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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    Last time we checked in with Apple's quarterly finances, we discovered a mixed bag of fortunes: yes, Apple was bringing in more money than ever before, but its once-unstoppable growth looked like it may have finally succumbed to a changing market, as iPhone growth ground to a halt. Ever since, we've been bracing for more mixed-to-not-great news, especially as predictions looked to declining iPhone shipments. Today the company share its latest figures, and revenues, profits, and iPhone sales are all down. Quarterly revenue hit $50.6 billion, generating income of $10.5 billion. That's ...

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    Some phones languish around in the rumor-space for what feels like forever, dropping hints of their existence here and there, but failing to generate a lot of buzz and proceed to launch on a timeline where we still care about them. Then there are those phones that waste no time at all in going from early rumors, to tons of evidence, to a formal launch. Huawei's upcoming Honor V8 feels a lot more like one of those latter handsets, and we've gone from a teaser just one week back, to news about possible pricing, to spotting the phone (with pics) in a regulatory database. Now we're fleshing ...

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    It used to be that Samsung was king of the wearables market, cranking out new models faster than most of us could keep up. But lately we've really seen the company start slowing things down: last year's Gear S2 is still coasting along steadily, and sometimes it feels like Samsung's let VR's rise distract it a little from other wearable pursuits. But we've still heard whispers about where Samsung's efforts could be headed next, and today we score a major breakthrough as a leak outs a pair of upcoming wearables from the manufacturer: the second-gen Gear Fit tracker and the all-new wireless ...

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    With the era of consumer VR now upon us, as products like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive welcome users into high-quality virtual worlds the likes of which they'd previously only dreamt about, exciting new opportunities are unfolding before companies and content creators looking to tap into the burgeoning VR market. Encouraging their efforts isn't just good for users, giving them more to do with their VR hardware, but also the companies behind such devices, helping them to move more headset. That's why HTC is helping lead a team interested in funding some of these next-gen VR experiences, as ...

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    Smartwatches do so many things differently from your standard “dumb” timekeepers that it's difficult to know where to start, but there's undeniably one big thread that runs through the whole experience: personalization. From the watch style you choose, to the apps you load on it, to the watchface you turn to dozens of times throughout the day, smartwatch users have plenty of opportunities to really make their wearables their own. That customization extends to straps, but as anyone who's struggled to swap one out for another can tell you, they're not always so easy to work with. ...

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    Have you made the plunge with YouTube Red? For users willing to pay ten bucks a month, Google will turn on features like background playback, enable access to Red-exclusive content, and maybe most importantly, finally stop running all those ads that had been interrupting your viewing experience. If you're a Red convert, whether you just signed up or have been using the service since its inception, move along – this news isn't for you. But if you're still wading through the ad-sponsored YouTube of yesteryear, we've got some new content to let you know about, as Google brings a new ad ...

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    Smartphone manufacturers tend to follow certain patterns, and eagle-eyed fans who manage to pick up on these tend to develop some well-founded expectations for how these companies will behave: when they'll launch new phones, and how older phones will be supported. But when a company does something new, as BlackBerry did with its Android-running Priv, we find ourselves at a loss. With no BlackBerry Android experience to draw from, how can we expect the company to behave? If you were concerned that BlackBerry's efforts enhancing Android with extra security layers might prevent it from ...

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    Right now, we're still just a couple weeks removed from HTC's last big smartphone launch, with the debut of the HTC 10. But as shoppers get ready to welcome that new flagship into their lives, we're already learning about even more HTC hardware. Just yesterday we checked out some of the first evidence to arrive for the Desire 830, and while we're still waiting for that model to go official, today we've got another new HTC handset that's already launching, as HTC reveals the One S9. As the phone's name should help clue you in, the One S9 has a lot more in common with the design of last ...

