is. We’ll be using SharpKeys to remap these keys in Windows. SharpKeys is an easy-to-use, open-source graphical program that creates the appropriate Windows registry entries to remap keys. You could actually do this all in the registry editor if you like, it just takes more work. This utility works on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and even older versions of Windows.

If you’re used to Mac keyboard shortcuts, you may want to make the Command key function as the Control key. You’ll then be able to use Mac keyboard shortcuts like Command+C, X, or V for Copy, Cut, and Paste in Windows. Pressing Command+L will focus the location bar in your web browser on Windows just as it does on OS X — without the remapping, that Command+L shortcut equals Windows Key+L, which will lock your Windows system.

To do this, install SharpKeys and launch it. Click the Add button and click “Type Key” under the “From key” column on the left. Press the left Command key. Next, click the “Type Key” button under the “To key” column on the right. Press the Control key. Log out and log back in, or reboot your Mac. The Alt/Option key will function as a Windows key and the Command key will function as the Alt key. This means the layout at the left side of your keyboard will be Control, Windows, Alt just like on Windows.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatlSee more

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta

News, Technology | March 24, 2017

Choose the right platform INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK or BOTH

You may already be aware of the fact that Facebook owns Instagram. The fact that the world’s largest social media platform is Instagram’s parent company has caused some marketers to view them as a single entity. While it’s certainly true that you can target Instagram users from within Facebook’s campaign-building interface, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re one and the same. As anyone who uses Facebook and Instagram will tell you, the two platforms are quite different. That’s why so many users still maintain accounts on both of them.

 They share certain features in common, but they each have unique strengths and weaknesses from a marketing perspective. Strategies that work wonders on Facebook might fall flat on the photo-sharing platform, and the reverse is also true; Instagram successes might not translate well to Facebook’s mechanics. Both platforms can be used to connect with friends, family, celebrities and brands, but advertisers would do well to formulate separate yet complementary marketing strategies for each.

Instagram:

Instagram is primarily focused on images, and while there may be captions or locations shared along with the pictures, it’s a platform of few words. Here, art rules the day, so it should come as no surprise that users turn to Instagram to get their creative juices flowing. Instagram also has the potential for native-like brand executions within the platform itself. To put that into simpler terms, it’s easy to showcase a product or service in a visual context that makes perfect sense, doesn’t feel forced and creates positive feelings around the brand. And while Instagram users like the platform for its capacity to connect them with friends, family and celebrities, they’re just as likely to use it for fashion and beauty cues, interior design inspiration and cool do-it-yourself project ideas. Instagram is all about arresting images and following your muse, so it’s no wonder that so many young creatives get excited about the platform.

Facebook:

There’s no denying Facebook’s mass appeal. The site boasts nearly 1.3 billion users who are active on a daily basis. That’s more than four times the number of people who use Instagram every day–a still impressive but comparably paltry 300 million. Your clients and prospects spend an awful lot of time on Facebook. So what do they get out of it? According to studies, people turn to the social media giant for news, but they also use it as a way to connect with friends and family. Facebook posts tend to have a pretty opinionated bent, whether they’re about politics, traffic, the weather, a new restaurant or a recent ex. That’s not all bad, by the way–users say Facebook offers more exposure to bold new ideas and unexpected ways of thinking.

Choose the right platform

Let’s say your product is some high-design object of desire that you want to show off to an audience of youthful beauty seekers. Instagram might be the platform of choice. So, which is best for your brand: Facebook or Instagram? Well, that depends on your brand, the nature of your offerings and the purpose driving your push for engagement.

On the other hand, if your brand requires more than just a pretty picture to really convey its value, then you might be better off creating deeper content and sharing it via Facebook. In the end, there’s really no reason why you can’t do both. The best strategy for many brands is to maintain a presence on both platforms, and to use each when the time or project is appropriate.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC
“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”
3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326
www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |
(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914
“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”
“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl
“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl
“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

 

News, Technology | March 21, 2017

IPHONE 7 & 7 PLUS GONE RED!!

Apple unveiled a variant of its flagship phone as part of the (Red) program, which funds programs that combat HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The special edition of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will come in 128-gigabyte and 256GB configurations.

While Apple has long participated in the (Red) program, this marks the first time the company has employed the color in its marquee phone. Other (Red) products include its original iPod Nano, Beats products and accessories for its iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 has been good to Apple since its debut in September. In the final calendar quarter of 2016, it led Apple to record sales of 78.3 million total iPhones, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the company’s revenue for the three months.

The red variant and the higher-capacity SE give Apple a midcycle rallying cry in between major updates to its marquee product line. Later this year, the company is widely expected to unveil the iPhone 8. Tuesday’s news also comes two months after the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone, a few weeks after pretty much every other phone maker used the high-profile Mobile World Congress to introduce their own new devices and a week ahead of Samsung’s introduction of its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8.

