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.

Facebook Legacy Contact elects a guardian for your digital grave

Facebook Legacy Contact elects a guardian for your digital grave

Facebook is making it easier to handle your post-death digital footprint, introducing a new Legacy Contact feature which allows a pre-determined contact to turn a profile into a memorial. Legacy Contact builds on an existing option that converts the profiles of deceased Facebook users into stable shrines to their memory, allowing a trusted person to be nominated and that individual to then have some basic editing rights after a death has been confirmed. Alternatively, however, there's the option to have your Facebook account self-destruct when you yourself pass away.

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Sling TV hits Amazon Fire TV as Appstore swells 5x

Sling TV hits Amazon Fire TV as Appstore swells 5x

Sling TV has arrived on arrived on Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV Stick set-top boxes, with the streaming service targeting cord cutters arriving alongside a number of formally PC/console-only games as Amazon strengthens its living room play. Launched last month, Sling TV costs $20 a month and offers a variety of sports and entertainment channels like ESPN. Opening up to general subscribers earlier this month, Sling TV may not need a full cable subscription, but it does need some sort of streaming device to run on, and Amazon is hoping a limited time deal for a freebie Fire TV stick will help make their dongle the one people opt for.

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Qualcomm’s Chromecast-killer is the dongle your TV wants

Qualcomm’s Chromecast-killer is the dongle your TV wants

The competition for a place in one of your TV's HDMI ports looks set to get fiercer, with Qualcomm showing off its take on the streaming adapter, a Snapdragon-based mini Android computer smaller than a box of matches. Dubbed the Qualcomm 4K Streaming Adapter, the bright red box - currently a working reference design - squeezes what's effectively a full Android smartphone, albeit without the touchscreen and battery, into a plug-and-play dongle for your home entertainment needs. While we've seen streaming sticks before, what we haven't seen is such a comprehensive range of wireless options: everything from the latest WiFi, though to LTE Broadcast support, and more.

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Snapdragon 810 benchmarked: 5 things you need to know

Snapdragon 810 benchmarked: 5 things you need to know

The pace of mobile chip development is relentless, something Qualcomm knows better than most with its new Snapdragon 810. Announced nearly a year ago, yet only set to show up in commercial phones and tablets in the coming months, the new Snapdragon arrives at a challenging time in mobile: raw performance simply isn't enough to win customers any more. So, it was with expectations broader than for just another fast chip that I sat down in Qualcomm's San Diego offices, the new Mobile Developer Platform (MDP) tablet and phone in front of me. After the cut, yes, there are benchmarks, but pure potency isn't all that you should care about.

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Tesla sets bold 55k EV goal for 2015

Tesla sets bold 55k EV goal for 2015

Tesla bested its own production records in Q4 2014 but then stumbled at actually delivering cars, including the new "insane mode" toting Model S P85D, dipping in profit and revenue but still promising big things for 2015. 11,627 cars came off the end of the Model S production line, Tesla said today, but a variety of problems - ranging from customers being on vacation, through bad weather, and even issues "with actual ships" - meant almost 1,800 of them failed to reach their buyers. While Tesla reached its 35k production goal for 2014, Elon Musk & Co. have set even more ambitious targets for the coming months, aiming for 55,000 cars in 2015.

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Behold, fresh freeway terror: Ford’s 2016 Police Interceptor Utility

Behold, fresh freeway terror: Ford’s 2016 Police Interceptor Utility

The flicker of red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror and the wail of sirens: getting pulled over on the freeway is seldom fun, but if you're lucky the cop responsible might show you their new 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility. Freshly revealed ahead of its official debut at the Chicago Auto Show, the heavily-customized SUV doesn't just look the part but - thanks to the input of law enforcement employees themselves - should address some of the frustrations lingering around its predecessor, while also including the ability to recognize a sudden chase and switch the powertrain into pursuit mode automatically.

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iPhone Kill Switch praised as phone thefts tumble

iPhone Kill Switch praised as phone thefts tumble

New smartphones aren't only coveted by regular users but by thieves, too, though the iPhone's "kill switch" Activation Lock is being credited with cutting thefts significantly across three major cities. The feature, added in iOS 7 back in 2013, remotely locks down a lost or stolen iPhone so that it cannot be activated in future without the original credentials, something intended to make such thefts less appealing to those committing street crime. That's paying off in three cities - New York, San Francisco, and London - where having a phone snatched has traditionally been a significant peril, new research from each confirms.

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Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may have beaten Apple Watch to market, but demand for smartwatches running Google's OS hasn't been as rampant as some predicted, new research released today suggests. Over 720,000 Android Wear watches shipped in 2014, Canalys suggests, and while some like Motorola's Moto 360 can't be produced fast enough to meet demand, the overall diagnosis is that the smartwatch market is still up for grabs. While the research firm appears confident that Google will continue to improve Android Wear, the lingering question is whether those enhancements can come quickly enough.

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Anki OVERDRIVE adds modular tracks for war racing

Anki OVERDRIVE adds modular tracks for war racing

Anki has come a long way since its robotic racecar toys made their mildly-cringeworthy debut on-stage at an Apple keynote, and Anki OVERDRIVE is the new fleet for 2015. Like Anki DRIVE, the new OVERDRIVE cars are controlled remotely from an iOS or Android phone or tablet, the brains of the device providing a surprisingly capable driving AI that means even if you're playing by yourself there's still competition. For OVERDRIVE, however, Anki addressed two key requests from existing players: they wanted a modular track they could set up in different configurations, and they wanted even more ways to express their road rage.

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2016 Acura ILX first-drive – Luxury chasing loyalty

2016 Acura ILX first-drive – Luxury chasing loyalty

There’s an odd dance to be followed when, as Acura is with the 2016 ILX, you’re launching a revamped version of an existing car. On the one hand, you want to highlight just how improved it is over its predecessor; on the other, you can’t be too critical, because then drivers start asking why you were so enthusiastic - and are now so cruelly honest - about the older car. For the 2016 ILX, Acura is more blunt than many: the old model was designed before the host of “entry premium sedans” hit forecourts, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and others changing the game in the process. For the MY2016, then, the focus is more rewarding driving, more luxury, and a generous injection of tech borrowed from Acura’s TLX.

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