Weekend news roundup: Apple, crime mapped online, EV batteries and teched-up toys

27 Feb 2012

A roundup of technology news coverage in some of the weekend’s newspapers.

Apple Germany disables push email service in patent dispute with Motorola

Apple says it has disabled the push email function for its mobile devices in Germany in an ongoing patent dispute with Motorola, The Washington Post reported.

Customers using MobileMe and iCloud email will be affected by the disabled push service, Apple said, adding that those customers can still receive email by using other settings.

A Mannheim court ruled earlier this month that Apple had infringed upon a Motorola patent on push email technology.

Apple says it believes its patent is valid and is appealing the decision.

Classic toys getting teched-up for today’s kids

The New York Times reports that classic toys are getting upgraded with technology to appeal to today’s tech-obsessed kids.

Tech-savvy kids of today have influenced toy manufacturers, it appears. Monopoly money can now be counted by a tablet computer. and Hot Wheels cars can zoom across iPad screens. Barbie, too, has become a digital camera.

“We know that kids are going to play with technology, with iPhones and iPads and Android devices,” said Chuck Scothon, senior vice-president for marketing for Mattel’s North America division. “Our job is to not necessarily avoid that, but if you can’t fix it, feature it.”

Crimes in parks and shops revealed on new website

Some of Britain’s best-known concert venues, tourist attractions and upmarket shops have emerged as unlikely crime hotspots on a new online map, The Telegraph reported.

The Home Office’s crime mapping service, which originally showed incidents in groups of streets, now shows “points of interest” including many visitor attractions.

It lists 66,204 crimes reportedly committed at 37,666 locations in England and Wales during December 2011, from parks and theatres to airports and motorway service stations.

But many companies dispute the figures, claiming they include crimes that took place elsewhere, while they may cause some cautious tourists to conclude that their planned day trip is too dangerous.

Deputy Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, lead on Crime Information for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the information shouldn’t stop people from enjoying a day out. “It should simply act as a reminder for the public to be aware of their surroundings and to keep their belongings close and safe at all times.”

A big breakthrough for electric vehicle batteries

For years, the electric vehicle industry has been eager to build a better electric car battery: one that extends range while having a longer overall life, is affordable, quick-charging and safe. Now it may be happening, The San Jose Mercury News reported.

Start-up company Envia Systems plans to announce today it has achieved a milestone: a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with an “energy density” of 400 watt-hours per kilogram, the highest energy density known to be recorded.

When commercialised, Envia says the 400 wh/kg battery, with a range of 482 kilometres and a cost of about US$25,000, will cut the price of electric vehicles and make them more affordable for mainstream consumers.

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