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    There's only so much you can do to help smartphone users keep their devices secure. You can tell them to keep their apps up to date, or not to download software from unknown sources. You can even teach them how to spot when someone's trying to trick them into installing they shouldn't be. But despite all those efforts, sometimes malware still manages to get a foot in the door, and that's just what's happening with a new ransomware attack. Let's get one thing out of the way early: this attack only works on Android 4.x devices, so if you're running a modern platform release, you're in good ...

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    It's the tide of progress: what once was state-of-the-art is now ho-hum; what was once premium is now mid-range, or dare we say, entry-level? That's almost unarguably a good thing, as today's most affordable phones emerge capable of running circles around the top-shelf models of yesteryear. Lately we've been checking out evidence for the new mid-range Galaxy C lineup from Samsung, primarily as revealed through benchmark publications. Last week we saw the SM-C7000 – or Galaxy C7 – pop up with 4GB of RAM and a new Snapdragon 625 SoC. Now a second benchmark publication appears to confirm ...

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    Is there still room in your life for a stand-alone music player? A decade back, maybe you carried both your phone and an MP3 player, but pretty much everyone's transitioned in the time since to getting all their music right on their phone. That said, there are still a few outliers, from Apple keeping the iPod touch alive, to music-focused handsets from manufacturers like Sony. Today we're learning about one of the latest along those lines, as we check out the DP-X1 from Onkyo. The DP-X1 is an Android Lollipop device, and while it may look at first like a chunky smartphone, this hardware is ...

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    How many iterations of “X is the new Y” have you seen in social media circles over the years? Instagram is the new Twitter? Snapchat is the new Instagram? Unfortunately for some of the largest companies in the social networking game, it's all too easy to get yourself pegged as the Y in that comparison, and that's a fate Facebook's been fighting for some time now. The company's drive to stay ahead of its competitors has led Facebook to either outright acquire such companies, or do its best to implement its own version of their services. Last month we learned about Facebook buying ...

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    Google realizes that Gmail addresses aren't for everyone. But even if your digital mail lives on someone else's server, Google would still like little more than for you at least to be accessing it through its Gmail app. That's led to developments like the “Gmailify” service we saw debut earlier this year, where Google worked to implement a number of Gmail-like features for users connecting to external Yahoo or Outlook email accounts. Today Google's got some fresh news about how Gmail's making it easier for users with existing email services to adopt the Gmail app, as the company ...

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    What sort of hardware do you think about when we mention a $20,000 smartphone? Ridiculous models with fancy designs and premium materials, but that are basically expensive facades on top of run-of-the-mill phones? Maybe that passes as a nice phone for someone who doesn't know any better, but there's generally been a big disconnect between luxury-positioned smartphones and those that are simply very, very good phones. Now one startup is attempting to bridge that gap, announcing plans to launch a just-under-$20,000 phone next month with some state-of-the-art capabilities. We don't know ...

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    New Apple hardware is always reason to get excited, and even if something like the iPhone SE isn't your particular cup of tea, you can rest assured that Apple's going to sell its latest handset by the boatload. Much like the rumors about Apple's next-gen Apple Watch, we've been checking out a lot of new iPhone rumors lately, and just as many of those smartwatch details are up in the air between this year's and next year's model, there's been a lot of controversy over which changes might land in time for this year's iPhone 7, and which might take until 2017 to arrive. Things like an OLED ...

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    It hardly seems controversial to suggest that Apple's working on new smartwatch hardware; after all, the original Apple Watch has been around for quite a while now, and Apple's sure to have come up with a few ideas in the interim on things it might like to do better. And certainly, we've heard plenty of rumors about just what form some of those changes might take. That said, there are plenty are unknowns when we start getting specific about which of these changes Apple's most likely to make, and maybe more importantly, when the company's likely to make them. Will this year only get a minor ...

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    Beta testing can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different developers. Some use it as a last once-over, exposing some pre-release software to a segment of the public in order to help uncover any not-yet-spotted bugs. Others seem to use it as a nearly perpetual testbed where new features make their debut shortly before hitting an app's public build. So when we see an upcoming app make its beta debut, as happened with Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard for iOS a couple weeks back, we don't always know what to think. As it turns out, this was one of those quick-last-check betas, and ...

