Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

ASUS dual-camera phone teases optical zoom

ASUS dual-camera phone teases optical zoom

ASUS may not be the first name you associate with either smartphones or photography, but the company could change all that with a new handset featuring an optical zoom. Teasing for the new phone began last month, most notably flashing a curious dual-lens camera on the back. While some speculated that it could be a return of 3D mobile photography - something consumers rarely warmed to - a new teaser indicates it's something far more unusual, with ASUS seemingly managing to squeeze an optical zoom system into its smartphone form-factor.

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Apple iBeacon puck detailed – but who is it for?

Apple iBeacon puck detailed – but who is it for?

Fresh details about Apple's mysterious iBeacon hardware, spotted crossing the FCC's test-bench last year, have emerged, suggesting the Cupertino firm could use it to encourage developers to adopt the micro-location system. Signs of the Apple iBeacon (A1573) first surfaced in mid-July, a battery-powered Bluetooth puck that would transmit location details to a nearby iOS device, allowing apps and services to understand the user's position with far greater accuracy than GPS or WiFi positioning would commonly allow. Now, thanks to the user manual and testing photos for the iBeacon becoming available, we know a little more about what Apple might have in mind for the gadget.

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Here’s how Sony will apologize for PlayStation downtime

Here’s how Sony will apologize for PlayStation downtime

Sony is hoping to pacify PlayStation gamers frustrated by the PSN downtime over the holidays, apologizing for the gaming network being offline, and offering free service and cheaper games as a mea culpa. Having seen the PlayStation Network brought down by hacking group Lizard Squad on Christmas Day, and then taken several days to bring it back to life afterwards, Sony is automatically adding five days of PlayStation Plus service to all subscribers or trial users impacted on December 25th. Meanwhile, there'll be a discount on games sometime this month, though it's unclear whether PS3 and PS4 owners will be suitably placated by it.

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SlashGear’s Best Tech of 2014

SlashGear’s Best Tech of 2014

Twelve months, thousands upon thousands of gadgets, and we're about to start it all over again. 2014 draws to a close with a bumper crop of technology under our belts, so before we head through into the new year and the very latest and greatest that the consumer electronics industry thinks we should hemorrhage our wallets to acquire, it only seems right to take a look back through the products that have most impressed us. Tablets, smartphones, odd camera accessories, and more, all wrapped up in the SlashGear team's pick of the best tech of 2014.

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Tesla “solid metal snake” robo-charger in works

Tesla “solid metal snake” robo-charger in works

Tesla is working on a robotic charging system which will automatically plug in its electric cars like the Model S, described by CEO Elon Musk as "a solid metal snake." The intelligent charger would presumably be positioned as a way to bypass one of the lingering frustrations around EVs, namely that drivers have to remember to plug them in. While Musk gave no timescale for the robo-charger's release, he did confirm that it would work not only with future models but all existing Tesla cars.

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BlackBerry the surprising savior for hacked Sony

BlackBerry the surprising savior for hacked Sony

A drawer of old BlackBerry phones unexpectedly helped keep Sony Pictures working, with staff resurrecting cast-aside tech and old-school methods to keep the hacked movie firm operational. Finding their own systems had been brought down by the hacking group known as "Guardians of Peace", Sony Pictures techs turned instead to BlackBerry's external servers, two new background pieces on the chronology of the cyberattack reveal, which kept email services running despite three-quarters of Sony's own servers having been destroyed.

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LG outs 21:9 UltraWide 4K curved displays

LG outs 21:9 UltraWide 4K curved displays

LG already showed us its 4K Ultra HD TV range for CES 2015, and now it's the turn of some eye-catching monitors to get a shot at the limelight. The trio of unusual, 21:9 UltraWide displays are targeting gamers, graphics designers, and even financial traders, with a variety of curved form-factors and stacked stands; they're also joined by a fourth screen, promising greater-than-Ultra-HD resolution that, while a little short on an iMac with Retina Display, still edges ahead of most 4K panels out there.

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Tesla P85D to get 155mph unlock as range explained

Tesla P85D to get 155mph unlock as range explained

Tesla will push out a firmware update for the Model S P85D and 85D dual-motor EVs in the new year which will boost the top speed to 155 mph and tweak the torque, while also addressing lingering confusion over range of the new cars. At launch, and like all other Model S versions until now, the P85D and 85D are electronically limited to 130 mph, but Tesla will nudge that cap higher and in the process match the limiter commonly found on most high-end sedans. However, while early reports suggested dual-motor drivers would in fact see improved range over the RWD cars, it turns out the reality is not quite so clear-cut.

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NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

One of NASA's Martian rovers is facing the indignities of old age, with the hard-working explorer suffering robot amnesia that has led to data loss and even persistent system crashes. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has put in more than a decade of overtime on the red planet, well-exceeding the initial project goals. However, vital components like the flash memory used to store mission data are feeling their age, forcing NASA to think creatively to stop the rover from forgetting entirely why it's on Mars and blacking out completely.

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FBI gives Sony hack theories audience but no credence

FBI gives Sony hack theories audience but no credence

The FBI may be convinced that the Sony hack was the handiwork of North Korea, but not everyone is convinced, with private investigators briefing US security agencies on alternative explanations for the breach. Security firm Norse has joined a growing chorus of those who doubt the official account, describing the speedy assignment of blame on the secretive foreign state as a warning signal that a conclusion might have been rushed. While the FBI still insists Sony was the victim of a North Korea-led attack, it's nonetheless been open to hearing other viewpoints, Norse says.

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