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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    We know that global availability of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge begins on April 10; Samsung made that much very clear at its announcement. And no sooner did the phones go official than carriers were quick to chime-in with their own plans to sell the models. However, the carriers themselves weren't being too forthright with dates – we heard plenty of “April” and “spring,” but an almost suspicious lack of “yes, we'll have the GS6 on April 10.” Would we end up seeing some lag behind international sales by days, if not weeks? We still don't quite have the full picture, but ...

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    HTC just launched its One M9 with a 2840mAh battery. Samsung gave the Galaxy S6 a 2550mAh battery. And yet the iPhone 6 only has one that comes in at 1810mAh. Now sure, it's a smaller phone, and there's always the 6 Plus with its larger battery, but that doesn't change the iPhone 6's reputation as a phone where its battery life is often considered just “OK;” it'll usually get you through most of the day, though heavy usage will take its toll. In a recent interview, Apple design guru Jony Ive touches on the issue of the iPhone's battery life, and he paints the picture of bit of a ...

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    So far when it comes to leaked pics of purported Sony Xperia Z4 components, we've seen a lot of display panels. There was that early set back in November, as well a few new pics surfacing about a month ago. While those were quite interesting, they left us without a comprehensive view of this upcoming hardware. Now a fresh series of images has arrived to offer new insight to Sony's desing changes, comparing the Z4's frame to that of the Z3. First up, this supposed Z4 looks like it's dropping its microSD and SIM slots – or at least, they're not where they used to be. Clearly the phone ...

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    HTC's MWC press event this past Sunday brought us the One M9 along with a few hardware surprises, but what we didn't get was anything like the rumored quad HD larger-screened One M9 Plus. Had all the reports been as wrong about that as they were about the M9's Nexus 9/Desire-looking makeover? Well, there's always the possibility that it's coming at a later date. If that's to be the case, we could expect to see more leaks of the hardware emerge between no and whenever it finally does go official. As fate would have it, a new set of possible One M9 Plus imagery has just turned up - but can ...

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    Changes are shifting in the smartphone market. Once-dominant players have fallen to the wayside, and even seemingly unstoppable juggernauts are seeing their market share chipped-away at by budget-minded newcomers able to deliver shoppers more value for their money. Even the software landscape is changing, as alternate platforms rise in prominence and custom ROMs evolve from hobbyist pursuits to put on new cloaks of legitimacy. Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster recently talked with Business Insider about some of these changes, and as far as he's concerned, companies like Samsung should be worried ...

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    The custom configuration options offered by Motorola's Moto Maker service add up to one of the most engaging mobile hardware shopping experiences you'll find anywhere; the ability to experiment with different design elements and instantly see the result can be hugely satisfying. And though it's been around for a while, not everyone's been able to take full advantage it. Following initial US availability, we've seen the service expand into select markets abroad, but you still can't get it everywhere. At the Mobile World Congress this week, Motorola President Rick Osterloh talked a little ...

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    Apple's got an event coming up on Monday, where the company is almost sure to bring news about its Apple Watch wearable. First announced late last summer, Apple fans have been patiently waiting for the smartwatch to make its retail debut ever since. With that day soon to be here, some last-minute rumors are attempting to clue us in on what we should (and shouldn't) expect from the watch's hardware. Shoppers buying Apple mobile hardware have had the option to get purchases custom engraved for years now, adding a little personal touch. However, it's been a little hit-and-miss just which ...

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    With MWC ending, our fickle smartphone attention is sure to start turning to whatever's next, eager to latch-on to the next big handset to launch. Sure, Apple's got that event coming up on Monday, but that's likely to be the Apple Watch's shindig, with no major handset new expect. Maybe next on our radar will be LG, with its next-gen G4 expected for sometime this spring. Yesterday we checked out a report where LG not only talked about a G4-killing superphone, but also shed some light on expectations for the arrival of the phone itself, mentioning a debut following the launch of the LG UX ...

