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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    It's no secret that governmental agencies the world around are using all sorts of techniques to monitor what we do on our smartphones. Sometimes that's using a court order to get access to a suspect's device; sometimes that's convincing a carrier to hand over bulk records for all its subscribers, guilty and innocent alike; sometimes it even means setting up a fake cellular tower to trick our phones into giving up information on themselves. But now a new report shines light on what could be one of the most far-reaching efforts to date, as British and American spies infiltrated the company ...

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    This morning we alerted you to the presence of a big countdown timer on Pebble's website, ticking away in anticipation of Tuesday morning. But when Tuesday finally does roll around, what's going to happen then? We mentioned a couple theories, including the possibility of getting a peek at that new hardware the company mentioned recently, but wondered if it might be too soon for such news. Now a new rumor suggest that new hardware could very much be on the menu, and also gets into a few details about just what this new wearable might deliver. So far, Pebble's been a monochrome game: both ...

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    By this point, it feels like expectations for the HTC One M9 have largely zeroed-in on what we're likely to see HTC reveal at its March 1 event: from the handset's design to hardware specs, leaks and rumors have slowly crystallized into the understanding we now have. But while that Duo-Camera-less, five-inch, 1080p One M9 may be a safe bet, we can't quite say the same for the rumored One M9 Plus, descriptions of which have remained a little more nebulous. Today we try and cut through some of that uncertainty by taking a look at some possible benchmark data for the handset. Over on ...

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    When it comes to cellular carrier competition in the US, it's far from an even playing field. We've got Verizon and AT&T so far out in the lead that they've got well over twice as many subscribers as their closest competition. Then there's T-Mobile and Sprint fighting it out for third and fourth place, and while sometimes we like to talk about a “top five,” bringing US Cellular into the mix, that carrier's an order of magnitude smaller. That T-Mobile/Sprint balance has been showing the greatest likelihood of a shift, and while Sprint's been in third to T-Mobile's fourth, stagnant ...

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    We were so optimistic when we LG first revealed the G Flex 2 at CES last month; on first impression it looked like the manufacturer had done much to address some of the shortcomings of the first-gen model. But after spending some time with the Android smartphone, serious chinks in the armor began to show, and unavoidable issues with lag took a big chunk out of our enthusiasm. As we mentioned in our review of the phone, there's hope that LG will resolve some of those software issues in time for the US release; so when will that be? We've got our first confirmation of a date, as Sprint ...

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    MWC 2015 is still over a week away at this point, but that's not stopping plenty of companies in mobile electronics from getting started with their latest announcements a little early. For some, that's going to mean press events on March 1, while others can't even wait that long – companies like Qualcomm, sharing its next-gen SoC news this week. Now we've got our eyes on another manufacturer that looks like it's going to get in on this pre-MWC announcement action, as Pebble begins counting down to next Tuesday. The counter up on Pebble's site will hit zero in just about five days, at ...

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    Android smartphone manufacturers are still struggling to bring all their hardware up to Android 5.0 Lollipop, but Google's not been sitting idly by as they prep those updates. Instead, we've seen it deliver a number of further releases, from 5.0.1 and 5.0.2 to the mysterious 5.1 that's yet to even grace the Nexus lineup. Now we're wondering what might be next as HTC's Mo Versi makes reference to a forthcoming Android maintenance release scheduled for next month. Versi mentions the release in regards to HTC's plans for a GPe One M7 bugfix update, but we're less interested in that particular ...

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    A new HTC One smartphone is just about to launch: this is no longer up for debate. In a little over a week, while MWC 2015 is just getting warmed up, HTC is set to unveil the handset we're expecting to arrive as the One M9. But for the last couple years now, the company's flagship One-series handset has found itself flanked by a close cousin for Asian markets, the Butterfly. Last year's Butterfly 2 (pictured) got a bit of a late start, not launching until August, but this week we're already hearing about plans for a follow-up as rumored details emerge about the HTC Butterfly 3. Unlike the ...

