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 week's launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus afforded Apple the opportunity to give its smartphone lineup some hardware it had been missing for years: an NFC transceiver. While NFC has been present on Android devices going back several generations, and we've even seen it come to platforms like Windows Phone, Apple has been hesitant to follow suit. But this year was different, as Apple didn't just launch new hardware, but also its Apple Pay mobile payments system, finally giving it a solid reason to justify NFC's presence; just as you might do with Google Wallet or Softcard (née ...

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    Do subsidized on-contract smartphone sales make a lot of sense? We could (and in the past, have) argue that point until the cows come home, but whether through choice or chance of fate, let's say you find yourself in that on-contract wagon. Record numbers of smartphone users are pre-ordering the iPhone 6 right now, so what do you do if you find yourself craving Apple's latest handset, but it's not quite time for you to upgrade just yet? If you're a Verizon user, you may be in luck, as the carrier confirms early upgrade support for certain subscribers. Basically, if you're with Verizon but ...

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    Windows finds itself smack dab in a period of transition right now. Users are shifting away from desktop PCs and even laptops to more mobile devices like tablets, to say nothing of smartphones themselves. And as this move continues, Windows becomes a more interesting operating system to us and our mobile focus. Windows 8 already saw tablets playing a major role, but missteps with RT and the lack of a cohesive Microsoft app ecosystem didn't do the platform any favors. We're already looking forward to what's next from Microsoft, and today we see invitations go out for an event that could ...

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    Just when we thought that the smartphone world was in store for a couple months of quiet, following the iPhone 6 launch and in advance of the bustling holiday season, HTC's been popping-up all over the place with rumors of new hardware. If we're not talking about plans for a Nexus 9 tablet with Google, we're wondering what's in store for next month's “double exposure” event. Our best guess yet at the latter has it featuring both a new camera accessory and the long-rumored HTC Eye selfie phone. Over the weekend, a few new rumors attempted to reveal a bit more about the Eye's hardware, ...

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    Bit by bit, these rumors about an HTC Nexus 9 have become more and more convincing. Maybe that NVIDIA shout-out in some recent legal docs seemed a little more official than it likely was, but we're fielding reports of this HTC Nexus hardware from multiple angles, many pointing to a launch in just a matter of weeks. The latest evidence in support of this device comes to us in the form of an accessory, as Taiwan's version of the FCC takes a look at an HTC tablet keyboard case. The idea about a keyboard case for the Nexus 9 has been hanging around for a little over two weeks now, first ...

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    For as high-tech as our smartphones are, the voice calls they make decidedly aren't. Phones have long been held back by legacy voice standards, failing to take full advantage of the bandwidth and processing power of modern handsets. Luckily for us, salvation awaits in the form of voice over LTE, or VoLTE. Last month, Verizon shared its plans to activate its own VoLTE network in the weeks to come, and today we get word that it's getting things started, going live with what it's calling Advanced Calling 1.0. With Verizon VoLTE now active, how can you take advantage of it? Well, for the ...

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    Last week, we were talking about the future of Windows Phone, with reports that Microsoft is in the middle of a pretty substantial re-branding project. Specifically, we heard that efforts were underway to start moving the Nokia name away from Lumia phones, while also shifting Windows Phone over to simply “Windows.” And certainly, we've be seeing a bit of evidence on all these fronts already, but this new leak attempted to really tie them all together and give meaning to these actions. Today we check out the latest evidence in support of this transition, revealing a Windows Phone ...

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    The iPhone 6 (and its bigger brother, the 6 Plus) is going to be big. And no, we don't just mean this year's arrival of the largest screens for iPhone handsets to date; this thing is selling like hotcakes. At least, that's the impression we got last week when hearing from AT&T that pre-orders for the phone had managed to outdo either of the previous two years' iPhone launches, but just how many sales are we talking about, anyway? Apple has weighed-in with some official numbers, confirming record-setting interest. In the first 24 hours of pre-orders alone, Apple fans bought over four ...

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    Right as we were getting into September, Google sent out invitations to an event scheduled for today in India, one where we would get “an exciting new announcement” from the company. Based on where this was taking place, we wondered if this might not be the follow-up to Google I/O's news of the new Android One project. Sure enough, earlier today in India Google formally introduced the world to the first Android One devices, while also revealing some key details about where the effort is going from here. The good news: they're still quite affordable. We had been concerned by rumors that ...

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    It's impossible to talk about this week's launch announcement of Apple Pay, the NFC-enabled mobile payment system available with the new iPhones and Apple Watch, without drawing comparisons to Google Wallet. And with good reason, as the two services are more alike than either company would probably like to admit – at the end of the day, they're both moving money from A to B, and there aren't that many ways to spice things up. But now one small, though still notable difference is emerging, as we learn how Apple intends to profit from Apple Pay's use. With Google Wallet, we were always ...

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    Those of you Motorola fans who have been able to see past all the buzz surrounding the Moto 360, the new Moto X and Moto G models, and all the fun little accessories the manufacturer has just announced may have noticed us talking about the possibility of having a new Droid model launch for Verizon. That all really picked up earlier this month when the old DroidLanding Twitter account got back into action, most recently hinting at a Droid with support for Motorola's Turbo Charger. We had already discussed the possibility of a Droid Turbo, a phone that may have been under development as ...

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    One week ago, Motorola announced its latest Android flagship, the second-gen Moto X. Without reinventing the wheel, it managed to take much of what we loved about the first Moto X, bump up the specs, and offer more custom options – a win all around. Later this month, sales of the smartphone will begin, and just like before, we'll be seeing a good deal of carrier interest. But what if you'd rather not get your new Moto X with a carrier lock, as well as some unwanted software bloat? Motorola's no stranger to selling unlocked versions of its phones, and today we hear that its unlocked 2014 ...

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    Have you pre-ordered your iPhone 6 yet? Maybe looking for some phablet action with an iPhone 6 Plus pre-order? If so, you're probably in good company, with Apple fans everywhere getting ready to let the company's latest smartphones into their lives. But for as much enthusiasm as we're seeing, this new direction for Apple isn't without controversy: will fans of the company's smaller phones be willing to embrace these larger designs? We're finally starting to hear some carriers weigh in on the public demand for these phones, and to hear that message, Apple has nothing to be worried about. ...

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    A couple days ago, HTC sent out invitations for an October 8 event, leaving us only with the words “double exposure” to hint at what might be in store. It sure sounded like something photography-related, but would this be as major as a new phone, or maybe something more in the line of new camera software? Both could still be possibilities, but a new rumor suggests HTC's also cooking-up something very different, describing a new camera accessory. According to Bloomberg's sources, HTC has been developing a tube-shaped ruggedized camera. It would have a wide-angle lens, 16MP sensor, and ...

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    With the iPhone 6 launched, and IFA behind us, there's not a lot in the way of high-profile smartphone events coming up for the next several months. CES looms ahead in January, and while there are a few devices between now and then we're looking forward to, this can still feel like a bit of a slow period. A year ago, though, fall became ground zero for the arrival of the curved smartphone, with both Samsung and LG announcing such plans. But where have curved screens taken us in the days since the Galaxy Round and G Flex? We've seen curved smartwatches, like the new Gear S, as well as ...

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