World Tech Update: Samsung's new phone, Net neutrality rules, fire-fighting robot

InfoWorld | Feb 6, 2015

Samsung preps for the launch of a new smartphone, the FCC proposes new Net neutrality rules, and a robot could help the Navy fight fires

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update, I'm Nick Barber. We'll start with Samsung which is expected to debut a new curved flagship smartphone early next month in Barcelona. This is the invitation for an event that will be held on March 1 where we expect to see the Galaxy S6 Edge, a phone that will have a curved screen that wraps around one or both sides of the device. The first model of the phone debuted in September 2014 at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. This launch comes at a tough time for the electronics giant. While the overall smartphone market grew, Samsung's unit sales dropped. Its seeing increased competition from Apple whose iPhone 6 pushed the company closer than ever to the top of the smartphone market. In Barcelona, eyes won't just be on Samsung though as HTC, Sony and Huawei are all expected to also debut flagship devices.

The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission has proposed net neutrality rules based on reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility. Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic regardless of where it is coming from or going to is treated with the same speed and priority. The rules would reverse a long standing agency practice of treating broadband as a lightly regulated information service. Chairman Tom Wheeler's decision reflects a major evolution in the way he sees net neutrality rules. Broadband providers have all but promised they would challenge the rules in court. The commission will vote on February 26.

The Sony Pictures hack last year will cost the company an estimated 35 million dollars. The FBI held North Korea responsible for the cyberattack, which came ahead of the planned release Sony comedy about a plot to assassinate the country's dictator, Kim Jong Un. Sony said the 35 million dollars covers costs such as those associated with restoring company financial and IT systems.

Has Dell created a Macbook Air Killer? It's over to PC World for a quick look at the new laptop.

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A NASA satellite that will take key measurements of water on our planet launched from California over the weekend. The SMAP or Soil Moisture Active Passive observatory will take the pulse of how freshwater cycles over Earth's land surfaces. It will provide the most accurate global maps ever obtained from space focusing on the moisture present in the top 2 inches of our planet's soils.

The company that powers your smartphones and tablets has introduced a new chip design that's 3 and a half times more powerful than the one widely used in gadgets today. ARM's Cortex A72 will find its way into devices later this year. One of the reasons for ARM's success is because its CPU designs consume very little power. The A72 will use even less.
SOT
Noel Hurley
GM, CPU Group, ARM

The new ARM design will support streaming 4K video on the go at 120-frames-per-second.

The US Navy has a robot that will be able to help fight fires on ships. Safer is a nearly 6 foot tall humanoid that aboard the Navy's fire test ship was able to walk across uneven floors, use thermal imaging cameras and operate hose.

John Farley
Naval Research Laboratory
If we have a ship on fire, we have to quickly get it under control and then regain the ship’s ability to maintain its fighting mission.
We have a lot of flammable systems on board....

SAFFiR is powered by batteries and all its motors are electrical. Right now, it can operate for about 30 minutes on one battery. The Navy wants to develop a more advanced design of the robot as part of a long-term research program.