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    Earlier this week we took a look at the GSM Association's picks for the best mobile hardware of the year: the iPhone 6, LG G3, Surface Pro 3, and Moto 360 emerged as the big winners. But while the GSMA announces its winners every MWC, it's a little unsatisfying to be handing out awards to all this old hardware at an event that's so very focused on introducing us to brand-new stuff. Luckily for those of us who like to live out on the cutting edge, we won't be waiting another year to learn which of this year's MWC offerings is going to come out on top, as with the expo winding down, the GSMA ...

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    OnePlus formally launched its One back in April of last year, so it's perfectly understandable that we're already getting curious about when a follow-up might be ready. Rumors have already listed some hardware details that make the presumptive OnePlus 2 sound pretty damn appealing, talking about some top-shelf silicon within. Now we're hearing about similarly premium components making up the phone's exterior, as well, with rumors of a metal frame. Reportedly, OnePlus is interested in moving from polycarbonate to metal with the aim of making the OnePlus 2 come off as more of a higher-end, ...

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    Yesterday those just-can't-shake-'em larger-screened iPad rumors popped their head back up again, claiming that Apple both really was intending to get this so-called iPad Pro (or is it Plus?) out this spring, and that those plans have since been shelved, with a fall launch now looking more likely. Say what you will about how a still-unofficial model's release can't be capital-d delayed; that's just what sources have been reporting. Now a new source is attempting to confirm those same post-spring launch rumors, as well as talking a little about possible hardware decisions, including the ...

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    Last month we learned about Google's plans for a big expansion of Wallet, joining forces with the carriers behind Softcard (née ISIS). And while that's good news for Google, Wallet, and arguably Android mobile payments in general, it hasn't been such a promising turn of events for everyone involved. As a result of this new partnership, Softcard as we know it is shutting down, and while its Android users are welcome to transition over to Google Wallet, there's also been a Windows Phone version of Softcard, and that's also being shuttered. This week we finally learn the date on which the ...

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    Have the big flagship launches of MWC 2015 convinced you it's time to get a new smartphone? Oh, who are we kidding? With devices as desirable as the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6, you probably didn't need too much convincing, anyway. But as you start wondering about whether or not you should pick one of these guys up when sales open in the near future, what are you thinking in terms of pricing? Neither manufacturer has yet shared any official pricing data, and while many smartphone shoppers in the US are still going the carrier subsidized route, a growing number of shoppers are ...

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    At this point, it's fair to say that much of the wind has left MWC's sails. From a Sunday packed with pre-MWC launches, we've been seeing a steady dwindling-off of new high-profile hardware as the week unfolds, and by now if a manufacturer had something good to launch at the expo, it's been launched. However, MWC isn't over until tomorrow's done, so we're still out on the show floor looking to check in with devices we might have missed earlier, or taking the time to share with you some of the less show-stopping gadgets that are still worth a few minutes of your time. Let's take a quick ...

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    Where the heck is Apple's new, larger entry into its tablet family, the long-rumored iPad Pro? The supposed 12.9-inch model has been the subject of much discussion for well over a year by this point, but so far it's failed to materialize. Recent spec leaks and shots of extra-large iPad cases have helped fuel reports that Apple could finally launch the larger iPad sometime this spring, and with an Apple event just days away, it wasn't crazy to think that some degree of official news could be forthcoming. However, a new rumor now advises us to temper our expectations, and warns that it's ...

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    Right now, if you're looking to buy a smartwatch, you know to expect to pay a couple hundred dollars. And if you go for a nicer one with a premium strap (assuming you have a choice at all), we might even be talking $300, $350 – somewhere in that range. But in the very near future expectations for smartwatch pricing are about to be turned on their head as Apple reveals the full retail breakdown of its various Apple Watch offerings – prices of which will only just start at that $350 point, and likely growing into the thousands of dollars. How long will it be before other smartwatches ...

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    One of the great things about the nascent wearables market, as more and more manufacturers churn-out product after product in an effort to find what works, is that we get to see a ton of variety in the product types released. Those range from the extremely simple to models that are practically a full-fledged smartwatch strapped to your wrist, with a huge amount of variation in between. We just looked at one of these non-traditional models with Cogito's non-rechargeable watches, and now we're checking out Garmin's Fenix 3. The manufacturer calls this one a “multisport training GPS ...

