Posts by Stephen Schenck

Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!

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    Companies everywhere are in the middle of sharing their latest financial figures, and in the past couple days we've already heard from major players like Apple and Microsoft. In recent years, Chinese smartphone manufacturers have been becoming a larger and larger force, with brands like Xiaomi rising to surprising prominence. A few weeks back we got an early look at Huawei's latest performance, thanks to an internal memo leaking to the press. Today, the company made those number official, confirming sales of 75 million smartphones over the course of the past year. That's just what that ...

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    Apple's in the midst of its latest earnings call for investors at the moment, and just announced some jaw-dropping iPhone sales leading to record quarterly profit; it's a good time to be Apple. But these sort of calls aren't just about looking back on what the company has done to date, and are also designed to give us a little insight into how the next quarter should fare for Apple stockholders. While we're probably still several months away from any new tablet hardware, not to mention a new iPhone, Apple Watch sales have been looming in the shadows since the hardware was first announced ...

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    Coming off the launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 3, and iPad Air 2, Apple looked like it was going to have a pretty good quarter. The combination of fresh hardware and the holiday shopping season is a recipe for success, and analysts were hoping to see Apple sell some 65 to 70 million iPhones. As it happens, Apple did them one better, and iPhone sales of 74.5 million units helped lead the company to its highest revenue and profit ever. All told, Apple brought in some $74.6 billion in the quarter running through the end of December, with $18 billion of that representing ...

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    Motorola loves making smartphones, obviously, but more than that it might love putting those smartphones on sale. This time last year, it seemed like we were seeing deal after deal in an effort to get the Moto X into the hands of as many shoppers as possible – and in particular, we were getting word of a special Valentine’s Day promotion. For 2015, Motorola's back to its old habits, and this afternoon the company has revealed plans for a new round of Valentine’s Day sales, getting started next Monday. At 11am CT on Monday (that's noon Eastern, or 5pm GMT), you can snag a promo code ...

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    Going back several weeks now, we've been eagerly awaiting Apple to deliver iOS 8.1.3. Rumors suggested that the update might start heading out as early as two weeks ago, following word that Apple retail employees were helping out with some late-stage testing. But after the public release failed to materialize, we heard about an additional round of 8.1.3 betas, as Apple worked out the remaining kinks. Hopefully that fine-tuning has paid off, because it's finally time to flip the switch on iOS 8.1.3, with Apple getting mass distribution underway this afternoon. The download notification ...

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    Samsung is expected to try something a little different with the design of its flagship Galaxy S6 this year, but just how far away from its comfort zone will the manufacturer stray. Some rumors, like those of curving displays, are easy enough to believe, given the company’s history with models like the Note Edge. But others are little less easy to believe, venturing further out into the fringes of possibility. Today we face just such a report, talking about some interesting plans for interchangeable Galaxy S6 back panels, each delivering a new feature. Let's be clear from the get-go ...

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    If last week was all about leaked HTC One M9 pics, this week is becoming one where descriptions of the hardware reign supreme. We started things out yesterday with the controversial assertion that the pics of last week are little but decoy/prototype hardware, and that the commercial One M9 design will differ substantially from what we've been seeing. While we didn't have any new images to illustrate the rumors, a written account of some of those design elements gave us a general idea of what to expect. That continues today, as the same source contributes new details about HTC's plans for ...

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    Over the years, Twitter's been evolving from a blank 140-character slate to deliver users more and more features. It used to be that you had to manually shorten URLs, until Twitter automated the process. And you used to need third-party image hosts until Twitter started accepting uploads itself. With video, the situation's been a little more complicated, and while the company purchased Vine, that service has continued to exist more as a companion to Twitter itself. But now Twitter's finally ready to address video head-on, announcing integrated video capture and sharing tools for its mobile ...

