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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    What company springs to mind when we're talking about smartphones with extremely scratch resistant sapphire crystal displays? Apple, with its big investment in sapphire and the multitude of rumors pointing to such a screen coming to its next-gen iPhones? Or maybe even last year's failed effort from Ubuntu, and its plans to deliver the sapphire-screened Edge? We've got one more name you should add to that list, as Kyocera drops a teaser for what sure sounds like a sapphire-screened phone of its own. We've already covered ruggedized Androids from Kyocera in the past, so it's not the biggest ...

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    Pocketnow's summer of giveaways continues this week with our latest contest, awarding the winner an invite code to be used for purchasing a 64GB OnePlus One smartphone. We got this one rolling all the way back on Monday, and with entries closing tonight at the stroke of midnight (Eastern), we thought we'd give you one last reminder to get your name in the running. Visit the contest entry page for full details on rules and what you'll need to do to enter. Basically, just follow us on Twitter, leave a comment in our OnePlus One review telling us why you're interested in the phone, and ...

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    Cellular networks the world over are constantly improving, delivering higher speeds and better coverage, but for all the strides they're making, it's still all too easy to find yourself in an area with no coverage. Maybe you're out hiking off the beaten path, or boating around offshore; once you're out of range of the nearest cellular tower, your smartphone suddenly becomes a lot less useful. Or maybe the tower is just operating at capacity, or suffering other technical issues. A new accessory called GoTenna intends to help do something about all that, allowing users a backup communication ...

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    Over the past few months, we've slowly been putting together the picture of what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy Note 4's hardware. Will it feature a quad HD display? Will it have some sort of wrap-around screen? One detail that arrived about a month back was that the phablet might include a UV light sensor on its face, but the rumor wasn't accompanied by any insight into just how that sensor might be used. Now a new leak helps spell out just what Samsung's up to, describing a warning system to protect users against skin damage. Reportedly, the Samsung S Health app will use that UV ...

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    Heat is a fact of life with many mobile devices: when we crank up the brightness on our screens full-blast, or run software that pushes all a processor's cores into overdrive, we expect a handset to heat up in the process. Running warm may be one thing, but it's easy to take things too far, and on the upper end of the spectrum we're looking at glitchy operation, spontaneous power-downs, or even outright damage to hardware. New reports suggest that the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 may be suffering from some serious overheating issues, going so far as to warp the tablet's ...

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    Last week Satya Nadella addressed Microsoft's employees, talking about his vision for where the company's focus needs to lie going forward. This week, that push for change starts hitting closer to home for many, as Microsoft announces layoffs affecting some 18,000 workers. Stephen Elop addresses that difficult decision in a message distributed to the Microsoft Devices Group this morning, but more than just talking about the effect on staff, he also discusses shifting priorities for the business. That won't be without its casualties either, and the first one on the chopping block looks to ...

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    We've already seen a positive flurry of LG G3 S/Beat/Mini news today, and the momentum is not about to slow down now. Following that G3 S user manual and new G3 Beat pics, we've got some fresh G3 S finds that really seem to help flesh-out the phone's picture, as a Russian retailer posts not just some very legit-looking G3 S press renders, but also details the phone's specs. The five-inch 720p display looks confirmed, as does a quad-core 1.2GHz SoC. Not all specs align with what we've heard about the G3 Beat, however, and this listing says the G3 S will arrive with just 1GB of RAM instead ...

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    Rumors about Sony's follow-up to the Xperia Z2 sure are moving along swiftly, and in just a few weeks we've gone from early talk about possible model numbers to images of actual hardware. Just how could soon could this presumptive Xperia Z3 be ready for release? One carrier leak suggested the possibility of a launch before the end of September, and today we check out some new evidence pointing to the phone arriving sooner rather than later, as the FCC publishes some Sony certification docs. The paperwork in question references Sony model PM-0800 as well as PM-0801, otherwise known as D6603 ...

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    Right now in the US, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prevents unauthorized unlocking of smartphone hardware for operation on another carrier. In the past, unlocking had been awarded a specific DMCA exemption, but after that rule failed to be renewed, the practice returned to illegality. Ever since, there's been talk from multiple branches of government suggesting that a change of law needs to happen, firmly establishing the legitimacy of unlocking. We've discussed some of these efforts in the past, but now it looks like real headway is finally being made, as the Senate passes the ...

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    A quad HD smartphone display, like the kind we find on the LG G3 or new Galaxy S5 LTE-A edition, has the obvious benefit of packing a heck of a lot more pixels than a 1080p component. And simply by nature of being the latest-and-greatest, its presence on a phone is going to attract a lot of attention from spec-focused, technically-minded shoppers. But once you get past the novelty of a screen with such incredible pixel density, are there other real benefits to be found? In the case of the GS5 LTE-A's display, that answer looks to be “yes,” as testing confirms some substantially ...

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    Whether you're buying-up companies like Beats, or just focusing on giving your own phones' speakers a little more “oomph,” smartphone manufacturers have been paying a heck of a lot of attention to mobile audio lately. Back in late April we saw Samsung deliver its latest batch of offerings, announcing the Samsung Level lineup of premium audio gear. At the time, we didn't have many details on sales of these devices, but today Samsung fills us in on what to expect as Level comes comes to the US. Samsung's partnering with online retailer Gift.com for the initial US Level release, which ...

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    Feeling a little confused about the rumored LG G3 Mini? We don't blame you, as there's been a lot of talk of different specs, not to mention different names, surrounding the hardware. Late last month we saw an LG G3 Beat for China, a five-inch device that might have been pushing the limits of how large a “Mini” phone could be (but maybe that's exactly why LG gave it a different name). Then just overnight we shared with you the user manual for a device dubbed the G3 S, and while the docs didn't reveal a lot of technical detail, the idea that this could be the Western version of the G3 ...

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    One of the bigger announcements we got from Google during its I/O keynote address was word of the forthcoming Android One initiative. The project gives assistance to OEMs interested in releasing low cost, good quality handsets running a very Nexus-like stock Android build. We heard about a few manufacturers who would be participating, were teased with promises of sub-$100 price tags, and were told that we'd see things get underway sometime this fall. This week, a new report out of India attempts offer a little more detail about those plans, including a more precise release window and ...

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    Last week saw Google take the chopping block to its selection of Play edition devices for sale, pulling the HTC One, Sony Z Ultra, and the LG G Pad 8.3 from its listings. While that may be a sign that new, more modern GPe hardware is on its way, it was still a little shocking to see some of those models retired after just over half a year. If you're wishing you jumped at the chance to buy one when they were available, we've got just the deal for you, as retailer Expansys puts these former (and one still current) GPe models on sale, offering some decent savings in the process. Expansys has ...

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    Dial the clock back thirty years, and it's hard to think of a corporate rivalry much more in the public eye than that between Apple and IBM. We're talking some Coke/Pepsi, Nike/Reebok, Nintendo/Sega-level competition. In the years that have followed, both Apple and IBM have had their respective ups and downs, and the specialties of each have diverged to the point where the two companies are no longer the rivals they once were. This shift has opened the door for them to start working amicably together, and today we see Apple and IBM announce a new partnership to deliver iOS enterprise ...

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