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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    Who's your virtual assistant of choice? Are you a die-hard Siri user, running the app since even before Apple bought it up? Or have you been won over by Google Now and its tight integration with your phone's launcher? Maybe you're a new Cortana fan, eager to spend more time seeing what Microsoft can bring to this race. That last one's still a little too new to be included in this study, but a recent analyst report took a look at the performance of Google Now and Siri, evaluating a number of factors, and while both exhibit improvements, Google Now looks like it's just barely starting to ...

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    It almost seems like par for the course by this point: you're a major smartphone OEM, you release your latest flagship handset, and then a couple months later you follow that up with a tweaked edition boasting some slightly better hardware (and available only in a very limited market). Samsung did that with its LTE-A Galaxy S5, just as it had with the GS4 before it, and we'd been tracking rumors of LG working on a similar upgrade for its G3. A little earlier this month we spotted what looked like official confirmation of just such a G3 on an LG site, and today the hardware finally sees a ...

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    Chinese OEM Xiaomi has been catching out attention lately with some decent hardware, like the Tegra K1-powered Mi Pad or the very affordable Redmi 1S we just took a look at. Now it's back with both a high-end smartphone and super-cheap wearable, as the company introduces the Mi 4 and Mi Band. The Mi 4 sports a five-inch 1080p display, runs a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801, and has a solid 3GB of RAM. The phone packs a 13MP main camera, very high res 8MP front-facer, and offers either 16GB or 64GB of internal storage. And to power that hardware, Xiaomi gives the phone a phablet-sized 3,080mAh ...

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    Earlier this month, details started coming together in a hurry about NVIDIA's plans for its latest Android hardware, and we rounded last week out with a detailed leak seeming to reveal all about the company's new Shield Tablet. The hardware specs and product shots making up that find were accompanied by rumors of a July 22 launch date, and just as promised, NVIDIA has gone ahead and formally unveiled its new gaming lineup. The Shield Tablet is the star of the show, with an eight-inch 1080p display and Tegra K1 SoC. It will work with NVIDIA's GameStream PC-streaming tech, as well as third ...

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    A couple weeks back, we saw OnePlus tease something new for its One smartphone. The company told us to “knock on wood” for a July 22 announcement, and unless we were seriously misinterpreting the signs, that sure looked like the company following-up on earlier plans to deliver a variety of alternate One backplates, including a bamboo option. With the day now upon us, OnePlus has gone ahead and confirmed our expectations, revealing the OnePlus One bamboo StyleSwap cover. While it's great to see the cover confirmed like this, four months following the initial StyleSwap announcement, its ...

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    Last week saw the US make some big progress towards giving smartphone owners back the ability to unlock their handsets as they please. And while we very much look forward to the day when that right will once again be insured, right now many carriers already do a decent job at unlocking phones when asked. Sure, they often impose a variety of conditions that need to be fulfilled before they'll grant those requests, but if your phone is eligible, unlocking can be as close as a phone call away. By the looks of things, though, T-Mobile is interested in streamlining that process even further, ...

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    Two years ago, Apple did the nearly unthinkable, and made a big change to the iPhone's design. After years and years of releasing handsets with 3.5-inch displays, the iPhone 5 ushered-in the era of the four-inch screen. Last year Apple returned with more of the same, but if we're to believe the abundance of rumors, this year's going to mark the next major shift. Instead of another four-incher, sources would have us believe that Apple is making the push up to 4.7 inches for the iPhone 6, and we could even see that one joined by a still-larger 5.5-inch phablet. As we continue to bring you ...

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    Congratulations Tyler Martin (no, not Taylor, so lose the nepotistic conspiracy theories), you're our lucky winner! Check you email for your notification, and we'll get you that code straight away. Everyone else, swing back around on Monday for details of our next contest; no more invite codes this time around. ___ Whoa, déjà vu! Didn't you guys already... you had a OnePlus One before... I entered this last week, right? No, your wits haven't left you: as we continue Pocketnow's summer of smartphone giveaways, we're following-up last week's OnePlus One invite giveaway with another ...

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    It's been over two months since we saw HTC introduce its One mini 2, and it wasn't long after the handset went official that rumors started putting two and two together and worked out that the HTC One Remix that had been teased for Verizon was likely to be a carrier-renamed version of the One mini 2. But even with that mystery solved, when might the Remix actually arrive, ready for sale? A couple weeks back we saw Verizon appear to be warming up for the handset's release, as a promo video went live a little ahead of schedule, and now we get word that the wait may nearly be over, with a new ...

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    Smartphone carriers are in this business to make money, and when we're talking maximizing profits, there are two obvious ways to boost income: charging more, or offering less. For some carriers, that “offering less” angle has taken the form of doing away with old unlimited data plans, and favoring tiered offerings, instead; both AT&T and Verizon axed their old unlimited data plans years ago. Now a new survey attempts to show just what kinds of plans current subscribers have with the major US carriers, and it looks like there's a surprising number of users still clinging to those ...

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    Is obsessing over smartphone thinness a race to the bottom where no one ends up winning? It's difficult to even discuss super-thin phones without inviting a chorus of groans, complaining about manufacturers who sacrifice performance, durability, and all too often a decently sized battery, all in the name of being the thinnest handset around. And while you won't find us particularly cheering-on their development, we're still interested in seeing the results of these limits being pushed. For about the past year now, the thinnest smartphones around have been living in the five-millimeter ...

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    Is HTC really making the next Nexus tablet? As rumors go, this one has been incredibly persistent (especially in the absence of hard evidence), but sources continue to point towards plans for the release of an 8.9-inch HTC model. As we patiently wait to see if there's any truth to that idea, word has come in that this Nexus 9 may not be alone, and HTC's return to the world of tablets could see the manufacturer deliver another couple models in addition to the Nexus. According to @evleaks, HTC has been working on tablets with designations T7 and T12, beyond the T1 Nexus tablet. That ...

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    Over the past couple months, we've witnessed no shortage of Motorola leaks, though the subject of nearly all of them has been the Moto X+1, the presumptive sequel to last year's Moto X. Despite all we've seen, including a number of hands-on videos, that phone's true nature continues to remain a bit elusive. As we wait for that story to finally come together we've got another Motorola leak to check out, this time seeming to address a lower-tier spot in the company's lineup, with a pic that just might be a new Moto G model. Reportedly the company's model XT 1068, the new Moto G would keep ...

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    Over three months have passed since Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 at Build 2014, and the distribution of OTA updates has finally begun; users in more and more markets are upgrading to the latest version of the platform, and those who haven't yet will be joining them soon. But Build wasn't just about the main 8.1 release itself, and also brought us news about some of the add-on features that would be arriving to complement it. For instance, we were told about big changes coming to the lockscreen, with a new API delivering never-before-seen (on Windows Phone) levels of customization. ...

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    This summer we've been trying to work out what's next for NVIDIA and its Android hardware, focusing on what new Shield products might be coming. We saw something at the FCC that might be a new Shield handheld console, and there's been talk of a Shield tablet, as well. Yesterday, the tablet part of that equation started coming into focus, with a render depicting hardware that borrowed its look from last year's Tegra Note. But what about the handheld with the integrated controller? And what of specs could we look forward to from that tablet? Answers may be at our door, as a new leak sheds a ...

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