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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    How long can you enjoy your new smartphone before you start feeling that itch, the irrepressible sense that there's already something better out there, and your handset is already holding you back? While we all arguably deal with something similar to one extent or another, it's easy to understand how such concerns could be especially pronounced with millennials, a generation raised with tech in their blood. This week, a new study looks at precisely what sort of attitudes such users have as they consider moving to new phones. US carriers have really been pushing their early upgrade programs ...

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    Last week we saw Microsoft release its latest Windows 10 Insider preview, the version that should be the last we get before the platform formally lands next week: build 10240. With it looking like this is the final RTM build that will ultimately introduce the public to Windows 10, it's arguably the most important one we've seen land all summer, but just what is it doing differently than previous builds? Today a detailed copy of the build's release notes have leaked, explaining all that's going on behind the scenes. As shouldn't be surprising, there are a bunch of big-fixes present in ...

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    Rumors about corporate acquisitions in the smartphone world have a funny way of surprising us. Just look at last year's acquisition of Motorola by Lenovo: it felt like Google had only just bought the company, and the idea of dumping it already sounded almost preposterous – until Google confirmed the news just hours after the first rumors landed. So when fresh rumors starting bouncing around yesterday that Google could be looking to purchase a major stake in LG, our thoughts quickly went from skeptical to imagining how we might just see such a thing happen. Alas, the deal may never come ...

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    Sometimes it makes sense for a smartphone manufacturer to wait for a major trade show to debut its latest handsets – a show like IFA, which we'll be attending in early September. But not everyone's content to wait around for such an event, and even companies that have done so in years past – companies like Samsung with its Galaxy Note phablets – may be switching things up this year and introducing their new hardware well in advance of IFA. We just saw a rumor suggesting that other companies might follow along, and Sony could be doing a pre-IFA launch of its own. Is anyone actually ...

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    We just covered Apple's record-setting financial figures, and mentioned at the time how it's one of two giants in mobile sharing their performance this evening. The other is Microsoft, and the company's got some mixed figures to report when it comes to its smartphone game. Microsoft's problem is the growing popularity of budget-priced Lumia models, which just can't bring in a whole lot of money individually. And while Lumia sales in terms of units were very strong, growing some 3 million to 8.4M (as opposed to just 5.4M the same time last year), revenues took a dive, dropping 38 percent to ...

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    The biggest companies in mobile are sharing their latest financial data, and last week we checked in with Google to learn about its most recent growth. Today we've got another two behemoths to crunch numbers with, and first on the agenda is Apple, reporting a record-setting quarter. Maybe the biggest questions on everyone's mind is how the Apple Watch has been doing, and while Apple doesn't provide detailed figures, it sure paints the picture of a successful debut. The problem is that while Apple lays out sales figures for iPhone and iPad product categories, the Watch gets lumped in its ...

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    Today looks like it's China's day for smartphone launches, and we just shared with you all the new gear ZTE just announced for the nation. But we've also been looking forward to a new hardware announcement from Huawei, especially after hearing last week that the company was getting ready to introduce its Honor 4A. Today the manufacturer makes good on those teasers, going official with its new mid-ranger. Make no mistake: the Honor 4A is in a different league than those new ZTE Axon devices, with some very conservative specs. But while it won't win any benchmark contests, the hardware ...

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    ZTE may already have launched its flagship Axon smartphone in the US last week, but it's been clear that the story behind this handset was far from over. After all, just yesterday we caught wind of a seemingly upgraded version of the Axon for China, enjoying the addition of a fingerprint scanner. Today we get the full picture on the Axon lineup as ZTE introduces a series of models for the Chinese market, including a smartwatch. First we have the Axon proper, picking up a fingerprint scanner which the US version didn't have, but seeing its RAM drop at the same time to just 3GB. There still ...

