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 16, 2014 12:31 PM

    With one week to go until launch, we're seeing a rush of last-minute OnePlus One news. Just a little earlier today we shared with you those leaked pics of a purported One motherboard and that render of a prototype handset that may share its design with the final, commercial model. Now we follow that up with some news from OnePlus itself, as the company talks about just where you'll be able to get your hands on its premiere smartphone. The OnePlus One is confirmed for release in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 11:35 AM

    Well over a year ago, back around MWC 2013, we heard about LG's aspirations to join the ranks of competitor Samsung with the production of its own LG-branded SoCs. Reportedly, LG was courting TSMC to fabricate the so-called Odin chips, at least some of which would be octa-core big.LITTLE components. Based on when we were hearing about it, we hoped the chips might be ready to make their debut inside the G2 later that year, but instead LG's SoC plans seemed to fall off the radar, and we went without updates. All of a sudden, that news is back in headlines, with word that LG is nearly ready ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 10:52 AM

    We've got one week to go until April 23, when OnePlus makes formally introduces the One as its inaugural smartphone. While the company has just been a doll when it comes to sharing pre-announcement hardware details, we've been at a loss for much in the way of visual evidence – sure, there was that one leaked sketch, but that's been about it. This week we finally get the opportunity to start, with the arrival of a few pictures, both inside and out. Up there on the left is how the OnePlus One might just look from the rear. Sources describe the rendering as representative of early ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 8:08 PM

    News about Google's Project Ara, the effort to transform smartphones from these pre-configured all-or-nothing options we have now to something much more modular, akin to a build-it-yourself PC, has been absolutely exploding in recent weeks. Just a few days back we were checking out the release of the Ara Module Developers Kit, and this week brings the arrival of the first Ara dev conference, which kicked off earlier today. There, Google shared some of its vision for what's up next for Ara, including when we can expect this hardware to actually go up for sale. Google's ETA for when users ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 5:53 PM

    Sony's latest flagship, the Xperia Z2, is currently available for sale (assuming you can find somewhere that has it), but what's next for the manufacturer? There are those persistent rumors of Windows Phone devices, and we've also checked out what might just be evidence for an early Z2 Compact. This evening we've got another potentially upcoming Sony handset to talk about, but it's difficult to say just what Sony might be thinking with this one. We're talking about the company’s model D6603, which presents us with that screenshot below. While there's not much to see here, benchmark ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 5:10 PM

    As Android users are only too aware, Google's been pushing Google+ pretty hard. If you've decided to go ahead and embrace the service and all it offers, that means you've probably got Auto Backup enabled, loading all the pics you shoot with your Android phone's camera to the cloud. Already, that's meant opening yourself up to a bunch of cool features, like Auto Awesome and Auto Enhance, but today we learn of one more, with the debut of a new ability for Gmail. This is the web version of Gmail we're talking about here, and not the Android app, but seeing as how you use your phone to load ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 4:41 PM

    LG's G3 may be the next flagship to launch from a major Android player, with rumors suggesting we're just a month or two away from its debut. There have been plenty of rumors and leaks arriving to address our expectations for the phone already, but we haven't had much in the way of reliable images of actual hardware. This week, just such a variety of imagery surfaces, but it's not entirely straightforward just what we're looking at. Take, for example, the renders you see above in white, and below in blue. This is not the LG G3. What it is, though, is an apparent leak of the LG isai FL, ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 3:28 PM

    Last week saw Samsung's Galaxy S5 hit carrier shelves in the US, and while this meant that the long-awaited smartphone was finally making its way into user hands, it wasn't without incident, and we heard about a couple circumstances where the smartphone was showing up without its complete feature set intact. The first issue to come to light concerned the download booster Samsung had put together, intended to let users retrieve a file through the combined efforts of the phone's LTE and WiFi connections, pooling their available bandwidth. First the AT&T GS5 showed up with the download ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 1:40 PM

    Heartbleed may be dominating the headlines when it comes to security topics lately, and while that one does pose some specific risks for smartphone users, it's far from alone among all the vulnerabilities out there. Today we hear about Google's efforts to address one that's new to us, an oversight in how Android manages permissions that could set the stage for malicious software to orchestrate a phishing attack. The problem stems from a pair of unprotected permissions tied to the Android launcher's configuration settings. Since they're classified at the low-risk “normal” permission ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 12:49 PM

    Software devs love peppering their releases with a few well-placed Easter eggs, and voice-based virtual assistants on smartphones have been no stranger to this trend: Siri can be goaded into telling knock-knock jokes, and Google Now will engage in some Star Trek dialogue if asked to beam you up. As a result, it shouldn't be too surprising to learn that Microsoft's Cortana likes to get in on the fun as well, and this morning we check out one of the first-known Cortana Easter eggs. Remember Clippy, the on-screen cartoon paper clip “assistant” that would pop up in Microsoft Office with ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 11:56 AM

    With the launch of the iPhone 5S last year, and the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 hitting stores this month, fingerprint scanners on smartphones have finally hit the big time. Samsung, especially, is pushing taking the technology by extending it beyond its own ecosystem and making it available to third parties, like how PayPal uses the scanner to authenticate transactions through its mobile app. Despite all the potential, there's a possible downside to what Samsung's doing here, as security researchers raise the alarm about a combination of factors threatening to make the GS5's scanner ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 11:02 AM

    Late last week, we brought you the latest in a long series of rumors about Amazon's efforts towards the release of the company's first smartphone. Over the months, there had been talk of multiple models, possible plans for subsidized sales, and a very unusual eye-tracking system using multiple cameras to allow the phone to create a pseudo-3D effect without the need for a special screen. That recent update attempted to sort things out about a possible release schedule, but did little to further our understanding about any of this hardware itself. Today, however, we're finally ready to get ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 7:57 PM

    Last week, we heard a rumor that Google was about to take Google Glass down from the lofty realms of exclusivity and make the wearable broadly available for one day and one day only, putting it up for sale to anyone in the US still interested in being a tester before the full-on retail launch. Shortly after we shared that rumor with you, Google stepped up to confirm the news, and now we're just hours away from these Glass sales going live. Here's what's happening: starting tomorrow morning at 9am Eastern (6am Pacific), Google is opening up the Glass Explorer Program. In order to ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 7:20 PM

    Recent leaks have suggested that Google's currently involved with an effort to spruce up the look of Android. Some of the changes we've heard mentioned sound pretty vast in scope, like that so-called Project Hera, while others came off as more run-of-the-mill app updates. While we still don't know the full extent of what Google's working on, a new leak suggests that part of it will involve new icons, with Google working to address the disconnect between how web-based services and Android apps are represented. The leaked screenshot above reveals many such icon changes, with the overall ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 5:50 PM

    The new HTC One M8 introduced us to Sense 6, and new owners of the smartphone are already getting a chance to enjoy the software. What about those who have older HTC, devices, though? When will they get their own shot? Right before the M8 debuted, we heard a rumor attempting to outline HTC's strategy for updating current phones with Sense 6. According to that document, the original One M7 might see its update land in either May or June. Then at the One M8 launch itself, HTC confirmed plans for these Sense 6 updates, but without nailing down a precise timetable. Well, today we've finally ...

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