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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    Yesterday we saw Google begin accepting pre-orders for the Nexus 6 through the Play Store – or, at least, we assume that's what happened, because as soon as we had the chance to check things out, Google was already reporting that all configurations of Nexus 6 hardware were out of inventory, no longer available for pre-order. Just how could Google have such very, very low stocks at its disposal that the pre-orders couldn't even last through half a day? As it turns out, there might be a very good reason why the Nexus 6 has proven so difficult to order through the Play Store, and it could ...

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    When we first caught wind of the news, we nearly didn't believe it: how could Lenovo purchase Motorola? This was a company that Google had only just taken under its wing, and following the strong reception of models like the Moto X and Moto G, we were feeling extremely optimistic about what might be possible from a Google-owned Motorola. But then on one cold day in late January the rumor landed that a deal to sell control of Motorola to Lenovo was in the late stages of negotiation, and just hours later Google made it official: Lenovo was buying Motorola – Motorola Mobility, if we're ...

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    So far this season, the quarterly earnings reports from some of the big players in smartphones have amounted to a mixed bag of success: Apple and Microsoft have done quite well for themselves, while companies like Sony and newcomer Amazon have struggled. Today the latest figures from one of these manufacturers are in, and now it's LG's turn to share news of its own smartphone sales – and the company has manged to break a few of its own records in the process. LG Electronics is a multi-headed giant, but the branch we're most interested in is the LG Mobile Communications Company. This past ...

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    The entertainment industry's got a bit of a love/hate relationship with tech. While the rise of portable devices, higher-than-ever internet speeds, and ubiquitous connectivity, it's become incredibly easy these companies to sell you content. Suddenly feel the urge to watch Caddyshack? Hop on a service like Google Play Movies, and you're just a tap or two away from a streaming copy. But that same tech also makes it easy for pirates to capture and distribute extremely high-quality copies of the same media. As such, media companies have taken a hard-line stance against tech they view as ...

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    Google Wallet has found itself in the news a bunch lately, but more as a secondary player in stories than the primary focus. Instead, it's been Apple Pay taking the spotlight, and when retailers reacted to the launch of Apple's mobile payment service by shutting off the NFC readers at their POS terminals, Google Wallet ended up suffering collateral damage. It's almost an indignity to Google's service that its use was just as much in violation of agreements between merchants and MCX, yet Wallet had been operational for years without anyone batting an eyelash – and it took the arrival of ...

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    It's been about a month since we last checked in with Project Ara, that Google effort to create a fully modular smartphone built around a set of interchangeable hardware modules. Even in the absence of a lot of updates, this is one phone we've been keeping in our thoughts, especially as we approach the end of the year; after all, we'd previously heard that Ara hardware could go up for sale in very early 2015. Today some new Ara developments manage to give us even more to look forward to, chief among them a video from Phonebloks showing the functional Ara prototype booting into Android. The ...

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    It's October 29, so you know what that means! Throwing together a last-minute costume from old clothing, pipe cleaners, and hot glue? Well sure, but more importantly, today's the day when you get your first chance to snag a new Motorola Nexus 6, as Google gets the phone's pre-orders started. Or, at least, this would be your first chance if they weren't gone already. We're not sure just when it happened, but sometime between when Google opened Nexus 6 pre-orders earlier today and the present moment, the company's completely exhauseted its pre-order stock. White or blue, 32GB or 64GB, no ...

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    The idea of Samsung releasing a bunch of new Androids that take some heavy inspiration from its Galaxy Alpha handset is one that's been building momentum since late August, and last month we saw such rumors really take off in full force, as leaks started providing new evidence for the existence of a Galaxy A3, A5, and A7. Recently, we've been hearing that these phones could be nearly about to drop, and that a launch was all but imminent. Today we check in with a new source singing a very similar tune, with claims that China is set to see the A series arrive early next month. Last time we ...

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    Earlier this week, OnePlus opened a new chapter in the story of its One smartphone, moving beyond an invite-only ordering system to give the public at large a chance to place pre-orders for the hardware. Even taking that big step, the ordering system is still a little unusual, with pre-orders only opening for very limited time periods; Monday's was only supposed to be open for a single hour, though OnePlus ultimately extended that to three. If that still wasn't enough time to get your order in, you'll have another chance soon, as the manufacturer shares the schedule for its next pre-order ...

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    Yesterday saw Motorola and Verizon introduce US audiences to the Droid Turbo, the latest Android smartphone to wear the Droid label, and one heck of a piece of solid hardware. Even before the handset was finally confirmed we were hearing questions from our international user base: how can I get my hands on the Droid Turbo? This can't really be a US exclusive, can it? Evidence had already been building for the possibility of an international GSM version of the Droid Turbo, and now we've got an invitation that sure appears to be for a Brazilian launch event for something very Turbo-esque. ...

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    The Apple-branded cross-carrier SIM chips in the latest iPad models seem like such a great idea on paper: sell users a device that's all ready to be activated with the carrier of their choice, without needing to install new hardware. As we've seen, though, the reality of the situation hasn't been quite so smooth and idyllic, but the existence of this component alone sure felt like a step in the right direction. Despite all the potential such SIMs offer, it doesn't sound like you should bet on finding one in your next iPhone, though, as Apple VP Greg Joswiak explains why the Apple SIM is a ...

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    The smartphone industry is full of plenty of gigantic companies, with influence and buckets of money at their disposal. As such, it's easy to feel a bit like David in the face of Goliath, and even if you have a valid complaint against one of these juggernauts, getting your way can feel like squeezing blood from a stone. Luckily for smartphone users in the US, the Federal Trade Commission has got their back, and we've seen recent efforts from it trying to stem unauthorized purchases from the various app stores out there. The latest target to wander into its crosshairs is AT&T, as the ...

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    One of the latest “must-haves” for a full-featured mobile platform has become the need to offer users a one-stop-shop for their fitness needs. There's Apple's Health in iOS 8 (and all ready to start taking advantage of the Apple Watch once it arrives early next year), but Android hasn't been left without its own fitness hub, and we saw Google Fit debut at I/O this past summer. We had to wait for a few months, but now it's finally time for Fit to hit prime time, and today Google's making the Fit app available for Android users everywhere. Don't think that just because you don't have ...

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    What do you get when you cross a little bit of Moto X with a dash of Nexus 6 and a heaping helping of macho branding? You get the new DROID Turbo from Motorola, a Verizon-exclusive flagship smartphone built to put the "-roid" back in "Droid." At today's Verizon event in New York City, we got to interact with not just the Droid Turbo itself, but check out the complete retail packaging as the phone will arrive in when sales begin this coming Thursday. It looks just like we saw in those leaked pics, but there's nothing quite like getting your hands on the real thing yourself. Notably, this ...

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    With all the leaks we'd seen over the months leading up to today's Droid Turbo launch event, much of the phone's high-end hardware had already been spoiled for us, but when those specs include features like a big 21MP camera and beefy 3900mAh battery, we suppose we don't mind a few early peeks. Today, with Verizon and Motorola formally announcing the phone, the rest of the handset's hardware has finally been confirmed, and they're of similar top-tier quality, from the very capable 3GB of RAM to the sizable 64GB storage option. Let's take a moment to go over the full set of Droid Turbo ...

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