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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    We just told you about a new rumor concerning Apple's plans for a 12.9-inch iPad “Pro,” looking at a recent trademark application and explaining why it wasn't quite the evidence for an OS-X-powered iPad as some were making it out to be. But that doesn't mean that work on a larger iPad isn't happening, and the idea that Apple could still release this long-rumored tablet has yet to fade. This evening, we get the latest word about how this jumbo-sized iPad could be coming together, as we hear some supply chain rumors about the companies Apple's chosen to build the tablet's display. ...

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    Over the past few days we've been checking out maybe the most exciting series of iPhone 6s leaks to date, as a source with apparent access to the phone's frame and main board has been offering some up-close looks at the hardware. First we saw the handset's largely unchanged body, and then on Wednesday got a look at a new modem chip. Today the focus on internals continues, revealing, among other things, a new NFC module and the return of a 16GB storage option. Sorry for you proponents of a 32GB minimum, as it appears from this board, at least, that the 16GB variant will return. Here we see ...

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    The mobile industry has a certain degree of patience when it comes to waiting for new devices and services, one largely dependent on just how excited we are about the product in question. When Apple announces the Apple Watch seven months before it intends to even start accepting pre-orders, we may grumble a bit, but you know damn well we've got the release date circled on our calendars and will spending at least those last few weeks on the edge of our seats. But to really get away with that sort of thing, you need to be selling something worth buying. We wonder if that's at all the case ...

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    Right now, Apple's managing two markedly different platforms, as its mobile devices are powered by iOS (which we're including watchOS under), and its proper computers powered by OS X. But for a while now we've been wondering if Apple might be ready to start blurring those boundaries, and if the rumored jumbo-sized 12.9-inch iPad could run some variant of OS X – not unlike how we see Windows tablets running the same operating system as Windows PCs. Now there's a new trademark filing that's getting attention for possibly providing some actual evidence that OS X could land on a future iPad ...

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    One week ago, OnePlus offered the latest in a string of announcements about the upcoming OnePlus 2. But rather than teasing us with the latest hardware component it was revealing, the manufacturer had some bigger news, announcing plans for its launch event. In just over three weeks, on July 27, the company intends to introduce the OnePlus 2 to the world. And it's doing so with some unique showmanship, inviting fans to tune in live to watch the unveiling in full-3D VR. Of course, you'll need some special hardware in order to check that out for yourself, and to that end OnePlus shared plans ...

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    Right after the first rumors arrived last month about BlackBerry's supposed plans to release a smartphone running Android, we started hearing a lot of reports that, while they didn't necessarily conflict with each other, sure seemed to be going off in different directions. Would that keyboard-equipped slider the company showed off at MWC evolve into BlackBerry's first Android handset? Would the first such model be low-end or more advanced? And would we see Android editions released for any presently available BlackBerry hardware? Rumors touched on all those points, and on the subject of ...

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    Smartphone manufacturers and upstarts like Pebble may have led the charge for the initial waves of smartwatches, but now we're at a place where traditional watchmakers are finally coming around to getting involved. That includes companies like Tag Heuer, which is gearing up to start sales of its own Carrera Wearable 01 later this year. And while we're very much looking forward to seeing what the company can put together, that model's going to be a very expensive prospect, selling for around $1400. Today we're talking about another established watch brand* that's looking to jump on this ...

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    There's been no shortage of official OnePlus 2 info going back the past several weeks now, as the company teases the smartphone's features in anticipation of its end-of-July launch. Piece by piece, OnePlus has slowly been letting us know what to expect from its second-gen handset. And as we look forward to the company divulging the next bit of info about the phone, we've found ourselves turning to some additional sources, like the benchmark data that appeared to reveal three variants of the model. Now we're turning our attention back to a much more official source, though one who's ...