Over the years, Apple has broadened the color palette of the iPhone, which originally just came in black. With the iPhone 7, customers were already able to choose from jet black, black, silver, gold and rose gold.

Apple said that all the money raised by (Red) goes directly to fund HIV and AIDS grant that provide testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs. The company added that since 2006, (Red) has generated more than $465 million for its Global Fund, with more than $130 million coming from Apple.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

News, Technology | March 13, 2017

Intel acquiring Mobileye’s self-driving car technology in $15 billion deal

Intel is acquiring Mobileye, a company that specializes in chips for vision-based autonomous vehicles. The Marker and Axios first reported the deal, valued at $15.3 billion, and it will see Intel take over some key technology for its ambitions to lead autonomous cars. BMW, Intel, and Mobileye have all partnered to deploy 40 autonomous vehicles for testing on public roads later this year. Intel and Mobileye’s technology is to be tested on roads in the US and Europe.

Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye was officially confirmed this morning, and it will mark a huge investment in self-driving cars for the chip company. Intel previously said it will spend $250 million over the next two years toward the development of autonomous vehicles, but a $15 billion deal is far more significant.

“The acquisition of Mobileye brings together the assets of Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory, and 5G modems with the world leader in automotive computer vision,” says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car.”

Tesla used to use Mobileye chips

Mobileye has been developing systems and chips to help vehicles navigate autonomously and provide warnings for collisions. Tesla originally used Mobileye chips for its autopilot system, but severed ties with the company after a fatal accident where Mobileye’s technology was unable to distinguish between a laterally crossing truck and the sky behind it.

Intel’s interest in Mobileye could help it against competitors like Nvidia and Qualcomm. Both chip makers have been investing in vehicles, and Intel appears to be paying a premium to catch up and push forward with its autonomous vehicle plans.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

News, Technology | February 28, 2017

Porsche Design’s new laptop is like a Surface Book that can rotate 360 degrees

Porsche Design has announced its new 2-in-1, called the Book One, today at Mobile World Congress and it sure reminds us of a Surface Book. The device runs Windows 10 Pro and includes a 5-megapixel camera with an infrared sensor for logging in through Windows Hello. Here’s the rest of the specs:

  • 13.3-inch touch QHD display
  • Core i7 Intel processor
  • 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage
  • Two USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB-C port that supports ThunderBolt 3
  • Precision Touchpad and backlit keyboard

The Book One also supports a digital stylus that sticks to the right side of the device magnetically. It’s worth noting the notebook’s hardware was likely done by Quanta, a company that also helped manufacture Amazon’s Fire tablets.

The key difference between Book One and a Surface Book — apart from the impossible-to-miss Porsche Design logo — is the hinge. Book One’s screen is detachable, like the Surface Book’s, but it can also rotate 360 degrees. The Surface Book can’t do that. You’re going to have to pay for that hinge, however. The Book One will cost $2,495 when its released in the US this April. While this is slightly more expensive than the base Surface Book, at least you’re getting that cool hinge, more current ports, and branding.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta/

News, Technology | February 24, 2017

A world free of charging cables? It’s all up to Apple

The pitch has always been a simple one: Place your phone down and watch it charge automatically, without the fuss of finding an outlet or connecting a power cord. The reality of wireless charging, however, has been anything but.

Differing technologies and incompatible standards have hindered broader adoption of wireless charging. It was good enough to work in Oral-B electric toothbrushes in the early ’90s, yet most phones still lack the ability to charge without a power cord. But 2017 appears to be the year wireless charging gets its act together. You’re starting to see an accelerating trickle of products incorporating the feature, from a Dell laptop unveiled at CES to automakers looking for a way to more easily power their electric vehicles. The most obvious spark could come from Apple, which appears ready to get off the sidelines and commit to the feature in a big way by joining the Wireless Power Consortium. The rumors of the iPhone 8 getting wireless charging alone are enough to get people thinking about the feature.

“Whoever Apple picks wins,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at research firm Global Data. “That’s the catalyst that would drive enough volume.” Apple declined to comment on how the WPC will impact the next iPhone.

“Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor,” the company said. “Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards.” Apple’s embrace of wireless charging could mean a resurgence of interest in the feature. Last year marked a period where “things lost steam a bit,” according to IHS analyst David Green. Yes, the number of wireless charging devices grew 40 percent year over year in 2016, but that was largely because Samsung incorporated the feature into its Galaxy S7 and Note 7 phones. And just because wireless charging is in a phone doesn’t mean consumers are taking advantage of it — or even aware of the capability. The market is expected to nearly double to 375 million devices in 2017, and Green said he expects at least one more player to publicly embrace wireless charging at the Mobile World Congress trade show next week.