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    How long after the debut of a major new Android release does it become acceptable that new handsets arrive with that latest software present? We're not clueless to the realities of the software development process, and all the testing and re-testing that goes into getting a new release ready for a particular smartphone. Development pipelines are easily months, if not years long, and when a new Android version pops up just weeks before a new phone comes out, we're not about to start making unrealistic demands. But as the weeks and months go on, how long are we prepared to wait before that ...

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    What can we say: it's the end of the week. Manufacturers have wrapped up their big hardware announcements for the time being, leaving us to sit back and check out some of the stories that might otherwise find themselves on the back burner. And you know what? There's some pretty good stuff in there. We've already spent the day checking out some pretty neat DIY projects spread across platforms, and have recently been taking an eye to some of the latest deals to hit the mobile world. That's just the sort of thread we're continuing with now, as we learn about a selection of solid discounts on ...

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    A couple weeks back we saw Microsoft release a noteworthy update for Windows 10 Insiders, giving testers access to a number of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update enhancements that the company had just finished teasing at Build. Bash was a (nope, resisting that pun) hoot to get to finally try out on a Windows machine, and the ease at which we could toggle the system's dark mode on and off had us wishing the option had been there from the beginning. But not all of the hot new Windows 10 features Microsoft told us about during its Build keynote were ready for action … at least, not just yet. ...

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    OnePlus already sells some of the most affordable smartphones around, and while that's great for those of us looking for a good value, it becomes tricky when the manufacturer is trying to boost sales with a new promotional offer – how far can you cut costs before you start taking a loss? Instead, OnePlus has taken to the idea of making its handsets more attractive with some free bundle deals, like we saw it do back in February for Valentine's Day. Now it's back with a very similar offer, hooking new orders of the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X up with a free StyleSwap cover or case. Shoppers ...

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    When you're a company as big as Microsoft or Google, you've got a lot of eyes on you at any given time, ranging from media critics, to government watchdogs, to competing companies. And while that sort of exposure is a mostly inevitable consequence of being a tech giant, it sure can keep a good number of PR and legal employees busy round the clock. Any time that they don't have to spend worrying about these issues is manpower that can be better allocated elsewhere, so to that end Google and Microsoft have found themselves coming to something of an agreement, each pledging to lay off the ...

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    For a smartphone dating all the way back to 2013, the Nexus 5 still holds a special place in the hearts of a good number of Android users, and while it's clearly been surpassed by more powerful Nexus hardware, some recent hot deals on the phone have managed to keep it in our thoughts. But for as much as the Nexus 5 did right, it was never a phone that fared well for users with big data needs: with no microSD expansion (well, not without a separate mod), and only 16GB and 32GB storage options, it might not be long before you found yourself uninstalling old apps to free up space. Google and ...

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    How do you get your in-car smart-device fix? Are you rocking a smartphone mount on your dash, ready to slap on your phone and start navigating? Or do you have a fancy new vehicle with its own smartphone integration, thanks to systems like CarPlay or Android Auto? Those latter two options are well and good for Apple or Android users, but what about the Microsoft contingent? While Microsoft's announced its own car-connectivity partnerships with various vehicle makers and dash-system manufacturers, there hasn't been quite the same concerted push towards platform-level integration. One user's ...

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    It's rare that a smartphone is so defined by an accessory, especially a third-party one, but when we saw Microsoft showing off the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL at those phones' launch event alongside their custom leather Mozo covers, we knew we were looking at something special. Indeed, while you'll find plenty of criticism about the design Microsoft went with for its Windows 10 Mobile flagship models, it's almost like those objections vanish when we wrap one of those phones in Mozo's smart-looking leather shell. Now the case maker's planning to give 950/XL users even more options for sprucing ...

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