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    The new Motorola Moto G has been one of the most leaked phones in recent memory, popping up in pic after pic as we look forward to Motorola's launch event next week. Recently, we've been seeing those leaks expand to cover some premature retailer listings, and shared one such posting with you overnight. But as shouldn't be too surprising when we've got an unannounced device like this, not everyone agrees on all the specifics, and this afternoon we're checking out yet another Moto G 2015 retailer page, this one painting a very different picture of the smartphone. Didn't love the Snapdragon ...

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    Microsoft helped usher-in spring this year with the launch of a new tablet, adding to its Surface line with the introduction of the Surface 3, the first non-Pro Surface to run a full version of Windows (and enjoy the same broad software support) and avoid all those RT shenanigans. And while the Surface 3 started hitting stores in early May, initial availability was only for the tablet's WiFi-only option. LTE would be on the way eventually, and today we get word of the first US carrier to offer just such an LTE-equipped Surface 3. AT&T begins Surface 3 sales later this week, where the ...

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    The past few years have been rocky ones for some heavyweights in the SoC industry. It wasn't that long ago when NVIDIA was at the top of its game, and now its chips struggles to find homes. And more recently we've seen signs of trouble for Qualcomm, too, as controversy surrounds the Snapdragon 810 and companies like Samsung turn to in-house efforts for flagship handsets. With Qualcomm about to reveal its Q3 financial figures this week, new rumors suggest that the SoC-maker may be about to consider a big change to help improve its business outlook, splitting its operations as a maker of ...

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    Do you know where your smartphone's been? Actually, maybe you know all too well, having left your handset on all manner of grimy tables, sticky counters, or other surfaces of questionable character. Or maybe you turn your back for just a moment and your cousin's four-year-old suddenly has his unwashed playground hands all over your unattended phone. But now you can take comfort knowing that even if your smartphone's been in some gross situations, you won't be suffering as a result, as we get word of the first handset protected by new antimicrobial Gorilla Glass. Beyond offering the usual ...

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    Back in the early days of 2014, ZTE introduced its Boost Max Android smartphone for – who else – Boost Mobile. The mid-ranger wasn't the most affordable phone we'd ever seen, nor the best-equipped, but it did stand out thanks to one key feature: a killer battery life thanks to marrying those middle-of-the-road specs with a phablet-sized 3200mAh battery. These days the Axon may be ZTE's big bet in the States, but it's not done with the Boost Max family just yet, and today introduces the follow-up Boost Max+. The specs are a bit of a mixed bag, some taking bigger steps forward than ...

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    Right now, Google's offering early access to Android M as a developer preview, and while those releases for Nexus hardware give us the opportunity to go hands-on with the software ahead of its broader launch later this year, they leave us with a few unanswered questions about how Android M will land. The one that gets speculated upon the most may be which dessert item ends up providing the final M-name, but just as big a mystery has been the version numbering Android M will finally take. While nothing's yet official, a compelling theory offers a pretty good guess at just where Android M ...

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    Google I/O back in May marked the beginning of a new era for image management on Android devices, as Google launched the new Google Photos (above). While many users quickly transitioned to the new service (and corresponding app), Google kept the lights on over at the old Google+ version of Photos … at least for the time being. About a month ago we started picking up signs that the beginning of the end was here, with the latest update to the Google+ Photos app warning us that it would soon stop working – but stopping short of offering a hard-out date. Today Google explains just how and ...

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    As we mentioned a little earlier today when checking out one of the latest leaks of upcoming Motorola smartphone hardware, despite the Moto X being arguably the more exciting of the handsets we're looking forward to, the new Moto G has been positively dominating the leaks that have arrived to date. That continues to be true this afternoon, as we take a look at a couple pics of what's reportedly a new Moto G store dummy unit, one that gives us a peak at the phone's defenses against environmental onslaught. The existing Moto G, you may remember, offers water resistance, and while the ...

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    Last week we saw ZTE introduce its Axon phone, a smartphone launch notable not just for the hardware it brought to market, but for the way the manufacturer went about doing so: rather then tackle US smartphone sales with some re-hash of an existing model, ZTE elected to give America its own phone, and a big part of its Axon launch was emphasizing the “designed in the US, for the US” aspect of it. That may well be true, but a recent entry over at China's TENAA (more or less the country's FCC) reveals that the nation sure appears to be getting its own edition of the Axon, and one that ...

