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.

Acura recalls cars after auto-brakes get distracted

Acura recalls cars after auto-brakes get distracted

A glitch in its semi-autonomous driving system is forcing Acura to recall almost 20k cars, because over-zealous safety systems might unexpectedly slam on the brakes. The luxury arm of Honda is promising drivers of the 2014-2015 MDX sedan and RLX SUV a software update that will make the optional Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) a little less zealous, after finding that it could be confused by certain types of road furniture.

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Amazon Echo is finally becoming your shopping assistant

Amazon Echo is finally becoming your shopping assistant

Back when Amazon launched its Echo, a digital personal assistant squeezed inside a cylindrical speaker, the obvious question was "why can't I shop?" Now, roughly six months into its slowly-staged roll out, Echo is finally getting the ability to do voice-controlled shopping, with a new firmware update pushed out today adding support for re-ordering items you've previously purchased, all using nothing more than spoken commands.

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Qualcomm’s wireless music tweak needs to be in all speakers

Qualcomm’s wireless music tweak needs to be in all speakers

Wireless speakers have traditionally fallen into one of two camps, either Bluetooth or WiFi, but Qualcomm is aiming to harmonize the two. The newest version of Qualcomm AllPlay now supports Bluetooth to WiFi re-streaming, allowing music piped from a smartphone or tablet to a Bluetooth speaker to them be funneled to further WiFi-connected speakers, with all zones fully synchronized.

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Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm wants your IoT coffee pot to run apps, too

Qualcomm has ambitions for the Internet of Things beyond just wiring up your fridge to the web, launching a set of chipsets that will not only provide connectivity but app support to appliances. The two new embeddable boards target everything from coffee pots and rice cookers through toasters, fridges, and washer-dryers, not to mention integrating the IoT - or the "Internet of Everything" as Qualcomm prefers to describe it - with home hubs and routers. Meanwhile, there are moves to smooth the IoT setup experience, too.

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Google Fit adds Android Wear face plus deeper data

Google Fit adds Android Wear face plus deeper data

Google Fit, Google's exercise tracking platform for Android and Android Wear, is getting cleverer, adding tools to better monitor health progress both day to day and over longer periods. Launched in October last year, Google Fit is now able to figure out exactly how far you've walked, jogged, or run each day. Meanwhile, if you're willing to fill Google in on some demographic data, it can also figure out how many calories you've burned in the process.

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I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I told my grandmother about Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving F 015 concept the other week, and she was horrified. “However could you trust it to drive you safely?” she wanted to know, perhaps thinking of how her DVR regularly and unpredictably dumps her favorite recordings and extrapolating that to a crazed silvery space-pod crashing and taking her grandson with it. In fact, I told her, I trust autonomous vehicles far more than I do my fellow human drivers, and recent news of self-driving car crashes in California has done nothing to change that.

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Midsize SUVs may not be as safe as drivers think

Midsize SUVs may not be as safe as drivers think

Many midsize SUVs so popular for their perceived safety higher up than other road users are actually underperforming in key crash conditions, a new batch of IIHS testing concludes. The segment, which borrows the styling cues and elevated cabin of full-size SUVs but with a smaller footprint more suited to urban driving, has become increasingly in-demand, particularly among young families. However, according to IIHS there's no guarantee that they're up to some of the more common collisions.

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MediaTek chip leapfrogs Samsung and Apple (in core count, anyway)

MediaTek chip leapfrogs Samsung and Apple (in core count, anyway)

How many cores does your smartphone have? If it's anything less than ten - and it's almost certain to be - then MediaTek has just eclipsed it, its new Helio X20 mobile processor packing a whopping ten cores. The company calls it Tri-Cluster architecture, and is promising the usual mantra of simultaneous power and efficiency. Still, before we discount the chip as just another case of "more is better" thinking, there could well be something to MediaTek's approach.

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Samsung ARTIK wants to wire the IoT (& solve drought)

Samsung ARTIK wants to wire the IoT (& solve drought)

Samsung has launched a new range of chipsets intended to get your home appliances online and talking to each other, borrowing smartphone chip tech for its new ARTIK range. The trio of tiny boards - as small as 12 x 12 mm - connect via Bluetooth, WiFi, or ZigBee, model depending, with Samsung hoping they find their way into everything from connected toasters and fridges to future wearables. Meanwhile, since having your coffee pot hacked is probably considered unwelcome, ARTIK has baked-in hardware encryption.

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Lily camera drone hands-on: Aerial video, no pilot required

Lily camera drone hands-on: Aerial video, no pilot required

If you're reinventing the camera, why not make it fly? That's the concept behind Lily, a drone that puts flying photography at its core, but doesn't require a pilot's license to use. Promising not only autonomous flight but eye-catching drone footage with zero operator talent, the new quadcopter wants to usurp the GoPro as the extreme sportsperson's go-to gadget, and snap the selfie-stick for family gatherings. I ventured into the park to strike a pose as I was filmed from the sky.

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