Tech Biz Roundup: Apple’s HUGE News, A123 Systems DISRUPTS

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) replaced Google Maps (NASDAQ:GOOG) with its own mapping tech, which boasts 3D models of cities plus turn-by-turn navigation, and has now inked a global mapping-data contract with TomTom (TMOAF.PK) with terms unreported. Also on Monday, Apple released several iOS features that specifically target Chinese users, that include the integration of Sina’s (NASDAQ:SINA) Weibo and merging video sites Youku (NYSE:YOKU) and Tudou (NASDAQ:TUDO), plus Chinese-language support for Siri. The anticipated addition of Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) search was also included. Apple’s sales in China have increased by a factor of 3, year-to-year in the first quarter to $7.9 billion, and comprised 20 percent of its sales.

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A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) shares move sharply up, following the firm’s intro of a “breakthrough” lithium ion battery which optimizes performance in extreme temperatures. Electric vehicles will greatly benefit from the technology, which will cut the need for their systems to keep a constant battery temperature, and the nanophosphate EXT cells that will facilitate this begin production in 2013. Estimates are that this development could cut the cost of the vehicles’ battery packs by 10 to 20 percent, and could supplant lead-acid batteries in conventional cars. However, some observers say that short-covering might be pushing the shares’ rally, along with hopes that the tech breakthrough will allow A123 to avoid bankruptcy.

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