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    At CES this year, ASUS came ready to show off some very interesting new hardware, including both that 4GB RAM ZenFone 2 and the ZenFone Zoom with a camera capable of optical zoom. And while that left it with a solid handset showing, we didn't get to see the next chapter for its wearable offerings. Last year at IFA, the manufacturer introduced its Android Wear-powered ZenWatch, but for its follow-up it sounds like the company could be going in a very different direction: some recent comments from chairman Jonney Shih suggest ASUS might drop Google's wearable OS with the goal of improving ...

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    For as good as your cellular provider might be right now, who wouldn't want their service to be a little better? Networks have several ways they can go about improving their coverage, from adopting new wireless standards like LTE, to building more towers in congested areas. But maybe one of the most substantial upgrades a carrier can make is adding support for new frequency bands. T-Mobile's in the middle of doing just that, and owners of certain smartphones will see their devices updated to support this additional band coverage in the months to come. We're talking about a chunk of 700MHz ...

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    With all Microsoft had to show at last week's Windows 10 event – from HoloLens to Spartan, not to mention what the new OS will mean for the company's smartphones – there are plenty of good reasons to be excited for what Microsoft's doing next. But before we start focusing too much on the future, it's time for another round of looking back on past performance as Microsoft release its latest quarterly financial figures. The overall picture is a mixed bag, but the company does manage to score a few wins in mobile, especially with the help of the Surface Pro 3 and its Lumia phones. Last ...

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    We spend so much time talking about upcoming phone hardware, design choices, software, and launch plans, that it's easy to take something very simple (yet still very important) for granted: a phone's name. With companies that release flagships from the same families year after year, we can easily get comfortable and start making assumptions about how these devices will be branded – like how the next iPhone is more likely to be a 6s than a 7 – but that's rarely a sure thing. Today we're looking at new rumors about a couple models we've been talking about for a while now, and how their ...

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    The Nexus 6 may offer a pretty all-around respectable hardware experience, but could it have been even better? It wasn't long after the phone launched that we found ourselves revisiting some earlier rumors, ones that looked into the possibility of getting a fingerprint scanner. Sure enough, the software support for such a scanner was there, only to be pulled a couple months before launch. So what went wrong? Former Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside may have left the company coming up on a year ago by now, but he has a little insight to share about this whole fingerprint angle for the Nexus 6. ...

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    Last year, at MWC 2014, Sony introduced the Xperia Z2. After seeing the Xperia Z3 launch at IFA in late summer, our eyes were once again on the first quarter of the year in the hopes of Sony launching the latest member of this family. CES came and went with no Xperia Z4 in sight, leaving us to assume that we'd be witnessing it appear at MWC in early March. And while that would make enough sense, a new report claims that Sony's got something a bit different in mind, and that it will still be several months before it's time for the Z4 to go official. If not at MWC, then when? We don't have a ...

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    As our phones get more powerful, wireless networks faster, and storage options more plentiful, it's very easy for a developer to let his or her app start getting “fat.” Optimizations become a less important distraction, leaving more time to deliver new features. Of course, not everyone's lucky enough to have high-end hardware on a speedy connection, and sometimes it can feel like apps are starting to get away from us, designed for use on phones that are just out of our reach. Facebook hasn't forgotten its users operating on more budget-focused devices, and has a new Android app just ...

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    We've been talking about HTC's intentions for its next Android flagship for a while now: the model codenamed Hima, presumed to launch as the One M9. Just about a week ago, we went from rumors and that stray component shot to some next-level leak action, as image after image turned up of some very One M8-looking, yet still new and distinct, hardware. Did we finally have our One M9? It was all very convincing, especially with the handset showing up in seemingly unintended places (like the reflection of a camera test-shot), but is seeing really believing? One theory suggests that we're ...

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    When Android 5.0 Lollipop first landed late last year, certain phone manufacturers were out to make a name for themselves by getting updates to at least some of their phones as quickly as possible. Motorola and LG led the pack there, though while LG got the ball rolling for G3 Lollipop updates in early November, it wasn't until several weeks later in December when we saw it really spreading to a lot of users, as the update moved across Europe. That was well and good for G3 owners over there, but what about all you users in the States? Obviously, carriers would slow things down a bit, but ...

