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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  • by | April 21, 2014 12:35 PM

    Last week, it finally looked like we were going to see Google release Android 4.4.3. We'd been following work on the update as evidence of its existence popped up here and there, but last Monday really upped the stakes as Sprint advised its subscribers that a Nexus 5 update was incoming – and one that sure seemed to be Android 4.4.3. We waited to see Google confirm the news with its announcement of the update, but that never came. By Friday, even Sprint had reversed course and removed all mention of the update from its server. What gives? Well, Android 4.4.3's release may have hit a ...

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  • by | April 21, 2014 11:48 AM

    Ever since the calendar flipped over to 2014 a few months back, we've been anxiously awaiting news of Microsoft completing its acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services branch – the one responsible for those Lumia smartphone we dig like we do. But even after getting all the regulatory approval they'd need, it's felt like Microsoft and Nokia were dragging their feet a little in completing the deal; when would Nokia the smartphone company cease to exist as a separate entity and finally become bundled-up under the massive Microsoft umbrella? That day is nearly upon us, as this morning ...

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  • by | April 21, 2014 11:17 AM

    We rounded-out last week with some news about a possible new Motorola Android, one that appeared to be both extremely thin and surprisingly cheap. We worried it sounded a little too good to be true, though, and questioned what evidence there really was linking Motorola to the leak. We still can't say with much more certainty what to expect from this hardware, but over the weekend some new developments have come to our attention, attempting to give this hardware a name while also describing some upcoming Moto G variants. This new report out of Mexico doesn't add much in the way of technical ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 8:28 PM

    It's not just new iPad shots we've got for you tonight, and in addition to those leaks of possible iPad Air 2 imagery, some new renders of the iPhone 6 have come to our attention, giving us a little preview of what we might hope to expect from Apple's design. Keep in mind, these aren't purporting to be anything official, and are instead fan renders put together based upon much of the iPhone 6 information that's surfaced in previous leaks and rumors. That includes things like those recent shots of iPhone cases showing Apple moving the phone's power button from its top edge to one side, as ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 7:30 PM

    What could we hope to see from Apple's next full-sized iPad: the iPad Air 2, iPad 6, or whatever you want to call it? Sure, rumors have flirted with the idea of a new, larger iPad, and there will almost certainly be another iPad mini this year, but what about the standard 9.7-inch slate? Some new photos have just leaked, and while they don't seem to show much at first, a closer examination suggest Apple is making some big changes to the tablet's internals. Layout-wise, the front panel you see here doesn't appear to differ much from the current iPad Air: same front-facer, thin side bezels, ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 5:18 PM

    Earlier this week we shared with you news of major OEMs signing up for the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment, pledging their support for a system that will let users remotely lock devices, wipe data, and prevent reactivation of lost and stolen phones. It certainly sounds like a sensible enough idea, and one lawmakers have been asking for for a while now, but do we really need something like this, or are we overreacting to our fears? Based on some recent survey data, Consumer Reports suggests that we really do need someone looking out for our phones, with theft in particular on the ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 4:39 PM

    We've got under a week to go before the OnePlus One launch event, but new details about the phone keep pouring in all the time. Already this week we've checked out a couple hardware leaks, got details on launch countries, and learned about the unusual invitation system OnePlus has elected to go with in order to manage sales of the smartphone. Today we add to the phone's story with the arrival of some sample images showing the kind of shots capable with the handset's 13MP Sony Exmor camera. Earlier this year, OnePlus ran a photography contest in its forums, and about a week ago it announced ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 3:55 PM

    Yesterday we told you about a smartphone from Philips that didn't really care how thick it was, and while it measured-in at over 11 millimeters, it made great use of that space, squeezing in a giant 5300mAh battery. Based on the comments you left, a lot of you think Philips is on to the right idea here, and super-thin phones just aren't worth the trade-offs; certainly, while very thin phones are still being released, there's hardly the same obsession with handset thickness as we've seen in time past. But now a new rumor crosses our desk that suggests at least some OEMs are still interested ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 1:04 PM

    We started the week off with Sprint posting an update to its Nexus 5 software version page, advising users that a new release was incoming. While the initial build number of KTU48F it gave was confusing, that turned out to be a typo, later corrected to KTU84F. We had already associated recent builds like this with Android 4.4.3, and the carrier sure seemed to be confirming that a release was imminent. But then Tuesday came with no update... as did Wednesday and Thursday. With the week winding down, is KTU84F still on the horizon? Not according to Sprint, which has reverted its Nexus 5 ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 12:45 PM

    With the HTC One M8 now a reality, the stage is set for HTC to make its next comeback attempt. The company needs to turn its finances around and start showing a profit again, and while the One M8 is quite the attractive smartphone, the question remains if HTC can take all the critical acclaim the smartphone and received and transform that into sales. Over and over again we've talked about the importance that promotion plays in making a smartphone successful, often pointing to Samsung as the example of a company that is able to effectively use advertising spending to drive sales. They say ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 11:58 AM

    Google's Nexus series has brought us some fantastic values for Android hardware. The devices are generally quite top-shelf while coming in hundreds of dollars less than their competition. But recently, there's been a new surge of interest in smartphones that are even more affordable than the $300-$400 you might pay for Nexus phone, with models like the Moto G and Lumia 520 (not to mention the new 630) proving that shoppers also want slightly lower-end hardware if that means saving even more money. Now a new rumor out of Asia suggests that Google could be thinking about introducing a ...

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  • by | April 18, 2014 10:56 AM

    It's hard to argue that HTC's not very interested in smartphone imaging. Whether you believe that its UltraPixel system is a worthwhile trade-off, or if the new Duo Camera setup on the One M8 is more than just a gimmick – that's up to you. But regardless of the actual success these efforts may have found, the fact that HTC is attempting them at all should make its passion for reimagining cameras on smartphones quite clear. In a recent interview with HTC camera guru Symon Whitehorn we get a little preview of where HTC's heading next, and it's got its sights firmly centered on offering a ...

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  • by | April 17, 2014 8:06 PM

    Last fall, Nokia released its first Windows 8 tablet, the Lumia 2520. After using Nokia phones for years, we were right curious to see what sort of tablet effort the company could put together, and we came away very pleased with what we saw. And if the 2520 wasn't impressive enough on its own, 2014 brought with it the release of the Power Keyboard accessory that very much dialed things up to 11. All of a sudden now, though, the 2520 has hit a snag, with Nokia sounding the alarm over a defect in the tablet's power adapter. If you're in the US, you probably don't have to sweat it; this issue ...

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  • by | April 17, 2014 7:26 PM

    Did you drop $1500 on Google Glass earlier this week? Or did you just register for your chance at snagging one of those $900 Google I/O tickets? Maybe you're just looking to put away a little nest egg for summer; whatever the reason, if you're interested in saving a buck or two, we've got a couple offers you might want to check out, hitting deals on both the Android and iOS sides of the mobile platform fence. Last year's iPad mini with the Retina display is a stunning tablet, feels great to use, and measures up favorably in comparison to its larger sibling. When we reviewed the model we ...

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  • by | April 17, 2014 5:43 PM

    When it comes to user authentication, smartphones play an interesting dual role. Sometimes they're the devices being unlocked by their proximity to other objects, like how Motorola lets you use its Skip accessory to activate Touchless Control on the Moto X. Sometimes that's turned on its head, and the phones are the ones acting as the authentication tokens, like with the efforts we've seen to use NFC on our phones to control door locks. Today we're headed down that latter path, as Google seems to be cooking up a system for Chrome OS that will use your smartphone to unlock your computer. ...

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