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    With as many products as are on display at MWC 2015, it can be tough to make your accessory stand out. Deliver something nice and functional, but with a cookie-cutter design, and you're liable to find yourself quickly forgotten. But spruce things up with a little sound, a little light, and dare we say a little motion, and you're well on your way to catching a few eyes. Sony's doing all that at MWC this year, with its unabashedly cute “smart” Bluetooth speaker BSP60. Pairing over NFC and communicating via Bluetooth, the BSP60 is more than just a speaker. It cycles through colors, raises ...

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    Whether we're talking full-blown smartwatch or dainty little fitness tracker, users of wearables everywhere find themselves dealing with the consequences of battery life. You may recharge your watch every day, or your workout band every week, but sooner or later they're going to need new juice. Maker of connected watches Cogito has decided to try something a little different, and at MWC this week we stopped by its booth to learn about what to expect from a non-rechargeable smartwatch. Cogito's watches connect to Android and iOS phones over Bluetooth, and are much more products in the vein ...

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    Last month, NVIDIA sent out invites for a press event this week, talking a lot about gaming. We offered some speculation on what that news might bring, from a new Shield Portable to something involving its GRID cloud gaming service. Now the company is drawing back the curtain on its latest product, announcing the Shield home console running Android TV. Like other Android TV devices, Shield can be as much a media center as game console, but for NVIDIA, it's gaming where it really wants Shield to shine. The box is powered by the company's latest Tegra X1 SoC, armed with a 256-core Maxwell ...

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    When we come to an event like MWC we know we're going to be introduced to new hardware: that's a huge part of the fun in covering expos like this. And while we could report on just-launched devices until we run down our batteries to nothing, MWC isn't just about meeting new gadgets – it's also about learning new things. We checked in with Zeiss in Barcelona this week to learn a little more about how the cameras in our smartphones produce the pictures they do. Zeiss builds the cameras going into the latest Lumia smartphones, so it had better know a thing or two about mobile imaging. We ...

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    LG didn't come to MWC this year intent on making any big launches. The few products we did get, things like the new Watch Urbane, Watch Urbane LTE, and a handful of new mid-rangers, all debuted in the days leading up to expo. But that's fine, because we've still go our sights on the G4, and it's only a matter of time before LG's ready to launch it. But to hear some new talk from company execs, it's not the G4 that will get us really excited, but what's next: a phone that “stands above the G series” as an even higher-end option. LG's Juno Cho has revealed that this new super-flagship is ...

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    Just a couple days into its run, and Mobile World Congress 2015 is already starting to slow down - way down.  That's largely a consequence of so many manufacturers jockeying to get their big announcements out first, leading to a pre-MWC Sunday that was positively stuffed to the brim with new hardware. Ever since, the flow of new phones, tablets, and wearables has been slowing down, though we still got a pretty impressive showing yesterday. Today's offerings have been a bit harder to come by, but we still got to see some good stuff. Let's take a look back on what you might have missed. ...

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    Why have you been following the launches at MWC 2015? Are you interested in seeing it all like we are, or are you here for the big flagship debuts? Either way, this year's show offers few reasons to be disappointed. If your interests lie with those flagships, you've no doubt been paying a lot of attention to the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy S6. Now we're focusing on just these two models in our latest MWC 2015 video hands-on. If you've already watched our day with the One M9 and hands-on with the Galaxy S6, you're off to a good start, but this time we're less interested in what these ...

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    BlackBerry came to MWC this year ready to announce its latest BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Leap, and we've already had the chance to go hands-on with the new hardware. And while the Leap made its formal debut, it wasn't the only hardware BlackBerry brought along to Barcelona, and at its press event this morning the company also offered a sneak peek of a new spin on an aging form factor, showing off an upcoming QWERTY slider model. The BlackBerry lineup is no stranger to portrait-orientation QWERTY sliders, but so far we haven't seen any such models emerge as new BlackBerry 10 devices. At ...

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