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    Motorola's upcoming July 28 event is all over our thoughts this week, especially as we look to pick up any last-minute leaks helping to prepare our expectations for the company's announcements. And while we're certainly looking forward to a nice selection of smartphones, what about other mobile products? Despite how much we might like to see a new Moto 360, that's still very much a long shot, but there's one accessory that now definitely looks like it will be making an appearance, as a newly revised Moto Hint wireless earbud make an early debut. It may look just like the first Moto Hint, ...

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    Slowly but surely, Pebble's latest wearables have been becoming available to more and more shoppers. We're still in the Pebble Time phase of deployment – Pebble Time Steel will be on its way soon, though – and have been moving past initial shipments fulfilling crowding commitments to the first steps towards broader retail availability, with Best Buy accepting Pebble Time pre-orders. Today that path to retail sales reaches its inevitable conclusion, as Pebble shares word of the Pebble Time coming to Best Buy and Target stores. In addition to accepting orders online, both retailers will ...

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    In just over a week, on July 28, Motorola's holding an event that all indications point to being its launch platform for new smartphone hardware - and specifically we're expecting to see the company introduce the new Moto X and new Moto G. Of the two, it's this year's Moto G that's found itself the star of the majority of recent Motorola leaks, including some recent hands-on pics, and we've been left with a pretty strong sense of what to expect from the smartphone. Today we add to all that unofficial info with some data from a much more formal source, while also getting new corroboration ...

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    Companies making smartphones have lots of opportunities to help their handsets stand out from the pack, and we're well used to seeing brands deploy style cues that help make their phones easily recognizable, whether the woven back of a Motorola Droid or the bright polycarbonate of a Lumia handset. For Android OEMs, that ability for a company to give its phones a tell-tale look extends well beyond hardware, and the majority of manufacturers out there also outfit their phones with a customized user interface – their own Android skin. Some companies have been far more successful than others ...

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    Shooting time-lapse video with your phone's camera is nothing new, and smartphone users have been putting together sped-up clips for ages. And while regular software does a great job at temporally compressing footage, that faster-than-life effect has a nasty habit of amplifying changes in camera orientation over time, resulting in a jarring, sometimes unpleasant-to-watch experience. Microsoft thought that there must be a better way to create this kind of video, and came up with its Hyperlapse system to smooth-out and stabilize time-lapse footage. Back in May we saw the Hyperlapse app for ...

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    It's been a year now since Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab S tablets with their bright, beautiful OLED displays. For the past few months, we've been hearing about the company's work towards a second-gen update to the line, giving the tablets a new shape, possibly a very slim build, and what could be some best-in-class hardware. All that's left, really, is for Samsung to formally introduce the models. Rumors of a June launch event clearly haven't panned out, but now we may finally be ready to see these guys go official, with word that Samsung may launch the Galaxy Tab S2 first thing next ...

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    ZTE isn't messing around when it comes to the US smartphone market, and earlier this week the manufacturer made its battle plan official, announcing the all-new Axon handset. With top-shelf specs ranging from its quad HD screen, to Snapdragon 810 SoC, to all the RAM you could possibly hope to use, there's a lot to love here, and that's just on the hardware side. ZTE also makes some smart calls with software, not bogging the phone down with a bloated skin. Understandably, we're looking forward to the Axon's retail debut later this month. You can pre-order the Axon now for just about $450, ...

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    Microsoft's Cortana voice-powered virtual assistant is going cross-platform, with plans in motion to bring Cortana to both Android and iOS. When Microsoft first shared this news in late May, it spoke of making the initial Cortana Android app available sometime in June, with the iOS release following later in the year. However, by mid-June Microsoft had revised its schedule a little, and instead informed us that the first Android Cortana beta would land sometime in July. We still haven't seen any sign of an official release, but today we've got the next best thing, as the Cortana Android ...

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