Project Loon, Oracle security, Samsung profits - The Wrap

IDG News Service | Oct 29, 2015

Project Loon takes off in Indonesia, Oracle touts new security measures embedded in silicon and a balloon will take you to the edge of space for a price.

Oracle promises better security and a balloon reaches for space.

Here's your tech top three and what you need to know this week.

Alphabet plans to bring the internet to 100 million people in Indonesia using its high flying balloons called Project Loon. The company is in talks with the country's top three mobile operators and they've agreed to test the balloon powered LTE connections over Indonesia next year. The balloons will be used to fill coverage gaps and they'll be particularly helpful in Indonesia which is a chain of 17,000 islands with jungles and mountains.

Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison is hoping better security can help his company sell products. Pointing to a data breach that exposed 20 million US government personnel records, he said while the industry has lost a lot of battles, it hasn't lost the war. Oracle servers are based on new microprocessors the Sparc M7 which has security embedded to the silicon itself. Ellison said that silicon secured memory would have uncovered the recent Heartbleed bug and stopped it in real time.

Despite intense competition in the smartphone market, Samsung Electronics reported a profit last quarter driven by demand for its chips and displays. Net profit was up 29 percent. Another key driver was the fact that is sped up the launch of its flagship Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge plus to try and get an edge on rival Apple. That worked so it has some speculating that Samsung's next flagship will come early in January.

In focus this week we take a look at a passenger balloon that wants to take you into space, sort of. World View launched a 1/10th scale model of its flight capsule under a huge balloon that traveled to 100,000 feet. It's the first time the service has been tested on this scale. Once at altitude would be passengers could see the curvature of the planet, the blackness of space and sunrise over Earth. The system then detached from the balloon and started a controlled descent using a proprietary parafoil, which is like a steerable parachute. This system was only a model and World View wants to do a full scale test later this year into 2016. The company hopes to begin commercial flights in 2017 and these tests are paving the way. They won't be cheap though at 75,000 dollars a ticket for the one to two hour ride. Don't get too excited either, you won't be able to experience weightlessness because you won't be in space. That starts around 100 kilometers, about 3 times the height of these balloon flights. Still, World View could take you more than twice as high as commercial aircraft. Other companies like Virgin Galactic want to take passengers into space using complex rocket technology, but tickets for that trip are considerably more expensive at 250,000 per flight.

I'm Nick Barber and that's a wrap.