Blink’s Outdoor Security Camera is solid, but the last-gen XT2 was better


I like the $100 Blink Outdoor and recommend it if you don’t already have a Blink system — and if you’re looking for a reliable, versatile outdoor camera with a long-lasting battery that doesn’t cost a fortune. That said, the last-gen Blink XT2 also cost $100 and had free cloud storage, unlike the new Blink Outdoor, which is moving over to Amazon’s Ring camera cloud model via a new Blink Subscription Plan. 


  • The one-camera kit costs $100

Don’t Like

  • You have to pay for cloud storage

Customers do get a free trial of the Blink Subscription Plan through 2020, but after that, you have to decide if you want to only receive alerts and view the live feed — or if you’re fine forking over the cloud service fee to review saved clips, which will start at $3 per month. Blink has also said that existing customers with Blink accounts that were created on or before April 15, 2020 will continue to receive free cloud storage on the Blink Outdoor, Indoor and Mini cameras.  

Read more: More companies should offer free cloud storage (commentary)

The camera

The Blink Outdoor one-camera kit includes a Blink Outdoor security camera, two AA lithium batteries, a Blink Sync Module 2, charging cables and mounting hardware. A Sync Module is required for the Blink Outdoor camera to work; Blink says the module helps extend the camera’s Wi-Fi range and improves its battery life. 

If you already have a last-gen Blink system, your old Sync Module will work with the Blink Outdoor; standalone Blink Outdoor cameras cost $90. 

This Blink Outdoor is very similar to the Blink XT2, a model I’ve been testing for over a year to see how long its promised two-year batteries really lasts (so far, we’re at one year, three

The role of solid state chemistry in the development of metal-ion batteries


The role of solid state chemistry in the development of metal-ion batteries
Credit: Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology

Professors from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST), Lomonosov Moscow State University and College de France shared their vision on the importance of solid state chemistry in advancements currently awaited from contemporary and prospective metal-ion batteries. The opinion was contributed as an invited review to Nature Communications.

Metal-ion batteries are the main drivers enabling a smooth transfer to renewables and green energy for a sustainable planet. The artfully designed electrode materials have greatly contributed to the development of high-performance Li-ion batteries that was eventually hallmarked by the 2019 Nobel Prize, which had signified the role solid state chemistry. Targeted design of novel metal-ion battery materials to bring the technology to the next level clearly stands as a great challenge for today’s chemistry community.

The individual properties of atoms and ions encoded in the Periodic Table along with the fundamental trends and principles multiplied by further levels of complexity constitute multitude of possible combinations for scientists to find new battery electrodes. Obviously, the researchers need solid guidelines while searching through this huge parameter space for the best chemical combinations and structures.

The review published in Nature Communications summarizes and explains the fundamental chemical principles and recipes and discusses the recent achievements made in the design of electrode materials and solid electrolytes by manifesting the interplay between chemical composition, crystal and electronic structure and electrochemical properties. The authors emphasized the crucial role of advanced methods: diffraction, imaging and spectroscopic characterization techniques coupled with solid state chemistry approaches for improving battery materials opening emergent directions for further studies.

Professor Stanislav Fedotov says, “In the near prospect, we foresee more essential discoveries of functional materials enabled by solid state chemistry. All students and researchers who are eager to contribute to the development of

While the German Smartphone Market Plunged 27% in Q2 due to COVID-19, Apple and Xiaomi bucked the Trend with Solid Growth



Germany smartphone sales saw a big fall of 27% in Q2 2020 compared to a year ago. Europe’s largest economy went into a nationwide lockdown in mid-March in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. But this drastic measure ended up pushing the economy into a recession in the second quarter. The nation’s GDP decreased sharply to 10.1% while consumer spending shrank by 10.9%. Smartphone market tumbled due to closures of almost all physical shops and many consumers putting off their next smartphone purchase due to the prevailing economic uncertainty.


Apple saw growth with an increase in share to 23% from 16% a year ago. Apple’s growth in the second quarter was due to strong demand for the new iPhone SE 2020.


The affordable iPhone with new hardware caters to more price-conscious buyers amid a COVID-19-driven recession.


2 X chart  Germany smartphone market by brand


As Huawei begins to lose ground in Germany, Xiaomi is taking up the slack. In terms of sales figures, the Chinese company reported nearly a 250% jump compared to a year ago. Xiaomi’s best-selling model was the Mi 10 5G, priced at $700. Xiaomi also undertook aggressive marketing in Germany by opening its first Mi Store despite the pandemic situation.


Apple’s iPhone SE was the right product and the right time. Not only did it help Apple in Germany in Q2 but also in South Korea where it became the best selling smartphone. 


10.0F1 - Apple Market Statistics Bar

Source Article

Oppo Watch review: Late to the party, but a solid debut from smartphone newcomer


The good

The Oppo looks, well, like a smartwatch. The polished, black glass screen and rubber band are simple, sleek and refined. Call it uninspired if you will, but there isn’t much wriggle room to defy expectations in smartwatch design aesthetics.

As far as the profile goes, I actually quite liked the size and shape. It didn’t feel bulky on my wrist, was wearable throughout the day, and I found myself using it as I would a regular watch: to check the time. 

Android’s WearOS software makes using the Oppo Watch intuitive and straightforward, with no additional bells and whistles. In short, the software is about as groundbreaking as the design. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel.

Switching between apps is easy and responding to text and Facebook messages using the handy voice input was fun, even if it made me look like Inspector Gadget. 

Be warned, though, talking into the watch will likely earn you some bewildered looks from those around you.

When it comes to hardware, the Oppo Watch falls in the middle of the pack compared to the likes of the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. It won’t struggle for lack of grunt, being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip and 1GB RAM; but as far as expectations go, how powerful does a smartwatch really need to be anyway?

Whatever the case, the Oppo Watch does the trick nicely.

Oppo’s flash charging technology means a quick charge during your morning shower is more than enough juice for the rest of the day. More on the battery later, though.

The bad

Considering a smartwatch is just a clued-up Tamagotchi, how many ways are there for a smartwatch to go wrong?

For the Oppo Watch, not a lot.

Firstly, the larger, pricier 46mm model is waterproof up

Stocks post solid gains as technology shares lead rally


Stocks shook off another bout of volatile trading and finished solidly higher Friday, led by gains in technology and healthcare companies. Despite the rally, the S&P 500 still posted its fourth straight weekly loss, extending Wall Street’s September swoon.

The S&P 500 rose 1.6% after flip-flopping between small gains and losses a few times in the early going. Stocks have been erratic this month, with indexes setting new highs to start the month and then falling sharply as investors worried that values for some of technology giants had risen too high.

The benchmark index ended the week with a 0.6% loss for its first four-week losing streak in more than a year. The index is now down 5.8% for September, following five straight months of gains.

The S&P 500 came within striking distance of a 10% drop from its all-time high earlier this week, what Wall Street calls a correction. Friday’s gains reflect, in part, traders taking advantage of the selling to snap up stocks at lower prices, said David Lyon, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

“You’re getting a market that got close to a 10% correction, so you’re starting to see buyers step in to buy the dip,” Lyon said.

Fund managers also tend to make moves toward the end of a quarter to bolster their portfolios, another reason for the end-of-the-week buying spree, he said.

The S&P 500 rose 51.87 points to 3,298.46. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 358.52 points, or 1.3%, to 27,173.96. The Nasdaq composite climbed 241.30 points, or 2.3%, to 10,913.56.

Smaller stocks also notched gains. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 23.09 points, or 1.6%, to 1,474.91.

Stocks have struggled this month amid a long list of concerns. Chief among them is that stocks may have gotten