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    Last time we checked in on the BlackBerry Android-phone rumors, CEO John Chen wasn't making it sound like we had a great shot at seeing such a device hit the market anytime soon. At least, while he didn't dismiss the idea, he also suggested that it would be a significant undertaking that would involve taking a serious look at how Android functions and manages device security. But even in light of those comments, these rumors live on, and today we get to build off some previous intel about a device codenamed Venice with a new leak concerning carrier involvement. To refresh your memory, ...

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    Google Glass managed to get plenty of people excited, and for good reason. Far more than smartwatches, the tech seemed practically right out of science fiction, yet here Google was not just developing it, but giving the public a chance to experience it for themselves. While the original Glass momentum may have seriously slowed down (publicly, at least) since its heyday, work on the project has continued, and we've heard that a new generation of Glass hardware is on the agenda for sometime later this year. Today we have what might be our first run-in with some real evidence of that device, ...

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    For as useful as wireless smartphone charging can be, it's not without its drawbacks, but little by little we've seen significant efforts to overcome some of these limitations in recent years: from broader availability of public charging spots, to the arrival of devices that are compatible with both major charging standards. And while that progress is great, there's one problem area we'd yet to see adequately addressed. We're talking about heat, which wireless charging can generate in abundance when compared to traditional wired methods. And with heat being a mortal enemy of battery life, ...

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    The arrival of the new Google Photos app gave users quite a few reasons to be excited, not the least of which being promises of unlimited cloud storage. So long as you were OK dealing with a 16MP resolution cap, and letting Google run your pics through its compression algorithms, Photos was supposed to let you store as many images as you could upload. Problem is, word recently started going around of users who found the service dying out on them after uploading large number of pics – issues that appeared to resolve themselves only when users upgraded to paid storage options. Was there a ...

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    A little over a month ago, just after announcing Android M at Google I/O, Google made the first Android M preview images available for Nexus devices. With releases for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9, developers had the tools they needed to get started working with the new platform release – so long as they had some of this relatively modern Nexus hardware. But what about some of the more senior members of the Nexus family; would they ever get their own taste of Android M? With devices like the Nexus 4 and most recent Nexus 7 pushing two (if not closer to three) years old at this ...

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    With July here, the release of Windows 10 for PCs is within sight: last month, Microsoft formally confirmed July 29 as the day when it will go forward with public availability of its new operating system. And in the weeks since, many of you Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have likely reserved your copies. But when July 29 finally rolls around, will your update be ready to go? From the sound of things, you shouldn't hold your breath. In a new blog post, Microsoft's Terry Myerson discusses how availability of the Windows 10 update will commence. To hear him tell it, once July 29 arrives, the ...

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    One of the first things we look at when checking out a new smartphone is camera performance. After all, that's a feature we use every day, and one that's immediately accessible. So it's little wonder that many of the rumors we've been hearing about upcoming smartphones have spent at least some time talking about new camera hardware. The latest concerns what HTC's been working on, and claims that a substantial camera upgrade is due for the release of one of the manufacturer's next big Androids. The phone in question is the handset codenamed Aero, and to hear reports, this new camera could ...

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    Image recognition is tricky, to say the least. That it works at all is a small miracle, and that it works well enough to be featured as a major selling point of services like Google Photos is a tremendous accomplishment. But for as well as it performs in many cases, there are always going to be those where the tech fails, and over the past couple days Google's been doing damage control following the public scrutiny of a misidentification with some seriously racially charged implications. The controversy began on Sunday, when an African-American Google Photos user posted to Twitter about ...

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    No matter where you go, buying an iPhone can prove to be an expensive prospect. Whether you're shelling out for the handset's full retail price, or incorporating the phone's cost as part of your ongoing carrier bill, you'll likely end up paying more than you would for an Android or Windows Phone model; that's just the way things are, and no matter which country we're talking about, Apple hardware fetches premium prices. This week, though, we're not so much talking about hardware as we are services, thanks to Apple flipping the switch on Apple Music. And while Apple plays up the global ...

