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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    This year has seen major new players arrive in the smartwatch space, both as Google introduced Android Wear and Apple showed-off its Apple Watch series. But throughout all this, the old stalwart Pebble has remained a more than viable contender. Even Pebble needs to evolve sometimes to keep up with the Joneses, and today we get word of not just some price reductions, but also the arrival of new Pebble functionality in the form of ongoing activity monitoring. The new software update empowers Pebble apps to gather sensor data in the background, even when you're not actively engaging with the ...

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    Over the past couple weeks, we've heard Google reveal a few changes that were set to come to the Play Store. First there was word that it was prompting developers to provide physical mailing addresses, with the intent of displaying them publicly in app listings, right alongside existing contact info like email addresses. Then a few days later we heard about a shift in the way Google would display info about apps offering users the opportunity to make in-app purchases, displaying the full range of IAP prices in the app listing itself. We knew it was gearing up to see both requirements go ...

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    How do you preserve the scratch-free finish of the glass covering your smartphone's display? Well – besides just being really careful, that is. A bulky case? A plastic stick-on screen protector? The latter may be a very popular option, but doesn't that feel like a bit of a downgrade, moving from precision-engineered glass to plastic? Today the team at dbrand is launching a new line of mobile accessories that seek to offer unparalleled screen protection while also maintaining that high-quality look you only get from glass, introducing its line of dbrand glass Gorilla Glass screen ...

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    A couple weeks back, Microsoft started sending out invitations for a press event rumored to introduce a new Windows Technical Preview and give us a bunch insight into the company's plans for Windows 9. Sure enough, today Microsoft shared its vision for the future of Windows, but there's not going to be any Windows 9; instead, we're skipping that entry entirely and moving full speed ahead to Windows 10, powering everything from phones to TV-sized presentation screens, and set to start arriving mid-to-late next year. While much of today's presentation dealt with Windows 10 from a desktop ...

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    With the iOS 8.0.1 misfire behind it, Apple's looking forward to what's next for its mobile platform. Yesterday we saw some evidence suggesting it wasn't just prepping iOS 8.1, but also early at work on iOS 8.2 and 8.3. Just what features would all these releases deliver? We're already getting answers, as Apple makes the first beta of iOS 8.1 available to its developer community. On the surface, there aren't yet a ton of new features; we see some finer-grained control arrive for certain phone options, the presence of updated icons, and changes to how certain elements are named. But really, ...

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    Yesterday morning we brought you news of an issue some new owners of the Galaxy Note 4 were taking with the construction of their phablets, pointing out the presence of a gap between the handset's front glass panel and the phone's frame. While more an aesthetic issue than anything, it was still troubling news for anyone not particularly looking forward to picking dust and grit out of those gaps. Now Samsung has spoken up about these concerns, and it doesn't seem to think there's anything to be worried about. The manufacturer insists that “the reported issue does not impact the ...

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    No matter which cut-off date you go by, at this point summer 2014 is indisputably over. That also means that Pocketnow's Summer of Giveaways has drawn to a close, but not before hooking a number of lucky readers up with some brand new smartphones, including a couple with one-of-a-kind custom skins. We'd love to bring some more offers like that back in the future, but for the moment, those week-in, week-out giveaways have drawn to a close. The good news for you is that we've still got other ways you can become a winner, thanks to some of what's going on over at our Pocketnow Deals store. ...

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    The last week has been chock full of leaks attempting to reveal the Motorola phablet under development as codename Shamu, believed by many to be the device that will become Google's next Nexus phone. But even with this hardware showing up in the flesh, a host of questions about the device and how it might launch continued to puzzle us. Last night, some new details about purported plans for the phone emerged in a new leak, giving us quite possibly our best sense of the new Nexus yet. First up, how about that name? Nexus 6 had been the presumptive launch name, but recent rumors suggested ...

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    Sometimes it feels like we rarely have kind words to say about a carrier. If we're not complaining about them being in bed with everyone from hardware manufacturers to the companies behind mobile platforms, we're raising the alarm about throttling or indefensibly high data pricing. But they're not all abject monsters, and it's nice to pay attention to one of them when they're doing something positive. That's where we find ourselves this evening, as Verizon does its part to raise awareness about domestic violence. Verizon has aligned itself with Philadelphia’s Women Against Abuse for its ...

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    Depending on whom you ask, Google's Project Ara may be primed to change the way we look as smartphone hardware forever. The modular system seeks to give users unprecedented levels of control over the kind of hardware they want making up their phones, but tons of questions remain as to how practical Ara might really be. We're still a few months away from a retail launch, but for the first time in a while some fresh Ara news has hit our desks, as Phonebloks posts some hardware and software details. For one, we get confirmation that a fully functional Ara prototype will be on display at the ...

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    October is just days away, which puts us close to the one-year anniversary of HTC's launch of its One Max phablet. The 5.9-inch handset brought a fingerprint scanner to the company's smartphone lineup, and despite the model keeping the One's design language and offering a solid user experience, it failed to really sell in droves. Will this year bring us a follow-up model? We've heard a little about a possible One Max 2 (or One M8 Max), and now a new rumor attempts to fill us in on a few hardware specifics. Instead of another 5.9-incher, this report claims that we could be in for a slightly ...

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    By this point, iOS users everywhere are familiar with the 8.0.1 mishap last week, and the release of iOS 8.0.2 Apple came through with a couple days later as a solution. But now that we're at 8.0.2, where do we go from here? With iOS 7, we saw several months of minor bugfix releases before 7.1 came around in March, and even then we only saw a couple more bugfix builds that brought us up to 7.1.2. But to look at some of the latest evidence, Apple could be planning something quite different for its iOS 8 cycle, and may already be testing elements of 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3. Signs of such iOS ...

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    Sony introduced the world to its Xperia Z3 flagship back at the start of the month, at IFA 2014 in Berlin. The 5.2-inch 1080p waterproof handset packed some solid specs, including a Snapdragon 801, 3GB of RAM, and a big 20.7MP Sony camera. We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the phone back on the show floor, but that was far too brief an introduction for our tastes; we needed to spend some more time with this guy. We finally have gotten our hands on a retail unit, and before we put this Xperia through its paces for an in-depth review, we've got a new unboxing video to help whet your ...

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    It's still tricky to get your hands on a OnePlus One – and for the next few weeks, at least, it will continue to be, until no-invite pre-orders open in late October – but OnePlus is already looking on to what's next for itself, talking about plans for a OnePlus Two. We heard the company make reference to its next smartphone a little earlier this month, as it recounted the lessons it learned from its failed efforts with interchangeable StyleSwap covers for the One. Now, in a new Reddit AMA, a couple OnePlus employees have been sharing a few details about what the company has in mind for ...

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    The public release of Android L is nearly here – at least, we sure think it is – but when it comes to a name for this new version of the OS, all we have is that “L.” Ever since the arrival of Android KitKat we've been wondering what name the L-release would take, but confirmation's been elusive. Long-standing rumors of Lemon Meringue Pie have recently been joined by new contenders, like Android Lion, and over the weekend some possible evidence has arrive in favor of another pair of L-names, Android Lollipop, or maybe Layer Cake. Both theories come to us courtesy of Google's ...

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