World Tech Update, March 8, 2012

Coming up on World Tech Update this week Apple introduces its new iPad, Google Play debuts, solar flares threaten to disrupt global communication, the Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera win awards at the Geneva Motor Show, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner stops in Boston and flying robots play the James Bond theme.

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. I'm Nick Barber. We hope you enjoyed our coverage from Mobile World Congress last week.

So the rumors have finally been put to end, Apple's new iPad was announced this week in San Francisco and has a number of upgrades over its predecessor. It has a retina display, quad core processor, support for LTE, long battery life and starts at the same prices as the old models.


Apple said the upgraded A-five-X processor allows for better graphics display and to prove it, brought three app developers to the stage to demo their products on the iPad.


Nat game “Oh here we go”

The new iPad is available for pre-order now and ships March 16. Prices start at 500 dollars.

Google has rebranded it's Android Market as Google Play. The listings for apps, movies, music and books look nearly the same as they did before, but with a new domain name and logo. For Google, the branding change is understandable. To compete with Apple's iTunes, Google has slowly built up its own storefronts for music, books and movies, but until now advertised them as being part of the Android Market.



The sun erupted with the second largest solar flare in a year, expelling co-RONE-al mass ejections that are traveling to the earth at more than 600 miles a second. So what's this mean for us? For one the northern lights or aurora borealis will be especially bright. In the US people as far south as the Great Lakes region might be able to see the light show. For others it could be disruption in GPS and other satellite signals and interference with high frequency radio communication. The activity is especially high at the poles and some transcontinental flights may need to be rerouted. The increase in solar flares is normal for the sun. It's part of its 11 year solar cycle which will peak in late 2013.

Cebit, billed as the world's largest IT trade show was going on this week in Hanover, Germany. It kicked off with a visit from European Commission VP Neelie Kroes. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt also keynoted ironically on the theme managing trust, which has been a recurring issue between Google and the German people. We'll have some robots for you from the show next week so stay tuned for that.

General Motors won big at the Geneva Motor Show with its Opel Ampera and Chevy Volt sharing first place.  The two models were chosen for their technical innovation and for reshaping the future of the electric car. These cars switch from a lithium-ion battery to combustion-engine once the battery is depleted, which takes about 80 kilometers. Charging the Volt's battery for a year would cost about 720 Euros or about 950 dollars.

“It’s approximately two Euros every time you want to charge it … Volt”

The cars are currently available in the US and Europe.


Boeing showed off its newest aircraft it's 787 Dreamliner here in Boston over the weekend. The Dreamliner is smaller than Boeing’s triple seven, used on most long haul flights today, but offers a number of upgrades. It’s cabin is pressurized to 6,000 feet, which is two thousand feet less than most commercial airliners today. The air is humidified and filtered to remove odors. Boeing said those improvements help passengers arrive less fatigued. The windows are large and can be electronically dimmed from opaque to transparent. That means passengers can still watch the sunrise without the overpowering glare In the cockpit pilots have a heads up display that give them information throughout the flight, but could also help with landings and takeoffs. The plane can fly for more than 20 continuous hours, which means it can reach just about any destination on the globe nonstop. The 787 has been in commercial service since October 2011, when it first flew with Japan-based All Nippon Airways.


Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made flying robots that can play the James Bond theme. The room was fitted with infrared lights and a camera and the seven flyers were directed using a plotting system and assigned waypoints. Let's take a listen.

Well that's our show for this week. Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. To find out what's coming up on ever week's show be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. As we head out this week we'll leave you with some more shots of the 787 Dreamliner. I'm Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to see you next week.




Produced by

IDG News Service

Nick Barber



IDG News Service

Nick Barber

Kerry Davis

Kirsten Taggart



IDG News Service


University of Pennsylvania

European Commission


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