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    Huawei introduced its round-screened (and aptly named) Huawei Watch back at MWC this past winter, and with a clean design and some attractive material choices, the Android-Wear-powered smartwatch very much piqued our interest. Really, the biggest thing that's been standing between this wearable and it finding some real success may just be availability: so far we haven't seen Huawei putting it up for sale anywhere, and in at least some markets it could be another few months away. But even as we wait for the Huawei Watch to make its retail debut, the company has been putting together some ...

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    When it comes to LG's plans for a new G4-series model, our attention's been glued to rumors about the LG G4 Pro. We've heard talk about things like a metal frame, speedy Snapdragon 820 SoC, massive 4GB of RAM, a big 5.8-inch quad HD display, and a very high-res 27MP camera. That could make for one beast of a smartphone, but the G4 Pro may not be the only new G4 sibling LG's been cooking up. Today we get to check out a leak purporting to reveal the LG G4 S, a slightly scaled-back version of the G4 proper. That's supposedly it up top there, with a screen that shrinks from the G4's 5.5 inches ...

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    How do you deal with the grim realities of smartphone battery life? Turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and slide the screen brightness down as low as it can go, all the while hoping for the best? Make sure you've always got a spare charging cable in your bag? Lug around an external battery pack to top things up throughout the day? All workable solutions, but each with their own tradeoffs. Is it so much to ask for a phone that simply has a ginormous battery, freeing you from worrying about all that crap? Salvation may be at hand, as Oukitel gets ready to launch the K10000 with an internal ...

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    For a tablet that's solidly over a year old at this point, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 keeps right on ticking. And why shouldn't it, with the sort of hardware that would look pretty good in a full-fledged laptop, let alone an eminently portable tablet. We found the Surface Pro 3 back in the news earlier this week as Microsoft released plans enthusiasts could use to 3D-print and build their own portrait-orientation docking stands for the tablet, and now it returns to the headlines once again, as we get word of a new hardware option becoming available for sale. Adding a new hardware ...

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    Buying a new smartphone can be its own reward: you get to start fresh with a new, unmarred handset, still months away from seeing its storage bogged down with dozens of apps you ran once and never touched again, or those hours of video footage you accidentally recorded while sleeping (and later forgot about). But if you can score not just a new phone, but also some free extras along with it, so much the better. A few Android manufacturers are offering such perks this week, as we learn about special promo deals for the LG G4 and HTC One M9. LG already had a free extra battery and microSD ...

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    Going back about a month now, we've been hearing rumors about Samsung's plans for a new Galaxy handset, one that might straddle the line between the Galaxy S family and Note devices. The general idea seemed to be that we were looking at a larger variant of the Galaxy S6 Edge, but rather than this phablet-sized model being the next Galaxy Note Edge, it would forgo S Pen stylus support and instead arrive as something else. We've heard several names suggested for the device, including the Galaxy S6 Plus and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus (or will we get two separate phones?), but there's not been much ...

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    In a perfect world, each time we topped-up the charge on our portable electronics, they'd offer just as much juice as they did the first day we brought them home. But the reality of the situation is that even the latest modern batteries degrade over time, with capacity slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) dwindling away. Some of us look to devices with replaceable batteries as a solution, while others turn to service plans. Not all warranties are created equal, though, and many explicitly refrain from insuring a battery's ongoing capacity. This week Apple makes some changes to its own ...

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    After entirely too long, Motorola and Verizon are finally making the Android Lollipop update available for the Droid Turbo. We've been following this tale for months now, from January's promises that 2014 Motorola phones (including the Droid Turbo) would be getting Lollipop “really soon,” to word in March that the Droid Turbo would skip right ahead to Android 5.1. But all the while, the update still wasn't out. Earlier this month it looked like Verizon was expecting the update to be imminent, refreshing its own product page for the Droid Turbo to reflect its new Android Lollipop ...

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