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.

Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Smart home, smartphone, smart selling: Xiaomi’s power plan

Xiaomi's schemes for smart home domination rest on a three dollar gizmo and a willingness to practically give it away, a warning note for rivals that, should a US launch happen, the Chinese curiosity could upset the game considerably. The Xiaomi Mi Module is a 22 yuan add-on linking regular appliances - whether they be heaters, rice cookers, or, as Xiaomi has already created for smog-heavy China, an air purifier - to the cloud, but rather than trying to fence the whole thing in, the company hopes to offer them at cost. It's a strategy that's at odds with how many of Xiaomi's competitors do business, and one which symbolizes quite how well a different approach can resonate with consumers.

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It’s Friday, so check out this Aston Martin Vulcan screaming

It’s Friday, so check out this Aston Martin Vulcan screaming

Aston Martin has a new hypercar in the pipeline, promising to bring something very loud and very special to the Geneva Auto Show early next month. Details on the Aston Martin Vulcan are still in short supply - right now the storied British marque is only previewing some track-day squealing and roaring - but according to the rumor machine the car is shaping up to be a slice of highly limited-edition exotica aimed at those who want to blast past McLaren and Ferrari owners when racing.

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A “digital Dark Age” is coming, warns father of the internet

A “digital Dark Age” is coming, warns father of the internet

When the "father of the internet" says you should worry about digital ephemerality, it's probably time to pay attention. Vint Cerf, currently a VP at Google but better known as one of the men behind the creation of the internet, made the ominous prediction that we face a "digital Dark Age" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, pointing out the rapid pace of development meant that there was a strong possibility that digital files - from family photos, though vital documents, and more - could be left behind unreadable.

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Mattel reboots View-Master with Google Cardboard magic

Mattel reboots View-Master with Google Cardboard magic

Google and Mattel have yanked the View-Master into the 21st century, taking the venerable 3D eyepiece and giving it a smartphone spin courtesy of the same tech as in Google Cardboard. Where the original View-Master used a clicking wheel of photos users peered through, taking a three-dimensional trip to foreign countries, wonders of the world, or outer space, the new model relies on a smartphone slotted into the front, and on which "experience reels" of photos and other content can be shown. Best of all, third-party developers and fans of Cardboard will be able to make their own 3D content, which Mattel plans to curate and distribute.

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Xiaomi Mi Note hands-on: More than just an Apple clone

Xiaomi Mi Note hands-on: More than just an Apple clone

Xiaomi is on a charm offensive, and that means setting the record straight. Outspoken VP of International Hugo Barra returned to San Francisco alongside Xiaomi President Lin Bin to introduce the MIUI flavor of Android, not to mention the latest Mi Note smartphone, to a curious - if a little skeptical - tech press. Wildly popular in China and other countries, but known more for the inspiration it's accused of taking from Apple and others in the West, Xiaomi isn't quite ready for a US launch but thought it was high time we saw just what Chinese users are enjoying.

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2016 Acura RDX climbs luxury ladder in loyalty drive

2016 Acura RDX climbs luxury ladder in loyalty drive

Acura is working on converting entry-level luxe hunters to its cause, and the second step in the strategy that started with the 2016 ILX is this, the 2016 Acura RDX. Revamped and prettified to better match not only Acura's latest design language - glitzy "Jewel Eye" LED headlamps and less plasticky snout included - but the raised expectations of luxury SUV buyers the 2016 RDX gets a new engine, gives economy a bump upwards, smarter all-wheel-drive, and a more capable infotainment system. Meanwhile, there's an even more expensive version at the top end to capitalize on what Acura says is a new breed of drivers.

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Kia Trail’ster takes the road less traveled with electric-AWD

Kia Trail’ster takes the road less traveled with electric-AWD

Electric cars may more commonly be found prowling the city streets than out in the wild, but Kia thinks its Trail'ster electric all-wheel-drive concept is just the thing to get millennials muddy. Shown off at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the chunky car takes not one but two powertrains into the wilderness. Dubbed e-AWD by Kia, a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is joined by electric engines at the rear for extra traction in the mud and snow, while inside the materials have gotten more rugged to match the new body kit.

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Inside the charming indie movie filmed entirely with iPhone 6

Inside the charming indie movie filmed entirely with iPhone 6

If you still needed convincing that smartphone cameras are more than capable of professional results, "Romance in NYC" may do the trick. Shot not only entirely from the a single character's point of view, but using nothing more than an iPhone 6 and a selection of apps and accessories, the 15 minute short was crowdfunded on Kickstarter in late 2014 and is now making the rounds of the festival circuit. I caught up with director Tristan Pope to find out what made him put down his pro-camera kit for a smartphone, how the iPhone 6 delivered in unexpected ways, and why he ended up wearing a GorillaPod like a Hannibal Lecter mask.

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Tesla home batteries coming to hoard renewable energy

Tesla home batteries coming to hoard renewable energy

Tesla's next product may not have an "insane mode" but the home battery pack CEO Elon Musk has revealed is in the pipeline could make more of a difference than its pricey electric sedans. Speaking during the Tesla investor call, Musk said that he expected the new batteries to be officially revealed in the "next month or two" and then hit production potentially mid-year. And, while in a performance car like the Model S P85D the idea is to get the power from the batteries to the road as swiftly as possible, the real merit of Tesla's home battery packs will be in how they can hoard electricity.

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Chevrolet commits to building Bolt EV for the everyman

Chevrolet commits to building Bolt EV for the everyman

Chevrolet will indeed make a production version of its eye-catchingly orange Bolt EV concept, the car firm has confirmed today, promising to fast-track the all-electric compact with a $30k target price. Revealed alongside the 2016 Chevrolet Bolt back at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the Bolt EV concept ditches the range-extending engine of its bigger sibling in favor of sufficient battery power for around 200 miles of range, at least according to GM's calculations. The goal is to get the jump on Tesla's Model 3, which is widely expected to make affordable pure-electric EVs not only more attainable but - importantly - more appealing, too.

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