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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    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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    Whether you're shooting a ton of photos, recording 4K video, listening to FLAC audio files, or installing multi-hundred-megabyte games (to say nothing of system updates), there are a hell of a lot of ways to quickly fill up your phone's internal storage. Micro SD expansion might seem like the logical solution, but what seems like a growing number of phones are taking that option away from users. And while there's the cloud, connectivity, security, and just straight-up convenience issues may dissuade users from that option. That leaves the best option for most of our data needs as our ...

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    Leaks to date have suggested that Samsung is planning something new for the S Pen stylus we'll find in the Galaxy Note 5. While past Galaxy Note models exposed the end of the S Pen while tucked away within the phablet, allowing users to pull it out with the graze of a fingernail, Galaxy Note 5 leaks have suggested an S Pen that sits flush along the phone's body, with no exposed rim by which to pull the stylus out. That's helped fuel a few theories about the the new S Pen might operate, and now one of the latest case designs to arrive might be able to let us narrow things down even further. ...

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    Do you install every update that's released for your computer? Sure, often installing updates is smart advice, keeping your PC armed with all the latest security features, but updates do a lot more than simply protect our machines from malicious attackers. Sometimes an update changes the way the system functions; one may even remove previously available features. As such, some users choose to carefully screen if and when updates are approved for installation on their machines. But from the looks of the latest Windows 10 Insider preview, that degree of choice is about to go away for the ...

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    Xiaomi is a powerhouse Android OEM, and the company's already sizable sales only grew in the first half of the year. And while the manufacturer's selling tens of millions upon tens of millions of phones, it's doing so without a presence in some big international markets, the US included. Earlier this year we heard rumors about possible US expansion, but the company was quick to shoot them down, instead revealing an effort to start small with accessories (while leaving the door open for a later expansion into US phone sales). In a new interview, VP Hugo Barra talks a little more about ...

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    LG's working on what should be some impressive new Android hardware: that much we know. The company's been talking about such plans for months now, intending to release another flagship-level device sometime later this year. As for what form that might take, we've heard some good theories, and the rumored G4 Pro is a prime contender. Beyond that there have also been suggestions that the company could be cooking up another Nexus phone – so one way or the other (if not both), we've got some new hardware to key an eye out for. That's just what we're up to this evening as we learn about some ...

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    Android's not just the biggest mobile platform out there; it's also one that's showing some noteworthy growth. Even in the US, where Android faces staunch competition from Apple, the platform's been picking up lots of new users, with its market share rising some three percent over the last quarter. As a result, it should be no surprise that Google's doing quite well for itself, and today the company discloses its latest financial figures, reporting nearly $18 billion in revenues, representing 11 percent growth since last year. Most relevant to our interests are the extent to which mobile ...

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    Jolla and its alternative mobile Sailfish OS have been finding themselves in the news a lot of sudden, first prompted by news of the company's split into hardware and software halves. Then just yesterday we caught word of a new Sailfish-powered handset on its way from Indian OEM Intex, set to debut as the first handset running the new Sailfish OS 2.0. Well, today those Intex plans go official, and beyond naming Intex as its first Sailfish OS licensing partner, Jolla's also giving us another peek at the upgraded Sailfish OS 2.0 itself. We first got to see Sailfish OS 2.0 when previewing the ...

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    Earlier this week we got to wondering about the HTC Grip, after seeing some certification paperwork for the wearable surface over at the Bluetooth SIG. When HTC first announced the Grip fitness tracker back at MWC, the company said that it was looking to get sales started during the spring. And since it hasn't shown up at retail since, we we've been wondering what was going on. Those Bluetooth docs had us hopeful that a release might be nearing, and we reached out to HTC for comment. Today we get our answer, and it's not necessarily a great one, as HTC confirms that plans for the Grip have ...

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    To hear the latest rumors, we're less than a month away from Samsung's next Unpacked event, when the company might introduce both the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+, more or less a no-stylus version of the Note 5 with a dual-curved-edge screen. And if Samsung really is looking to get a head-start on the IFA launches that will follow a few weeks later, it would only make sense for us to start seeing the arrival of the kind of phone evidence that usually lands just prior to a handset going official. That's just what we're looking at today, as certification paperwork surfaces at the ...

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    Back in April, the OnePlus One reached a turning point: after months of invites, pre-orders, and just a generally convoluted ordering process, the smartphone was finally dropping all that business and the manufacturer was making the phone available to just straight-up buy. It had taken long enough to get there, but we sure were glad to see the phone reach that point. However, at the same time we learned that this time of no invites would be short-lived, and that invites would ultimately return for the phone's sequel. With the OnePlus 2 nearly ready to launch, OnePlus is now taking the time ...

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    Motorola sure appears to be working on a number of new handsets, as recent leaks have been only too willing to reveal. We've not only had the opportunity to check out a bunch of newly leaked photos, but finally started closing in on a launch date, with a rumor suggesting that at least one of these models – the next-gen Moto G – could be getting ready to make its debut on July 28. Today that date picks up some official backing, as Motorola starts sending out announcements for a launch event. As you can see above, Motorola warns us that our relationship status (with our phones, that is) ...

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    HTC first introduced its One M9+ all the way back in April, a slightly larger cousin of the One M9 that picks up a quad HD screen and fingerprint scanner. Since its initial debut for China, we've seen the One M9+ spread to additional markets like India. At first HTC said that it wasn't currently planning to bring sales of the phone to Europe, but recent rumors have suggested sales were on the way, tipped to get started sometime in Q3. Today HTC finally makes those plans official, confirming the One M9+'s availability in Europe. The One M9+ Europe is getting is the very same model we've ...

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    OnePlus got the ball rolling on the pre-launch specs it was announcing for its OnePlus 2 handsets a little under a month ago as it shared news of its choice of the Snapdragon 810 for the phone's SoC. As this is probably the most controversial SoC in recent memory, the company made a point to emphasize how overheating wouldn’t be an issue for the chip, due in part to “an improved version of the chipset (v2.1) in the OnePlus 2.” We've already heard about how early 810 issues were blamed on pre-production silicon, so you might have assumed that we were looking forward to another update ...

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    Being the dedicated smartphone enthusiasts we are, we love to see a market where shoppers have plenty of mobile platform options, and for as great as Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone can be, we welcome the opportunity for others to enter the arena and show why their own operating systems are worth our smartphone-buying dollar. Last week we got some interesting news concerning one of the companies behind these up-and-coming platforms, as Jolla shared word of a major restructuring, splitting its hardware business from work on Sailfish OS. And while we'll need time to learn just how that ...

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    Two weeks from today is July 29, the day when we formally begin the era of Windows 10. Microsoft's been working like gangbusters to get the software ready for release, and some of you likely participated in your own way by testing an advance copy of the OS through the company's Insider program. Now with the big release date in sight, Microsoft has been shifting its focus towards dealing with some of these down-to-the-wire issues, things like temporarily halting availability of new Insider builds so it can work on its update distribution system. One of the most important of these late-stage ...

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