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.

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google said close to $1bn SpaceX investment

Google is reportedly near to splashing a considerable amount of cash on SpaceX, Elon Musk's ambitious space exploration company, as part of a funding round that would value the company at more than $10bn. SpaceX has already begun running unmanned resupply missions to the International Space Station, and is currently testing reusable rocket technology that could potentially slash the cost of putting people, satellites, and other cargo into orbit, or even further beyond, such as a manned mission to Mars that Musk continues to promise. According to insiders, with Google's own space plans stumbling, the next best thing is a slice of SpaceX.

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Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Was 2014 really the hottest year on record?

Is climate change real, has the Earth got warmer, and was 2014 truly the hottest year on record? NASA waded into the heated argument over heat with unequivocal claims that we can't ignore rising temperatures, citing not only its own numbers but those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and concluding the environment is getting hammered by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, while the claims may be bold, other researchers are less convinced that the results are so clean-cut, arguing that the sheer complexity of taking an average of the world's temperature leaves certainties far from reach.

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Amazon is gunning for movie studios next

Amazon is gunning for movie studios next

Amazon's ambitions in original content are climbing up a notch, with plans to create a dozen movies each year that will not only be released via its Prime streaming service, but in theaters as well. The aggressive content scheme will kick off this year, Amazon has said, with Amazon Original Movies also using its heft to trim the amount of time it takes for theatrical releases to make it to on-demand services. Rather than anything up to a year between films being screened in theaters and then showing up at places like iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon's own download store, the retailer's homegrown content will take a mere 4-8 weeks.

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Spotify’s Windows Phone app finally got a revamp

Spotify’s Windows Phone app finally got a revamp

Spotify has rolled out a long-awaited update for Windows Phone, revamping its color scheme with a darker theme and cleaner graphics, not to mention finally porting over some of the exploring features iOS and Android users have been enjoying. The new Spotify Windows Phone 8 app, available today, adds Browse and Your Music, in an attempt to not only help listeners cut their way through the millions of tracks on offer, but to integrate their own favorites into their streaming playlists. They're not exactly new features, however, coming to Microsoft's smartphone OS long after its counterparts on iOS and Android.

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US and UK plan bank hack wargames as security fears grow

US and UK plan bank hack wargames as security fears grow

A war game exercise which will see US and UK banks simulate a huge and potentially devastating hack on their systems will be run later in the year, as the two countries ramp up their preparedness for cyber espionage. The practice will be run by representatives from the NSA and the FBI in the US, and MI5 and GCHQ in the UK, with a so-called "cyber cell" of experts collaborating on worst-case scenarios and the ways in which vital institutions can steel themselves. The news follows the high-profile hack of Sony Pictures late last year, and comes as security commentators warn that more online attacks are a case of "when" not "if".

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Mercedes-Maybach priced up for US luxe-hunters

Mercedes-Maybach priced up for US luxe-hunters

Mercedes-Benz has priced up its Maybach special for the US, slapping a near-$190k sticker on the lengthy luxe-mobile, though final numbers are likely to be considerably higher thanks to an expansive options list. Announced at the LA Auto Show last year, the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 and its slightly more affordable S 500 sibling are the first of a new mini-brand for the company, again resurrecting the storied premium brand in the same way that Mercedes-AMG has pushed the German marque's sporting ambitions. That's not to say that in looking to luxury, the Maybach is lacking in speed.

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Skydio schemes smarter drones that dodge and follow

Skydio schemes smarter drones that dodge and follow

Smarter drones that can auto-pilot around obstacles, track people as they walk, run, or even do extreme sports, and all by mimicking human vision could help take the buzzing camera platforms mainstream, one startup insists. Skydio is hoping to bypass the existing - and for the most part confusing - controls drones use with more onboard intelligence, processing a 2D view of the terrain around into a 3D map of what could get in the way. The result is not only a drone that could spot a tree and swoop around it, but the possibility of more intuitive navigation that requires little more than flagging a person or area as being the subject of interest.

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NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

NASA spots the Mars lander lost for a decade

It was the little space explorer that astronomers forgot, the Beagle 2 Mars Lander that went silent back in 2003 and has never spoken up since, but thanks to NASA's eye-in-the-sky has now been found again. Scientists at the European Space Agency had resigned themselves to never knowing the fate of Beagle 2, which landed on the red planet as part of the Mars Express mission but then failed to respond after touchdown on December 25, 2003. New shots from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, have revealed the final resting place of the lander, as well as tantalizing details about quite how far into its mission it actually made it.

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HTC’s new flagship phone is coming March 1st

HTC’s new flagship phone is coming March 1st

HTC is bringing its new flagship smartphone to Mobile World Congress 2015, with the company firing out invites for a "Utopia in Progress" event set to take place on March 1st. The event, which takes place the day before the cellularly-centric Barcelona show opens, will be HTC's first major one of the year, having kept a relatively low-profile at CES earlier in January. Hints from the invite are scant, but given it's been roughly a year since HTC showed us the One M8, a replacement for that phone seems more than likely.

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It’s time to hit reset – not delete – on Google Glass

It’s time to hit reset – not delete – on Google Glass

Farewell, Explorers. Goodbye, Glass. Google's decision to spin out its controversial wearable into a standalone business was instantly portrayed by many as the often-predicted death of the headset, but the reality is less clear-cut. Glass' struggles saw early enthusiasm sour when questions around privacy and usefulness collided head-on with anti-ostentatious-geek sentiment, and the "face computer" never managed to restore its reputation. While the temptation may be to hit delete on the whole saga, I'd argue a Glass reboot with far greater focus on how head-worn wearables might fit into our daily lives would be a far more rewarding strategy.

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