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.

Project Ara has a lot to prove

Project Ara has a lot to prove

The geek within me loves Project Ara. Interchangeable modules that snick into a brushed aluminum frame and turn your smartphone into a pseudo-DSLR or a Tricorder: what's not to like? Google's ATAP team demonstrated the latest prototype - and detailed its flaws and future improvements - at Ara's second developer event yesterday, inviting module-minded partners on stage to discuss exactly what the flexible phone could become with a little imagination. Ambitious, certainly, but while many (myself included) left the event impressed by Regina Dugan and her intriguing handset, that enthusiasm was tempered with concern over whether the real-world would be so welcoming.

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Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Talking virtual traffic lights could trim commute by 40%

Traffic lights that are projected onto your windshield and change color according to the actual road conditions rather than a preset pattern could cut commute times by 40-percent, new research has claimed. The technology, dubbed Virtual Traffic Lights and already spun out into a startup by a team at Carnegie Mellon University, would rely on cars that can intercommunicate with each other and the road infrastructure, whispering their location and thus allowing real-time decisions about which lights should be green and which should be red. If implemented, it could not only save time behind the wheel, but cut stress and emissions it's suggested.

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Toyota’s hydrogen car blasts 2015 goal in first month

Toyota’s hydrogen car blasts 2015 goal in first month

Toyota is already calling the 2016 Mirai fuel-cell car a success, announcing unexpectedly high preorders in Japan, and warning that as a result some drivers may have to wait longer for delivery. 1,500 orders have been placed in the country in the first month alone, far exceeding Toyota's initial goal to sell around 400 cars before the end of the year. The impressive milestone comes while Mirai sales are still limited to a single country, as the hydrogen-powered sedan isn't expected to arrive in the US and select European countries until later in 2015, and pre-orders are not yet being accepted.

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T-Mobile Simply Prepaid trims fat for no-frills talk/text/data

T-Mobile Simply Prepaid trims fat for no-frills talk/text/data

T-Mobile USA has announced the latest phase of its "Uncarrier" drive, Simply Prepaid, a monthly prepaid plan for unlimited talk, text, and data, though there's a sting in the tail if your mobile browsing goes to high. Three tiers of the new plan - which is priced from $40 per month, before taxes and fees - are available, all with unlimited talk and text. T-Mobile is hoping that it will continue the carrier's pole position among prepaid options, as well as draw in a few more customers concerned by overage charges.

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Connected Cree LED Bulb goes conveniently cross-platform

Connected Cree LED Bulb goes conveniently cross-platform

Connected lighting was a big theme at CES 2015, but remotely-controlled bulbs are seldom cheap. That's something Cree is aiming to change with its new Connected Cree LED Bulb, a 60W equivalent priced under $15 apiece and offering wireless compatibility not only with Home Depot's Wink hub, but in fact any hub that's ZigBee certified. From there, control over on/off status and bulb brightness can be made.

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Faux-3D and stool samples: Ara’s modules get freaky

Faux-3D and stool samples: Ara’s modules get freaky

Much has been made of Project Ara's modularity, but what modules exactly could be snapped into the customizable phone? Google's developer event saw several early partners give some teasers as to what blocks might come to the market, spanning everything from task-specific cameras for 3D, optical zoom, and more, through to medical testing, and even alternative displays like e-paper, all in the name of doing much more than a regular smartphone could.

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Project Ara hands-on: Mauling the Modular Mobile

Project Ara hands-on: Mauling the Modular Mobile

Whether you agree that modular phones are the future of mobile or otherwise, you can’t argue that Google’s Project Ara isn't intriguing, and so I was keen to get my hands on the highly flexible handset. Google had three Spiral 2 devices to show at its second Ara Developer Event in Mountain View today, and while time and functionality was limited, it was a good opportunity to see how well the idea of piecemeal feature blocks works in a practical sense. Turns out, there’s good and bad as you might expect at this pre-production stage. Read on for some first-impressions.

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Here’s how you might buy Google Project Ara

Here’s how you might buy Google Project Ara

Google is taking Project Ara to Puerto Rico, and the ATAP team has been sharing some of its ideas for how to pitch a modular phone to a confused audience. While the web giant may have focused on online sales in the past, even at one point trying to bypass carriers altogether with the Nexus project, for Ara there's a recognition that some explaining is going to be necessary. The answer, it seems, is both a mobile configurator app and a fleet of trucks that Google can take around the island, along with some interesting packaging options that play up on the modularity.

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Eight things you need to know about Project Ara

Eight things you need to know about Project Ara

Project Ara isn’t just about Google inventing a new phone, it’s also the company’s ATAP team leading the mobile industry by the hand through exactly what the benefits of a module device actually are. With the project still only partway through, plenty of questions still remain, and Google has been picking off some of the concerns during its second developer event in Mountain View today. If you’ve been wondering about wireless charging, hot-swapping, and even whether you could turn Ara into a potent console alternative, we’ve got you covered. After the cut, magical magnets, specialist sensors, a big bet on batteries, and more.

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Grunt versus Green: Detroit shows an auto industry torn

Grunt versus Green: Detroit shows an auto industry torn

Not everything on four wheels is created equal, and while the Detroit Auto Show had its fair share of eco-mindful cars this week, the industry still couldn’t resist some heavy duty muscle. Cars like the new Chevrolet Volt and its baby - and currently only conceptual - brother, the Bolt, showed GM isn’t giving up on plug-in hybrid and range-extended cars. Its efforts were arguably overshadowed with the reveals of Ford’s GT and Acura’s NSX, however, along with a brace of new, luxury vehicles that gave only minor nods to the environment, if at all.

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