inside Stories May 22, 2013

Bloomberg goes inside Google’s X research lab

Bloomberg published a nice read this morning following a tour of Google’s secretive X lab and a chat with some of the employees that work there. In the story Bloomberg talks Google Glass development, driverless cars, and lesser known X projects, speaks with Mary Lou Jepsen who heads up the Google X Display Division, and provides some insight into how the whole thing got started.

Some of the real projects in Google X sound almost as outlandish. Makani Power’s newest airborne turbine prototype, called Wing 7, is a 26-foot-long carbon-fiber contraption with four electricity-generating propellers that flies in circles at altitudes of 800 to 2,000 feet, sending power down a lightweight tether to a base station. “If we’re successful, we can get rid of a huge part of the fossil fuels we use,” says Damon Vander Lind, the startup’s chief engineer. Vander Lind acknowledges it might not work, but: “If you don’t take that chance, and put a decade of your life trying to do it, no progress will get made.”

Then there’s X’s still-secret project to bring Internet access to undeveloped parts of the world. A decade ago, David Grace, a senior research fellow at the University of York, spearheaded a project to mount broadband transmitters on high-altitude balloons, as part of a multicountry initiative backed by the European Commission, called the Capanina Consortium. The initiative never progressed beyond the experimental stage. Grace now says that he has heard that Google is working on such balloon-based broadband technology.

inside Stories April 26, 2013

The guys and gals over at iFixit are once again performing their usual teardown ritual and this time they have gotten their hands on the just released Samsung Galaxy S4. It probably won’t be the most exciting teardown you’ve ever read, as the internal design of the device, like the outer design, hasn’t changed much since the Galaxy S3. The good news is that the S4 gets a higher 8 out of 10 score for repairability.

• Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T 1.9 GHz Quad-Core CPU • Qualcomm MDM9215M 4G GSM/UMTS/LTE modem • Qualcomm PM8917 power management • Samsung K3QF2F200E 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM • Qualcomm WCD9310 audio codec • Skyworks 77619 Power Amplifier Module for Quad-Band GSM / EDGE • Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE chip (same part found in the Nexus 4) • Broadcom 20794S1A standalone NFC chip • Maxim MAX77803 microcontroller • Silicon Image 8240BO MHL 2.0 transmitter • Qualcomm PM8821 Power Management

Check out a full list of highlights from the teardown below and head over to iFixit to see the full teardown step by step: expand full story

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