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.

SmartThings joins Z-Wave board as IoT gets strategic

SmartThings joins Z-Wave board as IoT gets strategic

Samsung's infiltration into the Internet of Things continues, with SmartThings - its recently-acquired home automation platform - now grabbing a spot on the Z-Wave Alliance board of directors. Z-Wave is one of the lingering wireless standards that still prevails among smart home devices, connecting things like remotely-controlled outlets, lamps, and thermostats, though while popular has nonetheless failed to dominate and thus unify the interconnectivity between automation devices. Given that SmartThings has proved that the smart home is worthy of big money, Z-Wave is now hoping some of that shine rubs off on it.

Continue Reading

Swatch smartwatch in 2-3 months with big battery boast

Swatch smartwatch in 2-3 months with big battery boast

Swatch plans to launch a smartwatch in the next three months, focusing on battery life and mobile payments as the company readies its retort to wrist-worn rivals like Apple Watch. The watch firm, known for its affordable, plastic, and fashionable models, will release a smartwatch that is connected "without having to be charged," according to CEO Nick Hayek, and is intended to work with Android and Windows, though there's no mention of Apple's iOS. The company - part of the Swatch Group which also owns high-end brands like Glashütte, Omega, and Rado - has been cautious on smart wearables in the past, though has quietly been building up its tech portfolio to suit the segment.

Continue Reading

Paper goes free as FiftyThree pushes Pencil for iPad art

Paper goes free as FiftyThree pushes Pencil for iPad art

Popular iPad art app Paper is dropping its in-app purchases and making all its add-on tools free, in the hope that sales of its Pencil stylus make up any shortfall along the way. Paper, which was Apple's iPad app of the year back in 2012, previously charged $0.99 apiece for each of the Sketch, Outline, Write, Color, and Mixer tools that could be added to the default Draw tools, but now each can be downloaded free as soon as you open the app. In return, app maker FiftyThree is focusing on its Pencil stylus, which although resembling a simple slip of wood or metal, actually contains some significant wireless smarts.

Continue Reading

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 focuses on rugged selfies

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 focuses on rugged selfies

Olympus has a taste for rugged little action cameras, and the Stylus Tough TG-860 looks set to continue that legacy, focusing particularly on selfie-obsessed explorers. Wrapping a 16-megapixel sensor with 5x optical zoom and ultra wide-angle 21mm lens in a metal body that's waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof, and dustproof, it can also be squeezed inside an underwater case to take down to depths of up to 147 feet.

Continue Reading

Olympus E-M5 Mark II adds 5-axis OIS and 40MP mode

Olympus E-M5 Mark II adds 5-axis OIS and 40MP mode

Olympus has taken one of its most popular interchangeable lens cameras back to the lab, revamped it, and returned with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Toting a 16-megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, HD video recording, and integrated WiFi, the new version builds on the success of the original E-M5, with features like a 40-megapixel shot mode that combines multiple frames for extra detail, up to 10fps RAW still capture, and 81-point Fast AF.

Continue Reading

Sonos PLAY:1 Blue Note gets custom jazz paint job

Sonos PLAY:1 Blue Note gets custom jazz paint job

Sonos may be the darling of multi-room audio, but while the streaming might be flexible, so far the color options have been only one degree more than a Ford Model T. The black or white finishes are being joined by a new blue, however, with Sonos revealing its first limited edition speaker, the Sonos PLAY:1 Blue Note. Intended to mark 75 years of Blue Note Records, the custom-painted speaker comes with exclusive access to jazz playlists curated by some of the big names in the genre, like Don Was.

Continue Reading

This is the new Ford Focus RS

This is the new Ford Focus RS

The new Ford GT may be the stunning supercar we covet, but the new Ford Focus RS is the performance car that's realistically within reach. Revealed today, the hot hatch packs Ford's new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and throws its 315 HP down through Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive, using dynamic torque vectoring and more. The car company turned to Gymkhana star and rallying expert Ken Block to help cook up the Focus RS, and best of all, it's confirmed to be coming to the US.

Continue Reading

Driving Toyota i-ROAD: Crazy tilt meets genius strategy

Driving Toyota i-ROAD: Crazy tilt meets genius strategy

Who says electric cars have to be boring? Toyota's Prius may be poster child for the eco-pious, but its i-ROAD tilting trike shows there's still potential for madness in the EV. SlashGear is no stranger to the i-ROAD, and in fact we've driven earlier prototypes over in Japan before now. They're less commonly found in the US, however, but Makoto Morita, Grand Master of the Product Planning Division and lead of the i-ROAD project brought a handful with him to test the waters among potential American drivers.

Continue Reading

Storm eBike electrifies the fat wheel: Hands-on [Updated]

Storm eBike electrifies the fat wheel: Hands-on [Updated]

Luckily for Storm Sondors he has an amazing name, and thus so does the Storm eBike he created as an electric bike for the everyman. Launched on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo this weekend, the urban transport option certainly isn't the first battery-powered bike we've seen, but at $499 it's one of the most affordable. According to Sondors, however, being easy on the wallet as well as the thighs isn't all that the Storm eBike is about, so I snapped on my bicycle clips to take a ride and find out more.

Continue Reading

Volvo V60 Cross Country first-drive – Because wagons are sexy

Volvo V60 Cross Country first-drive – Because wagons are sexy

“Wagons are sexy,” I insisted when I told people I was going to drive the new Volvo V60 Cross Country. Not everyone was convinced. While in my native Europe there’s a long-standing affinity for the wagon - or, as I grew up saying, an “estate” - the wood panel hangover has been tougher to overcome in the US and, like diesel engines, its taken some clever branding to even get a foot in the door. The V60 Cross Country, then, picks up a nameplate that has served Volvo well for two decades, lifting the regular V60 and positioning itself as the de-facto “urban active” option for those not quite convinced with crossovers.

Continue Reading