Is It true? “Stella” is first solar-powered family car, will race in World Solar Challenge

Students at the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a solar-powered car they call “Stella,” which is claimed to be the first-ever family car that runs off the sun. The vehicle is designed to seat four individuals, and utilizes power drawn from the sun via solar panels that are located on its roof. We have a video of it in action after the break.

As you can see in the image above, the car is very long, as well as short in terms of roof height, tapering down to a thin tail for aerodynamics. According to the students who created it, Stella is capable of traveling up to a distance of 600 kilometers, something that will be put to the test in Australia’s World Solar Challenge, which is a 3,000 kilometer race that starts in Darwin and goes all the way to Adelaide. Stella is racing under the Cruiser Class category, which is a new addition to the event this year. For the new category, the solar car will be competing under different requirements than the other cars in the race, aiming for both usability and comfortable. As part of the category’s regulations, Stella will need to transport a passenger in addition to the driver for the duration of the race. Said Solar Team Eindhoven: “The design of the car of the future has to meet the needs of modern consumers. The car must be capable of transporting a family from the Netherlands to France in one day, it needs to be suitable for the daily commute to work, and it needs to achieve all this in comfort. Since Solar Team Eindhoven wants to contribute to the development of a car of the future, the design demands more than just a focus on speed. Comfort, ease of use, and feasibility are all key terms.” The car is made of both carbon and aluminium, and offers a dashboard composed of a touchscreen panel, eschewing typical button conventions. The steering wheel is said to also be unique, contracting and expanding depending on the speed the car is traveling at. As for the race itself, it will take place from October 6th to 13th. SOURCE: Dezeen “Stella” is first solar-powered family car, will race in World Solar Challenge is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? Sony Smart Bluetooth headset makes appearance in Xperia Z Ultra teaser video

We saw a couple Sony Xperia Z Ultra teaser videos appear on YouTube shortly after the handset’s announcement late last month. The newest teaser video has been published, and among the showing off of features offered by the massive smartphone is a look at the Smart Bluetooth Headset, as well as an ink pen with the cartridge removed being used as a stylus.

The device is demonstrated as being used for a variety of business purposes, giving us a look at different features offered by it. Among them is the user in the video using what appears to be an ink pen with the cartridge removed – or possibly a mechanical pencil – to write on the screen, something that seems unnecessarily risky, but does demonstrate the device’s use-anything-as-a-stylus functionality. As we mentioned, the Smart Bluetooth headset makes a brief appearance, which you can see for yourself in the video below. Essentially, the device is a thin black rectangle allowing the user to hold it up to his or her ear as they would a handset. This allows one to answer a call without wearing a headset, and to continue using the giant smartphone while on a call. There’s a brief discussion about the “small apps,” with the calculator being used as an example in the video. The small app, which does not take up the entire screen, hence its name, is pulled up over a note the user is writing, allowing for both note taking and calculations without toggling. There’s also a look at conserving battery life, with a shot of the device being switched into “Stamina” mode, giving it quite a few more hours of life. Because of the Xperia Z Ultra’s size, the keyboard can be changed so that it is in one-handed mode, which is a smaller offering that makes single-hand use easier by the appearance of things. As far as specs go, this massive Sony handset features a Snapdragon 800, as well as an 8MP rear camera, an IP58 rating for dust and water resistance, and 4G LTE connectivity. SOURCE: Android Community Sony Smart Bluetooth headset makes appearance in Xperia Z Ultra teaser video is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? Nintendo confirms Wii Vitality Sensor was nixed due to consistency issues

If the Wii Vitality Sensor escapes your memory, you’re not the only one – it was announced back at E3 in 2009, and has since then seen very little in terms of development, raising speculation that Nintendo had given it the kibosh. Such was confirmed at the company’s 73rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, where the company said that due to inconsistent accuracy among different users it won’t be launched.

The idea behind the Wii Vitality Sensor was intriguing – gamers would place their index finger in the device, allowing for measurement of the player’s heart rate. Further expounding on that, Nintendo’s Iwata stated this would help develop an understanding of “human autonomic nerve functions,” thereby showing the state of tension or relaxation the player was experiencing. Aspects of this functionality were demonstrated to the viewing public, and the company made it known that it was excited about the possibilities of the device. Unfortunately for Nintendo, the problems for it started with mass testing of Vitality that took place within the company. For whatever reason, it was reported, some individuals did not get “expected” readings from the sensor. Though specifics weren’t given on the inconsistent results that happened with the device, Mr. Iwata said: “We wondered if we should commercialize a product which works as expected for 90 people out of 100, but not so for the other 10 people. Though I am sorry that we did not give any specific updates after this product’s initial announcement, I would say that knowing that a product has a problem we should not launch it for the sole reason that we have already announced it.” In addition, the Nintendo boss says that upon further work with the Vitality, it became apparent that the device’s various possible applications were smaller than the company had first estimated. For these reasons, the launch has been slated as “pending,” with Nintendo saying that it could see the light of day in the furture if technology advances to such a degree that its results are accurate for a higher percentage of users. SOURCE: Nintendo Nintendo confirms Wii Vitality Sensor was nixed due to consistency issues is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? Apple celebrates App Stores’ 5th Anniversary

