Moto C and Moto C Plus certified in Russia ahead of official announcement

It’s no secret that Motorola Mobility has had its difficulties in recent times. Taken over by Google in 2011 before being passed onto Lenovo three years later, things looked ominous when the China-based company laid off a large chunk of its Motorola workforce last fall. But with the Moto Z series having shown flair in the flagship arena, things are looking up, and the likes of the Moto G and E series have continually demonstrated appeal to lower-budget audiences. With the latter in mind, recent reports have indicated that dirt-cheap Moto C is in the pipeline …


Google opens Android to other search engines in Russia under out-of-court agreement

The lengthy battle that began in 2015 between Google and Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has finally concluded with Google complying. An out-of-court settlement was reached between the search giant and Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog, that foresees Google to allow Android OEMs, as well as end users, to change Android’s default search engine.

Up until now, Google required Android smartphone manufacturers to ship their devices with Google search as the default search engine. That is, if they wanted to retain access to the Play Store and other essential …

HTC One X10 mid-ranger is official in Russia; phone carries a 4000mAh battery (UPDATE)


UPDATE: HTC has issued a press release. The phone will be launched in Russia this month in black and silver, priced at the equivalent of $355 USD.

Ever since we showed you the leaked teaser of the HTC One X10 that Evan Blass originally tweeted, we could sense (no pun intended) that HTC fans were getting giddy. Sure, the phone looked like a premium model with its fancy get up, but that wasn’t the reason for the wide smiles from the HTC faithful. Those came from the tag line which read “big style meets bigger battery.”

For years, HTC had two major issues that fans could not get …

How ion thruster technology will power future NASA missions

For its crazy 2020 asteroid capture mission and other projects, NASA is developing next-gen “Hall effect thrusters” to corral an asteroid and put it into the moon’s orbit. At the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) is trying to improve its own Hall thrusters to power future missions. If you’re wondering what the heck they are, Hall effect motors are a type of ion thruster that produce a tiny 0.7 pounds of force, or the weight of 54 US quarters, according to NASA. However, they’re much more efficient than standard rockets, and if run long enough, can power a spaceship to speeds as high as 112,000 mph. So how do they actually work?

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Hall thrusters were developed by the Soviets in the 1950’s and first deployed in 1971 on a Russian weather satellite. Over 240 have flawlessly flown since, often to boost satellites into orbit and keep them there. The motors are around ten times more efficient than chemical propulsion rockets, and can run for long periods of time using a fixed stock of inert gas combined with solar- or nuclear-generated electricity. The first Hall thruster used outside of Earth orbit (on the ESA’s Smart-1 moon-orbiting spacecraft) ran for a record-setting two years. On top of being reliable, such motors are also very safe since the non-reactive gases can’t explode.

Hall thrusters use a magnetic field effect to accelerate ions (charged particles) to high speeds, producing thrust. Here’s how it works: a spacecraft’s solar panels or other power source charge an anode’s walls to a high positive energy level. Electrons injected by a downstream cathode are attracted to the anode and drawn into an insulator channel. At that point, they’re trapped by powerful magnets to form a circling ring called a Hall current.

An inert gas, usually Xenon, is then injected into the anode tube, where it collides with the electrons to form positive ionized Xenon gas, otherwise known as plasma. The magnetic field accelerates the plasma to speeds of up to 35,000 mph, generating thrust. With a positive charge, the plasma also pulls electrons from the original downstream cathode, neutralizing the charge and preventing static from building up on the spacecraft.

gridded-ion-thruster-NASA

In comparison, so-called gridded ion thrusters work a bit differently. In those motors, electrons combine with an inert gas to create ionized Xenon in the same way as a Hall thruster, but the resulting plasma is accelerated by a negative grid at the end of the motor, rather than a magnetic field, to create thrust. Once the plasma leaves the engine, a “cathode neutralizer” injects electrons to prevent a static charge buildup on the spacecraft.

As for performance? Gridded ion thrusters are more fuel efficient than Hall thrusters. However, Hall thrusters provide more power in a smaller package, which is why both NASA and ESA have keyed in on that tech — especially for missions beyond Earth’s orbit. For more info on how they work, check the video below.

Youtube Video Here

Apple iPhone of China Xiaomi

A Chinese smartphone company you probably haven’t heard of is knocking on Apple’s door.
Xiaomi, the world’s third largest smartphone maker (behind Samsung and Apple), announced in a Weibo post on Sunday that it sold 61 million smartphones in 2014, raking in more than 74 billion yuan ($12 billion) in sales.

Those aren’t yet Apple numbers. Apple (AAPL, Tech30) sold 118 million iPhones in the first nine months of 2014 alone — it will provide details on the last quarter of 2014 later this month. But Xiaomi’s come-out-of-nowhere feat was accomplished almost exclusively in China, without the benefit of selling its “Mi” phones to the rest of the world.
Late last year, Xiaomi expanded to India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and Turkey, and it will be in additional countries later this year. The world’s fastest-growing smartphone maker forecast that it will sell 100 million devices in 2015.
Last week, Xiaomi announced that it had raised $1.1 billion in funding from some of tech industry’s most powerful players. That values the company at $45 billion — bigger than LG, Motorola and Sony (SNE) put together.
Xiaomi is currently the world’s most valuable startup — worth more than than Uber, Airbnb or Pinterest.
Xiaomi’s growth and popularity have sparked comparisons to Apple. The company has also been accused of copying Apple’s style — an allegation Xiaomi has brushed aside by saying it strives for its products to be as high-quality as Apple’s, but its Mi phones function very differently from the iPhone.

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Xiaomi: Why we’re not Apple
Xiaomi is undeniably a stunning growth story. It opened its doors in April 2010, and a year ago the company commanded just 2% of the smartphone market. That has given the company a ton of confidence.
“We are a company that the technology industry has never seen before,” said Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun in his Weibo post. “From now onwards, every step we take is writing a new chapter in the history of the industry.”
But Xiaomi acknowledged that the company faces some big challenges in 2015. Growth in the Chinese smartphone market is slowing, and Chinese rivals like Huawei and Lenovo are catching up. Expansion into western markets will bring an uncertain fate.
To overcome those obstacles, Xiaomi said it will continue to innovate. The company on Sunday unveiled a new Redmi phone, which sells for about $130. The new new flagship Mi phone will be unveiled on Jan 15, Xiaomi said. The high-end Mi lineup typically sells for around $300 and competes directly with the iPhone — even though it sells for less than half the price.
Xiaomi’s smartphone design has been praised by reviewers and customers alike.
The company has partnered with and invested in 20 hardware companies in an attempt to bring cheaper phones to market faster than its competitors.
Xiaomi isn’t Apple yet — but it could be soon.