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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    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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    A tide may be turning in Android waters, as heavy manufacturer skinning gives way to demand for cleaner, pure Google offerings. While in the past that meant going with a Nexus device, last year brought us the Google Play edition of handsets, not to mention near-stock efforts from companies like Motorola. And now with Android One on the horizon, this trend is set to continue. Today we learn about another OEM that's looking to get in on some of this action in its own way, as ZTE reveals plans to feature the Google Now launcher on its phones. The Google Now launcher debuted with the Nexus 5 ...

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    Samsung's latest tablets are out now, marrying high-res quad HD displays with the bold colors and deep blacks afforded by the use of OLED panels: the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and 10.5. And though these tablets may be currently available for purchase, they could use a little push to help get sales going; the delayed availability of the LTE models, and corresponding lack of carrier promotion, certainly can't be helping. So Samsung is turning to other companies to help bring the Tab S into the spotlight, and today announced an unorthodox promo campaign, using the Galaxy Tab S to introduce the next ...

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    Samsung and Google have a complicated relationship that's seemed more than a little strained over the past year or so. Back in January things really came to a head, as Samsung debuted the Magazine UX for its latest tablets. Google was concerned with the extent to which Samsung seemed to be reinventing Android, pushing its own look and own services to the forefront, at the expense of Google's efforts. But the companies quickly came to an understanding, and the signing of a long-term licensing agreement appeared to indicate that peace had been brokered. But would that last? A new report ...

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    It feels like complaints about in-app purchases have been rolling in ever since the feature arrived, as users found themselves (or family members with access to their devices) inadvertently racking up excessive bills. And over the years, we've seen the companies behind these app stores implement additional restrictions, protections, and notifications to try and mitigate user concerns. Still, regulatory agencies have been quite critical of what they see as inadequate steps to address the problem, and continue to go after app stores that they feel aren't doing their best to rein in unwanted ...

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    The companies behind smartphones aren't always on the best terms with devs. Sure, they want to see new apps come out that help really show off their hardware and software, but some can also be a little resistant to devs interested in more elaborate hacks, like the kind we see from the custom ROM community. That's why it's reassuring when OEMs make a point to publicly support developer efforts, and that's what we're seeing from Oppo tonight, as the company announces its involvement as an Elite Sponsor for this year's XDA:DevCon gathering. Oppo joins manufacturers like Sony and OnePlus in ...

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    A month and a half ago, Samsung announced its first commercial Tizen smartphone, the Samsung Z. The hardware seemed pretty capable, with a 4.8-inch 720p display and even the heart rate monitor from the Galaxy S5, but it didn't take long before we started developing some concerns about the phone's arrival, especially as Samsung withdrew the phone's announcement from a planned event at a Russian Tizen dev conference, citing a need to beef-up its app portfolio. The manufacturer said the phone would be appearing “later,” and we were still in the promised Q3 availability window, but after ...

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