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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    After all the IFA launches last month, not to mention the headline-grabbing debut of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, you might have expected mobile device manufacturers to take a little break, gather their thoughts, and meditate on their strategies for dominating the holiday season. But no, oh no: we find ourselves smack-dab in the midst of another busy period of events. HTC's got its “double exposure” announcement later today, Sony has something to share with us tomorrow, and there's that Oppo N3 launch coming at the end of the month. But between this week's news and that N3 action, there's ...

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    We're just hours away from HTC's “double exposure” event, with the festivities getting underway at 4pm Eastern. We've heard plenty of theories about what hardware the manufacturer could be getting ready to introduce, but the one sure bet seems to be the HTC RE Camera. After all, HTC dropped a teaser video revealing that RE Camera name, and some poking around the corresponding RE Camera website revealed some imagery that appeared to be the camera accessory itself, a little snorkle-looking guy. As we get ready to see HTC make the RE Camera official, we've got one more last-minute leak to ...

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    For as intriguing a smartphone as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is, it's also been a frustrating one to talk about, as even as we find ourselves over a month post-launch, plenty of important details about the model's release have continued to be unavailable. Questions about pricing have forced us to turn to retailer pre-orders, and the best we'd managed to come up with in regards to availability is this vague “later this year” release window. Today Samsung finally comes through with some new launch details, committing to getting Note Edge sales underway by the end of the month. Before ...

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    We're just hours away from HTC's next big event, but one of the company's most anticipated new products isn't one we expect to see at this “double exposure” gathering: the Nexus 9 tablet. Evidence for the tablet's existence has been arriving at unprecedented level in recent weeks, most recently as a picture of the slate itself leaked. But for all we have managed to see, the tablet has remained an unconfirmed rumor. That may finally be changing, as we hear a report that an HTC exec has supposedly verified the manufacturer's plans for the Nexus 9. HTC's Jack Tong, president of HTC North ...

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    Late last week, a new HTC Android suddenly popped up on Verizon's site. There was no primary listing for the handset on the carrier's list of available smartphones, but its support pages revealed the user guide for the then-unannounced HTC Desire 612. The weekend passed without any further motion on this mysterious new Desire, but today the other shoe drops as Verizon formally welcomes the 612 to its lineup. Despite having access to that manual last week, we didn't have a ton of technical details about the 612, and at the time wondered if it would be just a carrier variant of the Desire ...

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    Tomorrow is almost sure to bring us announcements of new HTC hardware, what with its “double exposure” event on our calendar (and don't forget to check back with us tomorrow afternoon for details of everything the company has to share), and while we're expecting the firm to branch out into uncharted territory with products like that RE camera we've seen teased, there's at least one thing we're not particularly likely to get news of: an HTC smartwatch. While the idea of such a device goes back a while, recent rumors have been all over the place, first saying that multiple models were ...

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    Regular users of Google Voice won't hesitate to tell you that the service is ten kinds of awesome, letting them juggle multiple devices while only distributing a single phone number to friends, family, and business contacts. If you're using it for calls or text messages, everything tends to work just fine, but when we start bringing pictures into the mix, a lot of users hit a brick wall. Problem is, Voice support for MMS has been extremely limited, and while we saw Sprint pick it up three years ago, other carriers haven't followed in its tracks... until now, that is. This week, Google has ...

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    The rise of smartphones and tablets may have brought powerful computing to more users than ever before, placed a new focus on software usability, and is leading us into an even more-connected future than anything we've known in the past. And while those are all largely positive evolutionary steps, not everything's been so rosy. The step away from windowed software to an everything-fullscreen UI has almost felt like turning back the clock thirty years, to the days of clunky hacks trying to shoehorn multitasking into DOS. But slowly, the idea of a multi-window mobile app environment seems to ...

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    Samsung arrived at the IFA in Berlin last month ready to impress, bringing along hardware like the Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Gear VR, and Gear S. And while we were expecting a lot of those devices, the company still managed to deliver a few surprises, like its new Galaxy Tab Active. After all, the company had introduced so many new tablets already in 2014 that we figured it had the whole tablet thing out of its system for awhile – but then again, this is Samsung we're talking about, a company never known for much in the way of restraint. The Tab Active certainly wasn't a flagship-level ...

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    Google's next Nexus phone feels like it's so close we can almost touch it. Leaks of the Nexus 6 have been getting bigger and better in recent weeks, and as we approach the Nexus 5's first birthday, all eyes are on Google to see when it plans to go public with what's looking like it will be the first Nexus phablet. As smartphone fans know, one key step on the road to a handset's release is it getting its FCC certification – that's why so many eyes today are turning to a new set of FCC docs from Motorola. Are they really for the Nexus 6, though, or could there be another explanation. The ...

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    Just yesterday we were checking out the latest leaks surrounding Samsung's upcoming Galaxy A-series, the descendents of the also-still-new Galaxy Alpha, and we had the opportunity to check out a new render of the Galaxy A5. At the time we noted that it sure seemed like this phone was getting ready to launch in the near future, and today we're picking up a better sense of just when that might be, with a new source talking about A5 availability, as well as some A7 hardware specs. Supposedly, Samsung is planning to announce the Galaxy A5 (and, we assume, the A3 and A7) sometime later this ...

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    Android Wear as a platform may still be in its infancy, but it's already attracting a growing number of interested manufacturers. From those early days of LG and Motorola we've already seen Samsung hop on board, and IFA last month brought ASUS into the fold with its ZenWatch. We were optimistic that the ZenWatch would become the extreme budget-priced alternative to $200+ Android Wear models, but pricing info available at launch didn't really seem to back that up. Would the situation change before sales of the watch began? We're finding ourselves cautiously optimistic as we pick up some new ...

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    With the successful launch of the iPhone 6 Plus last month, not to mention the Galaxy Note 4, manufacturers have gotten their latest doses of confirmation that the smartphone-buying public continues to be enamored by larger-screened devices. But as we know all too well from experience, larger screens can also mean higher prices: while the latest Galaxy S model may sell on-contract for $200, the season's new Note regularly fetches $300, and the iPhone 6 Plus comes at the same $100 premium over the 4.7-inch model. If you want to get in on this big-screen action without exhausting your cash ...

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    Display panels on smartphones and tablets keep getting more and more pixels, pack those pixels into denser and denser areas, and have even broke free of the 2D plane for some wrap-around curved action. But for all these advancements, sometimes progress just doesn't seem to move quickly enough in one of the most important areas: power consumption. We've been teased by the promise of super-low-power displays utilizing new technologies for years, like the interferometric panel on the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch, but issues with practicality have largely kept the phone and tablet race to an LCD ...

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    The idea of interacting with our phones through in-air gesture controls is nothing new; companies like Samsung have been doing this trick for a while now. But so far the way of pulling that off has involved the use of optical sensors; is there a better way to do things? Elliptic Labs thinks so, and has just revealed its own ultrasound-based system for interacting with your phone at a distance. Elliptic's Multi Layer Interaction system measures both hand position and distance, letting users control phone software either by how close their hand gets to the screen, or with side-to-side swipe ...

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