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    In a little over a week, January will be behind us. Then there's just four short weeks of February between us and Mobile World Congress 2015, the international expo that will bring us dozens of new phones, tablets, wearables, and more. We're expecting a lot of high-profile launches to coincide with the conference, and some manufacturers have already started sending out invites for their events – HTC's going to have its own the day before MWC officially gets started, on March 1. Today we see another OEM join that early-event party, as Huawei shares news of its own March 1 announcement. ...

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    This past fall, Google broadened its Nexus lineup with the launch of the Nexus 6 phablet and Nexus 9 tablet, the first hardware to arrive running Android 5.0 Lollipop. But beyond those mobile devices, we also saw Google introduce the Nexus Player, a set-top box running Android TV, intended to expand on what Chromecast did to bring Android into our living rooms by giving users a one-stop hub for both media and gaming. And while Google was quick to make the Nexus Player available for sale in the Play Store, that's where it stayed – until now. Reports are coming in on multiple fronts of ...

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    This week's Windows 10 event brought us a lot of reasons to be excited about Microsoft's next-gen OS, not the least of which being the early access that interested users will be able to get in giving it a spin on their phones. Some rumors clued us in to what Microsoft's possible plans, and the event itself confirmed them: the preview for phones would land sometime in February. That's great to hear, but phones are only one part of the whole Windows 10 experience; what about computers? Now, Microsoft had already released an early preview of its OS for PCs, but its event brought word that ...

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    Maybe the only thing harder than trying to claim a record is being able to keep it. You work for so long to be the best at something, and then the second you let your guard down, someone else saunters right past you. When we're talking smartphone details, this is an ongoing battle: you may have the highest-density screen, or longest-life battery today, but you're always at the risk of someone else showing up out of the blue and one-upping you. This is a fact of life that makers of the thinnest phones around know all too well, and it looks like the crown for thinnest is about to be passed ...

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    When it came to the rumored HTC One M9, yesterday was one hell of a busy one. We ended up with a bunch of new pictures to check out, including some that could believably be the real deal. Of course, there's plenty of time between now and MWC in early March (and while it's no certainty, that's when a lot of us are expecting HTC to formally unveil the phone), meaning lots of additional opportunities for new leaks to enhance and refine our expectations for the Android flagship. So far today, no new shots of the actual hardware have arrived, but we do see progress on a few fronts, as we learn ...

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    Microsoft sure had a lot to share at yesterday's Windows 10 event, including both new hardware and software. On the hardware front, the HoloLens was easily the flashier of those new offerings, but we also got to see Microsoft's new collaborative wall-mounted slate, the Surface Hub. We heard about how easy it would be to interact with, and how it would be available in both 55-inch and 84-inch sizes, but beyond that high-res 4K display, we didn't get a lot of hardware details. While there are still empty spaces we'll need to see filled in, at least some of those specifics are finally ...

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    We find ourselves absolutely awash with HTC One M9 leaks today, though some of them are looking much more believable than others. One controversy has emerged over the differences between a series of pictures apparently showing off the One M9's design, and those purporting to capture a One M9 “plus” with substantially different hardware. There are more than a few reasons to be suspect about that supposed One M9 plus imagery, not the least of which is that it shows a very odd-looking (and possibly Photoshopped from Nexus 5 components) rear camera, one that still offers a Duo Camera ...

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    Yesterday, one very old rumor found itself back in the spotlight, as talk of Google getting into the cellular service game for itself picked up new momentum from a report detailing the company's efforts to act as an MVNO by reselling access through Sprint and T-Mobile. It's a quite interesting idea, even if the impact it might have on the market is largely dependent on details like pricing and availability that are still very much unknown. But would anything actually come of the rumor this time, or would it be like all those times before, where nothing concrete ended up happening? Neither ...

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