It’s been five years since Apple first launched the App Store, the company this week celebrating the origins of the iOS-tending software vending environment with a bit of a silent wave. You may have seen the “Apple Celebrates 5 Years of the App Store” that’ve been appearing in tubes to the doors of Apple-friendlies: it’s there that you’ll be getting the same information we’ll be running down here. It begins with the launch of the store back on July 10th of 2008, not long after the iPhone was first launched (in June of 2007) and the first 10 million downloads were reached not long after.

From there the App Store downloads grew right alongside the widespread adoption of the iPhone itself, developers deciding they’d get onboard with what would become a rather lucrative enterprise. Just before 2009 rolled around, 100 million downloads were reached – the 500 million downloads mark appeared just 16 days into the year. Things sped up quite quickly from there. It was April 24th, 2009 when Apple announced its first 1 Billion downloads. It was 9 months after the initial launch of the store, and Apple was so proud of the milestone that they decided to send out a prize: $10,000 in iTunes cash to the 1 billionth downloader. This became a tradition with Apple and has been ever since. Fast forward to 2013 and we’ve seen a 40 billion download mark as well as a 50 billion download mark the company was so happy about, they announced it at WWDC 2013. The first few minutes of any major keynote address has held such numbers and high water marks with Apple – and they’ve begun counting side-stores as well. You’ll find Apple’s iTunes U to have reached 1 billion downloads for schools and learning institutions, that system having been in play for approximately a year at the time (February of 2013.) Inside 2013, the App Store is watched by the ravenous fans of the ecosystem with extreme scrutiny. Items like Vanity URLs and Age Recommendations have become newsworthy in and of themselves. The download marks were joined by such milestones as the first 1 million approved apps – this having been met on November 19th of 2012. While Apple has generally focused on the number of live apps – not just an app total – in the app store, the dichotomy of actual living apps and the downloads they’ve spurred brings some instant perspective on a single apps’ reach. Next we’ll see the next big milestone in devices – it was back in 2010 when the first iPad-optimized apps were introduced. Stick around as Apple reaches the next 50 billion downloads as well – any guesses on how long it’ll take for them to hit it? Apple celebrates App Stores’ 5th Anniversary is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? Why Google Could Win the Console Wars

If Google TV taught us anything, it’s that the search giant has some interest in competing in the living room. The company’s platform, which runs on set-top boxes and televisions, is designed to run atop the user’s television service and deliver full interactivity with both that programming and all of the entertainment options available on the Web.

When Google TV was announced years ago, everyone knew that it was an ambitious project. But Google seemed focused on breaking into the living room and succeeding. Now that Google TV has become a loser, rumors are swirling that the search giant is considering jumping into the console market. The device, according to the rumor mill, would possibly run on Android and come with complete access to the games currently available in the Google Play marketplace. And since it’s Google, the rumor mill argues, it might just have a chance at becoming a hot commodity in the gaming market. But I think it could go much further than that. The way I see it, Google might just become the console market’s most dominant force if it launches a console. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Looking at the console market, things are tough. The current generation of devices are losing steam and the Wii U, which should be selling quite well right now, is proving to be a loser. That’s the first good thing for Google. Chances are, an Android-based console would initially appeal to the more casual gamers. And since Nintendo isn’t able to do that any longer, there’s a massive void left for Google and its own console to capitalize. “Google, unlike Microsoft, has been able to look like the good guy” Then there’s the issue of Microsoft. Although the software giant has become less of a threat to the average company, it’s still viewed unfavorably by millions of people around the globe. And Google, unlike Microsoft, has been able to look like the good guy against the evil software company. That’s especially true in certain parts of Asia, where the Xbox 360 has been selling quite poorly over the years. Sales are abysmal in Japan, which is why Microsoft pushed back the country to “tier 2.” And Japan is really the crown jewel in the Asian gaming market. A Google console could pick up the gamers in countries around the world that don’t want to invest in an Xbox for one reason or another. In some cases, it’ll be because of Android. In others, it’ll be all about Microsoft hatred. In still others, it would be the cheaper price on an Android console. Regardless, there’s a good chance Google could win over the gamers that Microsoft cannot. Lastly, I think we need to fully understand the impact Android can have on the console market. It’s an operating system that’s already in use by millions around the globe. And porting games from that platform to a console wouldn’t be all that difficult. Best of all, the platform would launch with thousands of games in its library – a first for the console market. If Google knows what it’s doing, the company will make it easier for gamers to play a title on their Galaxy S4 and then pick it up on their console at home. The company would also provide enough firepower in the console to handle both mobile games and more sophisticated titles that larger developers might want to deliver. And since the console is running on Android, there’s a good chance it’ll be cheaper than its competitors. Sorry, but I don’t see anyway that an Android console wouldn’t succeed. And if it comes from Google, there’s a solid chance that it’ll have an even better chance of dominating the console market. Like it or not, gamer preferences are changing. And now is the time for Google and its Android platform to capitalize. Why Google Could Win the Console Wars is written by Don Reisinger & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? NASA Curiosity Mars rover records timelapse of Phobos moon rising

