AllSeen Alliance nabs Bosch and Revolv as members

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The steady drip of new members to the AllSeen Alliance continues. Industrial sensor and consumer appliance maker Bosch, Cloud of Things, home hub maker Revolv and building management service Shaspa have joined the effort to promote the open source AllJoyn protocol as a standard for the internet of things. Adding Bosch is significant because it brings another large appliance brand to existing members LG, Sears and Panasonic, and the addition of Revolv is also interesting since the common thinking is a protocol like AllJoyn might one day replace hubs. For more on the Alliance, check out the recent podcast I did with Liat Ben-Zur, the head of the Alliance.

Stealthy eIQ Raises $10M, Launches Solar Power Optimizer

eIQimageMost solar panels are strung together like Christmas tree lights, so that if one panel stops working, performs poorly or ends up in the shade, the whole string is affected. To address this problem, 2-year-old startup eIQ Energy came out of stealth mode Monday night and announced it has raised $10 million in funding from NGEN Partners and Robert Bosch Venture Capital, for a system that helps connect solar panels in parallel instead of in a series. The San Jose, Calif.-based company says its Parallux system can make solar systems both cheaper to install and more efficient.
The system connects each individual panel to a high-voltage DC-to-DC power converter, which harvests the electricity from each panel and turns it into the ideal voltage for the inverter. An inverter (used for all solar systems) then converts the DC power into AC power used by household appliances more efficiently and more reliably. CEO Oliver Janssen tells us that this architecture can maximize the power from each panel and boost the total energy harvested by 5-30 percent.
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Apple’s Marketing and Sales Teams May Need an Update

In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I like the new iPod shuffle. So much so that I ordered one (in black) the day they were announced.

I bought it online since shipping and engraving are free. I lose the instant gratification of the Apple Store, but I gain the personalization of engraving. (Though I admit it was challenging to come up with an engraving because there’s a small limit on letters.) Shortly after ordering, I got a confirmation email saying it would ship in three to five business days. So far, so good, now all I can do is wait. Read More about Apple’s Marketing and Sales Teams May Need an Update

Nano 1.0 Still MIA, But Tata’s in Talks for a Micro-Hybrid

startstop-boschTata Motors wants to build a micro-hybrid version of the Tata Nano, the $2,500 “people’s car” unveiled last year and slated (for now) to enter production in 2009. While the Indian auto giant has encountered a series of delays for the Nano — most of them tied to disputes over land slated for factory construction — it has entered talks with German auto parts manufacturer Bosch to supply micro-hybrid, or start-stop, systems, India’s CNBC-TV18 reports.

Micro-hybrids are not true hybrid fuel systems, but Bosch says its technology can boost in-town fuel economy by up to 8 percent: Gasoline alone propels the vehicle, but the engine shuts down when it’s at rest. Electricity from the battery instantly restarts the engine when the driver hits the accelerator.

Two years ago, Bosch forecast that start-stop technology would appear in 1 out of every 5 cars by 2015. So far, BMW, Mini, Fiat, and Kia have come on board. While the system represents a relatively inexpensive add-on, it would add up to 6,000 rupee, or about $125 to the the price tag for the Nano — not insignificant for a car whose chief selling point is affordability. If Tata can ramp to the 100,000 annual production it originally envisioned for the Nano, the deal could be a good score for Bosch. Like Tata, the company has idled factories in recent months in response to slumping global demand.

The Daily Sprout

Q&A with Paul Holland of Foundation Capital: Holland says that “we’re entering the second inning of the clean-tech investing game.” So who’s batting cleanup? – San Jose Mercury News.

Barclays Invests in Mainstream Renewable Power: The U.K. bank led a €40 million ($60 million) equity fund raising round for Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power, investing €20 million of its own capital, taking a 14.6 percent stake in Mainstream – Cleantech Group.

Metabolix Growing Plastic: Bioplastics company Metabolix says it has spliced plastic-making genes into switchgrass, allowing it to grow the grass and then harvest the plastic while making the leftover biomass into energy. The company says the process could be commercialized by 2012 – CNet.

California Considering Landmark Emissions Planning Bill: California Senate Bill 375 proposes linking greenhouse gas reduction goals with regional land use planning, a crucial connection if the state is to achieve the lofty goals of AB 32. SB 375 is gaining momentum and heading to the Assembly floor for debate – ClimateIntel.

Bosch Investing Big in Electric Vehicles: The German automotive supplier Bosch is investing heavily in electric vehicle technologies, including $400 million in a joint venture with Samsung to develop lithium ion batteries. Bosch says they expect the internal combustion engine to fade out over the next two decades – Autoblog Green.

CatGenie Wishes Its Litter Box Were Green: In case you were worried about the environmental impact that little Whisker’s scat is having on your local landfill, the CatGenie has an unbelievably complicated solution for you. The automated litter box washes, purifies, rotates, scrubs, dissolves, sifts, aerates, dries and flushes your kitty’s little presents – CatGenie.

Yoga concept Tablet PC: downward dog computing?

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Looks like Lenovo took the sleek and sexy Motorola RAZR concept and mashed up with with usability of a Tablet PC with the Yogo concept. Thin and light is definitely in and if you look at how thick the device is compared to the visible VGA-out and USB ports, you’ll see there isn’t much to the Yoga design. The screen is attached by leather hinges and can be opened a full 180-degrees, making this idea good for eBook reading as well as digital note-taking. The keyboard detaches completely, so I’d assume some kind of Bluetooth (or should I say Wibree) wireless connectivity. The thinness of such a concept could conicide nicely with Intel’s announcements of smaller, more energy efficient chips at IDF, so the design might not be that far fetched.

In any case, Yoga is too difficult for me to do, so I’m going to hit the jump rope while I wait and see if this concept ever takes root. Meantime, I’m kicking around ideas to pitch for other Tablet PC OEMs. I’m thinking of the HP Pilates PC and the Toshiba Tai Chi Tablet. Got any others?