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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    It sure feels like Google could be ready to introduce the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and public release of Android L at nearly any moment; multiple rumors have suggested launches on various days this week, though for the moment Google's done little to have us feeling particularly confident about any given one. But while details of a specific launch announcement may remain unclear, there's definitely something brewing; look no further than to the new trio of Android video ads, one of which sure seems to feature a jumbo-sized Android L phone – perhaps the Nexus 6? You can see that bit in the first ...

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    It used to be that Android was king of the low-priced tablet game: with even 2012's iPad models continuing to fetch premium prices, Apple's in no hurry to discount its hardware, whereas Android has no problem filling that sub-$300 space with plenty of tablets. Granted, there was a lot of crap down there mixed in with the few really good values, but at least affordable tablets were out there for those who wanted them. Now that Windows has emerged as an affordable tablet platform, we've seen a glut of similarly low-priced tablet hardware. But can it go even lower than the $100 price point ...

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    Back in the summer, before Apple launched its Apple Watch and when Android Wear was only just seeing its third model announced, we were talking about the idea of a Microsoft smartwatch – one that was said to come out this very month, in fact. Those rumors may have seriously cooled down in recent months, but Microsoft is still clearly thinking a lot about smartwatches. Over the weekend, news of a surprising smartwatch effort from the company emerged, not in the advancement of any Microsoft-branded wearables, but as it shared word of an experimental keyboard it had baked up for Android ...

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    Rumors have been quite insistent that some sort of new Nexus hardware is right about to be launched. That might be the Nexus 9 this week, or maybe the Nexus 6 a little later on this month, but the idea that one, if not both of them, are just about to debut is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. And when that hardware arrives, it's almost sure to do so alongside the public release of Android L – but not under that name. After all, the “L” was merely a placeholder until we get the official name of this Android release's dessert of choice. Would it be layer cake? Lemon meringue pie? ...

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    October's a month that's shaping up to be defined by a few high-profile launches: we've got Apple's presumed iPad event later this week, and rumors continue to suggest that Google's announcing at least some new Nexus hardware before October's out. And while those may be the most headline-grabbing mobile products, others are set to make their debut as well, and right at the end of the month Oppo plans to introduce the world to its N3 flagship. Well, “introduce” may not be quite the right word, considering the extent to which the manufacturer has been teasing the phone's launch these ...

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    Hankering for a new iPad? You're in luck, as with Apple's next press event just days away, we're almost certain to get news of at least one new iPad model. Most likely to make an appearance is the second-gen iPad Air, a tablet we've heard plenty about in leaks and rumors, as well as managed to recently check out on camera – well, at least a dummy unit. Today we step that up to what seems to be some real hardware, before looking some very well done concept renders. First up are the components, and the most notable one here is the tablet's main logic board. It's a bit difficult to make out ...

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    T-Mobile just shared word of its plans to get sales of the Xperia Z3 started a little later this month, and while that was good to hear on its own, it also got us wondering about the fate of the Xperia Z3 Compact. After all, last week saw Sony add a “buy” link to its US listing for the Z3 Compact, though at the time, clicking it didn't take you anywhere useful. Today, we say that change, as Sony kicks-off US sales of its pint-sized powerhouse. Sony's got the Xperia Z3 Compact in black, white, orange, and green, all going for just about $530. The handset has band support that should ...

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    Perhaps it was an inevitability: a smartphone accessory maker takes a look at the Samsung Gear VR, doesn't see much more than a couple lenses and a plastic shell, and thinks, “hey, I could do that!” We're still waiting for sales of the Samsung model to begin, but imitators aren't waiting around any to get their own products out, and today we see the launch of what's being billed as a more affordable, cross-platform alternative to Gear VR, the VR One from Carl Zeiss. Yup, just like the lenses in your camera: that Carl Zeiss. Only now, the company's got a VR headset with interchangeable ...

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    Last week, Sony and Verizon got together to announce the forthcoming release of the Xperia Z3v for the carrier. While that was interesting news to get, it wasn't quite the big Sony push back into the US that some of its fans had been hoping for, and also did nothing to explain what the Z3 situation on T-Mobile would look like. After all, the carrier had already confirmed its plans to carry the Xperia Z3 – we just needed to get details about when that would occur and how it would happen. Last week may have left us high and dry, but today T-Mobile comes through with some answers, welcoming ...

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    If you listened to this week's Pocketnow Weekly podcast, you heard us discussing yesterday's Sony event which ultimately brought us the Xperia Z3v for Verizon – and which, to our disappointment, wholly ignored the oh-so-interesting Xperia Z3 Compact. Understandably, we were starting to become nervous that Sony would steer clear of the US once again with this smartphone, drastically limiting its appeal to audiences in the States. But had we spoken too soon? Without much fanfare, Sony has added a listing for the Z3 Compact to its page of phones for the US market. Now, to be clear, the Z3 ...

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    What does “soon” mean in the smartphone world? When you hear that a hot new phone is hitting the carrier of your choice “soon,” are you anticipating it to land maybe in the next couple weeks? Possibly next month? Back in August, we saw the debut of the shockingly compelling Sharp Aquos Crystal, an Android handset with a bezel around its screen so narrow it's essentially not even there. And word that this phone would arrive for the crazy low price of $240 with no contractual obligation sounded almost too good to be true. We were told it was coming soon to Sprint... and then August ...

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    Yesterday we were checking out the latest in what's been a news-packed week of Droid Turbo stories, looking at the evidence suggesting that the Motorola smartphone could have a massive 3900mAh battery. At the time, we were musing on the way leaks, rumors, and teases of the Droid Turbo had been building up to the point we're at now, and mentioned the mysterious DroidLanding Twitter account. The account's activity has generally correlated with new Droid model launches in the past, and when we saw it spring back into action in early September, we were optimistic that this Droid Turbo would be ...

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    Ever since Google officially unveiled Android L this past summer, we've been looking forward to Material Design continuing to spread across the company's software offerings. One of those that's received a lot of attention has been the Play Store, and over the past several months we've had a few opportunities to check out leaks detailing the ways the Play Store was set to evolve with the arrival of this refresh. This week, the changes go live, as Google begins distribution of its Play Store 5.0 release. If you've been following those leaks you've already got a good sense of what to expect: ...

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    We're coming up on two months now from the launch of the HTC One M8 for Windows, an overdue flagship-level WP handset from someone other than the Nokia/Microsoft juggernaut. And while we were very excited to see an Android phone we loved get the Windows Phone treatment, the release of the device left a bit to be desired, hitting the US as a carrier exclusive, bound to Verizon. But even with that restriction we had cause to be optimistic, as it became clear that Verizon's exclusivity was a temporary launch thing, and that other carriers would pick up the phone for themselves in time: ...

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    Over the course of the past several weeks, the notion of HTC delivering Google's next Nexus tablet has been looking more and more likely, culminating earlier this week in reported confirmation from an HTC executive. But beyond that, we had FCC docs, leaked renders, and rumor after rumor suggesting this guy was coming. While Google has yet to share any launch plans, a couple dates next week have been suggested as particularly strong possibilities, meaning we could be just days away from the model's debut. But for all the answers about this hardware that seem to have been coming our way, one ...

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