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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    What makes you choose one wearable over another? Phone compatibility? Price? Hardware design? Just like with smartphones themselves, there are a ton of criteria to keep in mind, and these being smart devices we're talking about, not the least of those is the variety of software the wearable is able to run. Some platforms are approaching the issue of apps from the phone side, like how Android Wear doesn't really offer apps that exist independently of your Android handset. Others, like Pebble, are more inclined to deliver apps that stand by themselves. Samsung's a little closer to the latter ...

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    Smartphones with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protecting their displays are no longer the stuff of bank-breaking luxury phones; with the launch of the Kyocera Brigadier, they're soundly within reach of the average smartphone buyer. Still, sapphire's arrived with more of a whimper than a bang, and it remains to be seen if efforts from big names like Apple will be what the material needs to really go mainstream. Another manufacturer has just stepped forward with news of a sapphire-screened handset of its own, as Huawei confirms rumors about its plans for a sapphire-covered version of ...

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    Google set its sights on developing markets this year, announcing Android One during its Google I/O keynote this past June. Android One would provide resources for manufacturers to quickly and easily put together handsets running stock Android, while simultaneously giving users access to speedy software updates. With phones priced at $100 or less, the program promised to really step-up the quality we find at the bottom of the budget hardware barrel. Last we heard, the first Android One models might debut in India sometime in late October. Now new rumors suggest that Android One could ...

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    Going back a little over a month now, we've been hearing whispers about Motorola's work towards a new Moto G. From the sound of things, this second-gen model (a Moto G2, perhaps?) would make some big changes, growing to offer a five-inch 720p display – though that could also mean the phone arriving with a noticeably steeper price tag than its predecessor did last year. Motorola's invitation for its September 4 press event makes a new Moto G launch look like a near-certainty, and as we wait for our chance to go hands-on with this hardware ourselves, we've got a new leak to check out, ...

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    It wasn't too long following Amazon's launch of its Fire Phone back in June that we started hearing warnings of underwhelming consumer interest. First we saw what appeared to be a precipitous drop in pre-sale figures, and then later we checked out some survey data that showed Fire Phone interest lagging behind even that for Windows Phone or BlackBerry. But for all this nay-saying, one all-important figure continued to elude us: the actual number of Fire Phones Amazon has managed to sell. The company has yet to release official data, but some new estimates place the number pretty darn low. ...

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    Samsung brought fingerprint scanners to its smartphones with the launch of the Galaxy S5, and in the time that's followed we've seen the tech expand to come to other Samsung phones, as well as the company's tablet lineup. With the Note 4 expected to launch next week, we've all been assuming that fingerprint scanning would make a return, and now a new rumor attempts to spell-out just what about Samsung's implementation might be changing, and what could be staying the same. Reportedly, the Note 4 will use a Synaptics Natural ID sensor, just like previous Samsung devices. And like those ...

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    A couple weeks back, we were talking about the idea of smartphones that dropped all their 2G/3G radios in favor of going 4G-only, relying on LTE for everything from voice to data. While such an arrangement could offer some very real benefits, it sounded like we were still pretty far off, and hearing about Verizon's progress towards thatgoal, it was looking like we still might have another two years to wait. One of the stepping stones along the way, before losing the 2G/3G hardware, would be transitioning existing services over to LTE, and for years now we've been waiting to see voice ...

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    Overnight, we shared with you news of what looked like yet another in a growing number of Motorola Androids nearly ready to launch, the Moto Luge for Verizon. There was mention of an intriguing new service called Moto Aware, and we looked forward to learning more about the hardware. But now a little more info on this model has managed to make its way public, and the story it's putting together is one that's feeling less and less interesting. What's the problem? The Moto Luge appears to be little more than a re-branded RAZR M, a smartphone that launched a solid two years ago. When we first ...

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    If you've been following Pocketnow so far this summer, no doubt you've come across one or more of our smartphone giveaways. We've been handing out phones, accessories, and invite codes since June, often announcing the new giveaway each Monday. Does that mean we've got a new one for you today? Well... no, but there's a good reason for that. See, last week, when we started our latest contest on Monday, we decided to keep entries open for a little longer than normal, extending them for over a full week. That means there's still time to win, which is exactly why we're putting up this reminder. ...

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    What comes to mind when we talk about an extremely budget-priced smartphone? Something like the Nokia Lumia 530? Maybe the Motorola Moto E? Aggressively low prices can be key to adoption in markets where smartphones are still making inroads upon the populace, as we see in recently industrialized nations like India. There, you might pay the equivalent of $145 for that Lumia 530 or $120 for that Moto E – cheaper than many phones, sure, but can't we do a little better? Firefox phones are still trying to establish their niche in the market, and largely they've been coming in at the very ...

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    Last year, with the launch of the Moto X, Motorola introduced its Skip NFC accessory. The little tag could be used to quickly unlock the smartphone, although our hands-on found Skip a little awkward to use. With the Moto X+1 expected for next week, will Skip once again be a featured accessory? A new leak FCC publication suggest that Motorola's been cooking-up a totally redesigned second-generation Skip, and this one adds a bunch of new features by way of bringing Bluetooth support to the device. While the first Skip was an entirely passive NFC tag, the new Skip would be a battery-powered ...

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    Tizen just can't seem to get off the ground when it comes to smartphones. Sure, Samsung's put the platform inside its consumer electronics, and the OS powers the majority of the company's smartwatches, but a Tizen smartphone continues to elude us. Sure, we saw the Samsung Z go official a couple months back, but the phone's been hit with delay after delay since then, and now it's anyone's guess when (or if) sales might actually begin. Keep in mind, though, while it may seem like Samsung's baby, Tizen is actually an effort from multiple companies; could any other players be working on Tizen ...

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    Motorola's got one. LG's getting one. And at the pace things are going, if you want to be a competitive smartwatch manufacturer, that's going to mean adding a model with a circular face to your offerings. We've already heard that Samsung may be looking to spice up its smartwatch lineup with a new Gear model featuring a highly curved display, but now we get word that a circular model could be arriving to join it before the end of the year. We've talked about round Samsung smartwatches before, having spotted the company's work towards patenting such designs (above), but we haven't had any ...

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    With the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung finally gave us the metal smartphone we'd been asking for... sort of. Well, it may not be the full-metal-bodied One-esque phone some Samsung fans had been clamoring for, but at least it's a step in a new direction for the company. But where's that step going to lead? Back when we were talking about Samsung's metal phone arriving as the Galaxy F, there was this rumor that we weren't just looking at one model, but a whole series of devices, all under this F banner. Now we're hearing that a similar situation may occur with the Galaxy Alpha, as Samsung prepares ...

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    Last week, HTC cut though a lot of the uncertainty surrounding its own plans for IFA 2014, dropping a teaser that pretty unambiguously referred to the rumored Desire 820. While on its own, another Desire mid-ranger might not be the most exciting news in the world, the 820's been holding our attention by way of the SoC expected to power the phone, one of Qualcomm's new 64-bit Snapdragons. With just a week to go before the expo, that connection is really starting to firm up, and HTC just published a new teaser that not only gives us a new glimpse of the smartphone, but appears to confirm ...

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