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    Mobile payments are damn tricky. Between issues with compatible phone hardware, retailer POS systems, and payment processors, it can be amazing that solutions like Apple Pay and Google Wallet work as well as they do. Back in December we heard a rumor that Samsung could be looking into entering the mobile payment game for itself, and doing so in a way that could give it a big advantage over its competition. Today those rumors go official, as Samsung announces its acquisition of LoopPay. What's so special about LoopPay? Unlike NFC-based smartphone payment systems that only work with modern ...

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    You know those people who go out to a nice restaurant, order a spread of mouth-watering food, and then the moment it arrives at their table, whip out their smartphones to Instagram the heck out of it? On the scale of technology related social faux pas, it falls somewhere short of wearing Google Glass to an AA meeting, and truth be told, it's probably something we've been guilty of more than once ourselves. Regardless of whether or not you're a particular fan of the practice, it seems that Google may be working to give food-photo lovers some new ways to share and access such shots, as ...

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    It's been how long since we looked at new images of the Galaxy S6? For a couple weeks there it felt like we were seeing new pics of hardware arrive every other day – whether they were component shots, renders from case manufacturers, or even just independent mock-ups based on existing leaks. With Samsung's MWC 2015 Unpacked event closing fast, you'd think we'd be seeing the pace pick up, but there just hasn't been a lot in the way of interesting developments on the image front for the past week now. Today we get right back into that game, though, checking out some renders from case-maker ...

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    Back at the start of February we took a look at an unreleased Lenovo handset. The leaked pics revealed a metal-encased phone with a camera featuring an unusual triple-LED flash. At the time, the best guess for what this hardware might be identified it as a possible Vibe Z3 Pro, and we looked forward to learning more about it at MWC. While that expo's still over a week away, today we manage to get to the bottom of this phone's story, as it's revealed not to be the Vibe Z3 Pro at all, but a device called the Vibe Shot. If that name has you thinking that camera performance was a priority ...

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    Android 5.0 Lollipop first began making its presence felt on the Galaxy S5 in the US back at the start of the month, as Verizon users welcomed the update's arrival. A couple days later, Sprint joined its fellow CDMA carrier with an update of its own, but so far the GSM boys haven't been ready to follow suit. AT&T's still a no-show, but today there's motion over at T-Mobile, with report of users seeing their own OTAs arrive. That's confirmed by T-Mobile itself, which reports that system software G900TUVU1EOB3 is available today both as an over-the-air update and one for manual ...

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    Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 may be the SoC that grabs the company most of its headlines these days, mired in controversy as it is. Luckily for Qualcomm, claims of overheating and sub-optimal performance are increasingly appearing to be overblown, and we find ourselves eagerly awaiting the launch of even more 810-powered hardware at MWC 2015 in a couple weeks. But high-end is just one fraction of the SoC market, and today Qualcomm revealed what's coming next for its mid-range offerings, announcing four new SoCs for its Snapdragon 400 and Snapdragon 600 series. Remember the ARM Cortex-A72 core ...

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    Progress isn't just about welcoming the new, although that's often a big part of it. It can also mean that we have to say goodbye to the old, sacrificing sometimes-beloved features in the name of what's next. Back in 2012, when Microsoft was first introducing us to Windows Phone 8, we learned about Rooms, private invitation-only spaces where you could share information and media with specific people; maybe you'd create a Room for your family, or for a close group of friends. Last week we saw the Windows 10 Technical Preview become available for certain WP8.1 devices, and it landed without ...

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    With HTC finally admitting that yes, it intends to unveil its next flagship One handset on March 1, it's easier than ever before to develop a case of tunnel vision, focused without distraction on the One M9. But for millions of HTC One M8 owners, they're still quite interested in HTC's ongoing efforts to support their existing handsets. Although many of those users abroad have already made the journey to Android 5.0 Lollipop, the update's been slow to arrive on carriers in the US – a situation HTC's been apologetic about. T-Mobile already saw its Lollipop update land last week, and now ...

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    You knew it was happening, right? After all the leaks we've seen, the months and months of rumors, and that recent appearance of the One M9 name in the code behind HTC's website, the company practically had to introduce its next flagship at MWC 2015 in just a couple weeks. Well, there's believing that something will take place, and then there's actual confirmation. And while we've been going on a lot of assumptions thus far, there was always the outside chance that we'd been reading the situation wrong, and HTC could have slightly different plans for the formal debut of the One M9. Today ...

