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 just gave everyone at F8 this 360-degree camera

Facebook just gave everyone at F8 this 360-degree camera

You can tell a lot about a company's intentions by the things it pushes on developers, and Facebook is clearly looking into 360-degree video in a big way judging by its F8 2017 giveaway. The social network has handed every dev in attendance a Giroptic iO, a 360-degree camera that clips to a smartphone or tablet. With it, you can either snap circular photos or record video, or live-stream on Facebook Live.

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The Galaxy S8 gives one great Note 7 feature a second chance

The Galaxy S8 gives one great Note 7 feature a second chance

The Note 7 may be dead - or, at least, as good as dead - but its legacy carries on in some small but highly useful ways in the Galaxy S8. Samsung's new flagship smartphone for 2017 has been getting consistently positive reviews around the internet this week - from myself included - though early users still have a couple of criticisms. One of those sent me out looking for a feature I'd almost forgotten about on the last Note, what with the whole battery distraction.

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Facebook wants you to type with your brain

Facebook wants you to type with your brain

When Facebook poached Regina Dugan from Google, we knew the former DARPA chief would deliver something interesting: "Project: Type with your brain" is the first example of that. Announced at F8 2017 this morning, it's a project to develop a silent speech interface, with the speed and flexibility of voice control, but the privacy of typing text. In effect, it's about reading your mind and typing directly what you're thinking onto the screen in front of you.

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Facebook thinks AI can replace expensive dual-camera phones

Facebook thinks AI can replace expensive dual-camera phones

Dual cameras are becoming a must-have feature on today's top-tier smartphones - to the point that their absence is one of a few big complaints about the Galaxy S8 - but Facebook is looking to replace one of their most common uses with AI. At F8 2017 today, the social network's annual developer conference, Facebook showed off one of its potential implementations of artificial intelligence. While smart computers may most commonly be associated with Facebook's work on bots, in fact the applications are far broader.

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Giroptic iO 360-camera gets Android version at F8 2017

Giroptic iO 360-camera gets Android version at F8 2017

Facebook's F8 2017 is all about 360-degree content, live streaming, and VR, and Giroptic is getting into the action with an Android update for its iO 360 camera. Launched late last year, the plug-in 360-degree camera accessory was initially only compatible with iPhone and iPad. Today, that's been expanded to a long list of Android devices too.

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This new laser scanner could make self-driving cars actually affordable

This new laser scanner could make self-driving cars actually affordable

The path to self-driving cars just promised to get a whole lot more affordable, with one of the biggest expenses in autonomous hardware potentially dropping exponentially. A new sensor from Velodyne LIDAR should not only be a fraction of the price of current laser range-finders, but also blend much more readily into the bodywork of cars and other vehicles.

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Android Pay is adding PayPal to your digital wallet

Android Pay is adding PayPal to your digital wallet

Android Pay is about to get a whole new payment method, with PayPal announcing that it'll soon be an option rather than your credit or debit card. The integration is expected to launch in the US within the next few weeks, initially only for existing balances already in a PayPal account. However, that will be enhanced over the coming months, the payments provider says.

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The robot war has started! iRobot’s robo-vac patent war, that is

The robot war has started! iRobot’s robo-vac patent war, that is

It's robot wars, but not quite like the Terminator movies warned it would be. iRobot has launched a salvo of litigation against a whole host of rivals, alleging that collectively they infringe on a total of six patents the company holds around robotic vacuum cleaner technology. While warring robo-vacs might sound comical, the stakes are high.

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The Galaxy S8’s ergonomic compromise is giving me iPhone 8 worries

The Galaxy S8’s ergonomic compromise is giving me iPhone 8 worries

If all goes according to plan (or, at least, the rumor machine's version of the plan) Apple's anniversary iPhone 8 will be a huge departure in design. After three years of iterative iPhones, the new model - one of three expected to launch later in 2017, alongside updated versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus - will usher in a huge number of changes. Curved glass and OLED displays; reworked dual cameras; and tiny bezels. I'm excited, certainly, but I'm also worried, and I'm not alone.

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Mercedes’ 2018 S-Class gets a huge semi-autonomous upgrade

Mercedes’ 2018 S-Class gets a huge semi-autonomous upgrade

Mercedes may not have a fully autonomous car in dealerships quite yet, but the automaker has announced an improvement in its driving-assist technologies that will debut on the 2018 S-Class Sedan. The new Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive promises smarter auto-navigation by relying on pre-existing mapping data, while new sensors should give the luxury four-door a better perspective on the world around it. Meanwhile, there are also changes to how the car's self-driving status is communicated to the person behind the wheel.

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Out on Oculus VR now, Facebook Spaces is a virtual social life

Out on Oculus VR now, Facebook Spaces is a virtual social life

Facebook Spaces is launching today on Oculus VR, a virtual social network for avatars automatically created from your photos and galleries of your friends. The next step in the social site's embrace of virtual reality, it's effectively a live VR conference call - though clearly billed as something a lot more fun than that. Importantly, Facebook is making the barrier to taking part as low as possible.

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The big Facebook Augmented Reality play is starting

The big Facebook Augmented Reality play is starting

Facebook is no longer willing to hang around and wait for augmented reality glasses, it's pushing the technology into its smartphone apps today with a new platform. "I used to think that glasses would be the first mainstream AR platform, and we'd get them maybe five or ten years from now," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on stage at the opening keynote for F8 2017, the company's annual developer conference. "But over the last couple of years we've seen primitive versions of these things on our phones."

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