Obvious benefits

Phone makers for years have tried to tout wireless charging as a key feature. Nokia famously championed it with its flagship Lumia phones, and Google and LG incorporated it into the Nexus 4 phone. They used a technology called inductive charging — the same as that electric toothbrush — that requires you place the device on top of a charging pad in a specific position.

Newer forms of wireless charging open the door to different applications. Magnetic resonance gives you a bit more freedom, so you don’t have to lay your phone down at an exact spot. It can charge multiple devices with different power needs. It can also charge over a few inches and through objects, so you can mount a charging pad under a table rather than have a specific built-in inductive charger in your furniture (which Ikea actually offers). That ability to charge over a short distance is an opportunity for automakers and their electric cars. Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, which builds chips to power magnetic resonance technology, said he’s planning for car launches in 2020 that will take advantage of the technology. He sees phones capable of using magnetic resonance coming next year.

“Wireless charging is part of everyone’s future roadmap,” Gruzen said.

Lastly, companies like Energous are exploring sending power over radio frequency airwaves, similar to how online connectivity gets broadcast over Wi-Fi. In fact, Energous plans to integrate its power broadcasting capabilities into Wi-Fi routers next year. Beyond phones, that kind of capability would be ideal for low-power sensors like smoke detectors or even smaller devices like hearing aids. While the idea of charging something 15 feet away sounds great, there are questions about how quickly you can charge something over the air. Energous also needs to get approval from the Federal Communication Commission to ensure that its system is safe.

“We are quite comfortable that we have developed tech that conforms to their guidelines,” said Energous CEO Steve Rizzone.

How did we get into this mess?

Here’s where things get confusing.

Despite the differing technologies, much of the standards battles have been fought around two incompatible versions of inductive charging. On one side is Qi, championed by the Wireless Power Consortium. It boasts, by far, the most wireless charging products. On the other side is a form of inductive charging pushed by Powermat and the AirFuel Alliance, an amalgamation of two former groups that now also embraces magnetic resonance and radio frequency charging. (I told you this was confusing.)

Powermat has invested in building a network of charging stations in retail locations like Starbucks and McDonald’s, but has fewer phones in the market using its technology. Samsung actually had a chance to provide some clarity, but opted to play nice and incorporate both versions into its Galaxy S phones. That just led to more confusion with both standards crowing about being in the high-profile devices.

“By not picking the winner, it almost prolongs the pain,” Greengart said.

Talking to the two sides is like talking to a Golden State Warriors fan and a Cleveland Cavaliers fan: You’re going to get two distinct realities. “They’re not there,” said Menno Treffers, chairman of the WPC, said of the competition. “There’s not much of a battle anymore.”

“The adoption is so small now, there’s no one to say what the standard is going to look like,” said Ron Resnick, chairman of the AirFuel Alliance. You can see how why we’re still in a logjam.

Where Apple comes in

Apple may provide some clarity. Earlier this month, the company confirmed it had joined the WPC, sparking speculation that the purported iPhone 8 would include wireless charging. Apple isn’t just joining for show. Treffers said Apple is expected to make a technical contribution to Qi, and said representatives from the company were in London last week making a presentation — part of a broader gathering of members.

WPC membership doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the iPhone uses Qi, Note that the Apple Watch uses a form of inductive charging too. But if Apple commits to Qi, Powermat CEO Elad Dubzinski said his network of charging stations could support the standard with a mix of hardware and software tweaks. He said he was more concerned with managing the network of services that would flow on top of wireless charging say, at a Starbucks.

There’s also the persistent chatter that Apple is exploring wireless charging over several feet, which is where Energous could come into play. Rizzone has hinted at a “key strategic partner,” which many have taken to mean Apple. Energous has given this partner a one-year exclusivity deal for a specific product category. Given Apple’s eagerness to lock up new features for itself, the deal could signal that future iPhones could embrace radio frequency charging. And that ultimately could be the answer, with companies incorporating inductive or magnetic resonance for faster charging over shorter distances, and radio frequency to help keep your battery topped off.

No matter how things shake out, it may take Apple to light the way.

“It’s a chicken-and-egg problem that can only be solved by a fruit,” Greengart said.

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.com | customerservice@itgurusatl.com |

(888) 511-0143 (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

“LIKE” us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/itgurusatl

“FOLLOW US” on Twitter: www.twitter.com/itgurusatl

“CONNECT” with us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itgurusofatlanta


Call Now To Get Started!

(888) 511-0143 or (706) 406-5914

Contact Us

Contact Form

Fields marked with an * are required