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    ASUS has been skirting the line between tablets and phones for years now with its Fonepad line of tablets, which unlike your run-of-the-mill slates, come equipped to handle traditional cellular voice calls. We've seen the company deliver Fonepad models in multiple sizes and with different hardware configurations, and this week we get to check out the latest addition to the family, upgrading the Fonepad 7 with some slightly more capable hardware. The new Fonepad 7 sports a 1280 x 800 seven-inch display, and like previous models, there's an Intel Atom SoC powering things, this time a 1.3GHz ...

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    I was just about two years ago when LG first announced it was entering the SoC market with a chip of its own, just like Samsung had done with its Exynos lineup before. But it wouldn't be until fall of 2014 when an LG SoC finally made its way into one of the company's phones, with the NUCLUN chip in the G3 Screen. Unfortunately for LG, NUCLUN quickly found itself attached to reports of sub-par performance. Now the manufacturer may already be looking to follow that up with a slightly more impressive offering, as reports surface of efforts towards a new 64-bit LG SoC. Supposedly, some of LG's ...

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    Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones is here, giving owners of select Lumia smartphones an early glimpse into Microsoft's next efforts for its mobile platform. But what's next for the program? When can we expect a new release with some fresh new features? And what about compatibility with additional phones; should you just try that hack that tricks Microsoft's servers into letting you put the preview on unsupported hardware? The company's Gabriel Aul has been fielding questions on Twitter, and brings us answer to these questions and more. That installation hack we told you ...

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    Wireless charging tries so hard to catch on. In theory, it's a graceful solution to a world that's cluttered with too many wires already, but a lack of strong manufacturer support, absence of ubiquitous charging points, and confusion over competing standards have all worked together to keep it from becoming more popular than it might otherwise be. Is there hope that the situation will ever get better? Samsung sure seems to think so, and the way the company sees it, this is the year when wireless charging is really going to shine. In a lengthy blog post, Samsung talks a bit about the ...

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    The days are counting down until Mobile World Congress 2015, where at Samsung's Unpacked event the manufacturer is expected to announce its flagship Galaxy S6. Last week we saw Samsung getting ready for its event, starting a promotional campaign to tease the arrival of “The Next Galaxy.” First we saw a teaser hinting at some exceptional camera performance, especially when it comes to low-light environments. Now it seems that Samsung's got its mind on the Galaxy S6's silicon, as its latest teaser alludes to how exceptional performance can help supercharge your productivity. At least, ...

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    We knew that Microsoft's initial release of its Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones wouldn't support every WP8.1 handset under the sun, but we didn't expect it to be quite as limited as it was, with zero support for flagship hardware. Instead, the release worked with half-a-dozen recent low-to-midrange handsets. Now, you could just wait for future Windows 10 previews if you find yourself with some of that not-yet-supported hardware; Microsoft's been very clear that compatibility is only going to get better. But if you're the impatient type, with a streak of DIY confidence running ...

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    At this point, the theory that the LG G4 won't make an appearance at MWC 2015 is hardly a controversial one. Considering when the G3 and G2 before it launched, a debut this early in the year was always a bit of a long shot, and the idea of the G4 sitting this next expo out has been gaining more and more traction as of late. But if the G4 does indeed skip MWC, when might it launch? Would we be waiting all the way until late May, as we did with the G3? Maybe not, as sources out of South Korea point to a possible April launch. When in April? Unfortunately, these sources don't get any more ...

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    As zero-hour approaches for the HTC One M9 launch, now under two weeks out, old rumors are starting to pick up new evidence, and our understanding of what to expect from the smartphone is really starting to take shape. Earlier today we looked at what sure appears to be official support for the idea that the phone will launch as the One M9, and this afternoon we check out some new corroboration for another rumored detail, as a leaked wallpaper hints at the phone's display resolution. In a world were so many flagships are turning to quad HD displays, we've heard more than once that the M9 ...

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