FAA's Samsung Galaxy Note7 Flight Ban Poses Challenges for Travelers

Today's topics include the Federal Aviation Administration's ban of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 on all airline flights in the U.S., Google and Rackspace's new Power9-based server specifications and Facebook's new app that lets users stream news feed video from their computers to televisions.

Repeated reports of rechargeable battery fires and even explosions in Samsung's Galaxy Note7 big-screen smartphones prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ban the devices from all airline flights in the United States. The ban comes after the Note7 batteries displayed a propensity to overheat or even catch fire without warning.

The problem reportedly persisted in replacement models that supposedly had been improved to eliminate overheating. Travelers with the discontinued smartphone will need to replace their handsets pre-trip or leave their devices behind when traveling. The defective and non-removable lithium-ion batteries, responsible for more than 100 fires and explosions thus far, have been on the market since August.

Google and cloud storage company Rackspace are collaborating on the specification for the Zaius P9 data center server that's based on IBM's Power9 microprocessor and the Open Compute Project's Open Server specifications. The goal of this server specification effort is to develop servers and bus architectures based on IBM's Power architecture that would be more capable of keeping up with microprocessor, memory and storage technology advances.

Many of the new features and design aspects of the Zaius are new to Google, but it's still designed to meet the needs of a broad set of users within the Open Compute Project community, which advocates for efficiency, flexibility and scalability in data center hardware.

While Note7 recalls are troubling Samsung, the company has announced that it's started mass production of its 10-nanometer chips for use in devices starting in 2017. It's possible the chip might be a defining feature of the Galaxy 8 smartphone. This marks a big leap for Samsung, as the first chip maker to reach this particular chip design milestone, although other vendors like Intel and Qualcomm are making strides in the same direction.

The new chip delivers an enhanced 3D transistor structure that provides chip efficiency and performance improvements. Samsung asserts the chips will deliver 27 percent better performance and 40 percent lower power consumption in a smaller space.

Facebook has been omnipresent on smartphone and tablet devices for years, but now it's introducing a new iOS app that is giving the social network new life on a larger scale. Similar to Google and Apple's video clip streaming technology including Chromecast, Apple TV and Airplay, Facebook users can now stream videos to a TV from a browser or iOS devices. Notably, the update gives Facebook a new dimension for advertising. Users should expect pre-roll ads capitalizing on larger screens, higher resolution and increased viewing times.

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