We’ve seen a lot of neat photos from Mars thanks to NASA’s latest Curiosity rover that’s currently putzing its way around the surface of the red planet. The latest imagery that it has sent back is a rather simple, but neat timelapse video of one of Mars’ moons rising into the Martian sky.

The video is simply a timelapse consisting of 86 photos that were taken by Curiosity’s navigation camera, and they were stitched together to create a 30-second timelapse. The set of photos were taken shortly after Mars’ sunset on June 28. The timelapse video shows the moon rising over the course of about 30 minutes. In the video, you’ll notice how small Phobos appears in the sky, and that’s mostly because it’s just 14 miles in diameter (compared to Earth’s Moon, which is over 2,100 miles in diameter). If you’re wondering about the mysterious ring glow in the video, officials say it’s is an artifact caused by the scattering of light inside the camera. It’s not much to look at, really, since it just looks like another star in the sky, but it’s definitely unique to witness a moon rising on another planet in our solar system. The photos were taken from Gale Crater, which Curiosity arrived to back in August. The rover is expected to be active for at least another year. Curiosity has yet to leave Gale Crater, but NASA plans to take it elsewhere in the future. It’s ultimate destination is the base of the mysterious Mount Sharp, which stands at 3.4 miles high. It’s no Mount Everest, but NASA thinks Mount Sharp holds some secrets that the rover could uncover about possible life on Mars. VIA: Space.com Story Timeline NASA Curiosity rover blasts Mars rock with laser 100 times Lego Mars Curiosity rover set official Mars atmosphere said to have contained oxygen, long before Earth NASA Curiosity takes massive 1.3 billion pixel Mars panorama NASA Curiosity Mars rover records timelapse of Phobos moon rising is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Is It true? HP Slate 7 price drop slides well below Nexus 7 competitor

It’s no small matter when an everyman device like a 7-inch tablet with a small base cost appears from a major manufacturer – especially when they then lower that price just after it’s been released to the market. This has indeed happened with the HP Slate 7 in both of its configurations in what must be seen as either a reaction to so-so reviews on the web in its initial drive or continued opposition from those that would rather pick up the machines biggest competitor: the ASUS-made Google Nexus 7.

When you see the HP Slate 7, it’s difficult not to confuse it for the ASUS-made tablet of essentially the same size. Both devices have innards and a display that are exceedingly similar, while the Slate 7 offers oddities such as a gray or red back panel where the Nexus machine just comes in black. The HP machine also comes in a smaller size than the Nexus 7 – taking the place of the no-longer-available 8GB edition of the tablet with its own machine of the same size. Here in a grab at lowest-possible-price-point, HP appears to be willing to push their costs down 17.6 and 15 percent respectively for the 8GB and 16GB models they’ve got on the market today. The 8GB edition of the HP Slate 7 therefor rings in at $139.99 while the 16GB version aims at $169.99. Meanwhile the Nexus 7 will cost you $199 USD as a base cost, starting with the 16GB edition. There’s also a set of 32GB editions of the machine available for $249 and $299, depending on configuration. It should be made clear that while the HP Slate 7 works with a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with 1GB of RAM, the Google Nexus 7 employs a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with 4-PLUS-1 technology (that meaning you’ve got an extra core in there for low-power tasks). We’ve had a bit more success with using the Nexus 7 for all activities (save back-facing camera action of course) than the HP thus far. VIA: Android Community HP Slate 7 price drop slides well below Nexus 7 competitor is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 – 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.