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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    AT&T is set to start carrying the Lumia 830. The carrier confirmed as much back in early September, just days after the handset launched at IFA 2014. There's still no official date for exactly when the 830 will go up for sale, but the latest rumors have attempted to nail-down November 7 as the most likely possibility. As we wait to see if that date proves to be correct, some additional technical information on the handset is coming to light, and it's good news for anyone who likes wireless charging and broad accessory compatibility. We already knew the Lumia 830 would support wireless ...

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    Eighteen hours and change: Verizon's countdown to the Droid Turbo launch has been running since two weeks ago, and the zero hour is in sight. Tomorrow will almost certainly bring us the phone's formal announcement, and rumors have suggested that Verizon will get sales of the Motorola Android started a little later this week, probably on Thursday. Between now and then, Verizon can't help itself but to tease the phone's launch just a little more, and this afternoon the company returns to its DroidLanding Twitter account to send out a bit of a confounding message. In the latest DroidLanding ...

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    There's no two ways about it: the Nexus 6 is a big phone. The latest Nexus handset from Google is all about shaking up preconceptions about what sort of handset a Nexus model is supposed to be, and the Nexus 6 doesn't just dial-up the pricing far outside the budget space the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 occupied, but also balloons the phone itself up from a 4.7-inch or 5-inch model to a 6-inch phablet. And both those changes are proving to be serious sticking points for a good number of heretofore Nexus fans. But to hear Google talk about it, the phablet-sized nature of the Nexus 6 isn't that big a ...

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    It's a question Android users everywhere are asking of the manufacturers behind their phones: when can I expect a software update to Android 5.0 Lollipop? The Nexus 6 may be the first smartphone to debut running the latest version of Google's OS, and there are already handsets lining up behind it to bring Lollipop to their users as quickly as possible. Some OEMs have offered dates for when their users might hope to see such software released, and the latest to join the fun is LG, talking about its plans for the G3 and last year's G2. According to LG's German arm, the G3 is set to start ...

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    It's coming up on two weeks now since Google introduced the Motorola-made Nexus 6, and while that phone has yet to even go up for pre-order, we're already getting ready to welcome an even newer Motorola handset to the Android family. For a couple months now we've been anticipating the introduction of the Droid Turbo for Verizon, and teasers have been building up to a planned launch this week, getting started with a press event tomorrow. Before that day comes, we've got some last-minute leaks to check out, including some new pics and sales details. We've seen a couple shots of the Droid ...

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    The day has finally arrived for no-invite-required pre-orders for the OnePlus One! We covered all the details with you in a post last week, explaining how even though pre-orders were opening to the general public, they'd only be live for a very short period of time, before closing for a few weeks and subsequently re-opening at some point in the future. The plan was to have them open for a period of one hour, beginning at 11am Eastern this morning. But wait, wasn't that an hour and a half ago? Why are we telling you now, after the fact? Ah, but OnePlus has had a last-minute change of heart, ...

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    Does NFC have a curse on it when it comes to mobile payments? Every time it seems like a payment system is just about ready to really become popular, it feels like some business interests have to step in, flex their muscle, and do everything in their power to ruin things. Android users faced that headache as carriers clashed with Google Wallet over access to the secure element on our phones, forcing Google to come up with a work-around. And now that Apple Pay is live in the US and more users than ever before have the ability to make NFC payments, another group of companies is  doing ...

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    A week back, we checked out a leak that suggested a new smartwatch was on the horizon: not a new Android Wear model, nor Apple wearable, and not the rumored Microsoft smartwatch, either. Instead, we were to see Fitbit move beyond more basic fitness trackers to offer a full-featured smartwatch to call its own, the Fitbit Surge. Sure enough, today the company goes official with the Surge, as well as two new fitness trackers, the Charge and Charge HR. Considering how these models build upon the feature sets of each other, it makes sense to start with the most basic, the Charge. The company ...

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    Will the next tablet war not be fought over thinness, screen resolution, or even budget pricing, but dominance in the space of the bigger-than-big form factor? Few manufacturers have already pushed things much further past ten inches – Samsung and its NotePRO and TabPRO 12.2 models being a notable exception – but rumors of similar models like a 12.9-inch iPad Pro from Apple suggest that other OEMs may finally be ready to really start competing in this area. Now a new rumor brings Sony into the mix, claiming that the company is working on a jumbo-sized tablet of its own. According to ...

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    One of the many cool things about the iPad Air 2 (as well as the iPad mini 3) is the inclusion of an Apple-branded SIM card. Rather than having to choose a carrier first, then go and seek out a matching SIM, the Apple SIM gives users the ability to decide on a network and plan at their leisure, with the hardware ready to support T-Mobile, AT&T, or Sprint. And if you're not willing to commit to a long-term agreement, you could always switch things up and try shorter-term plans from various carriers as the mood struck you. At least, that's how it was supposed to work, but as users are ...

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    Android Wear is a big deal for the evolution of smartwatches, giving developers a consistent platform they can code for, even as manufacturers release new and different wearable hardware. Really, its biggest limitation may be that whole “Android” bit of it, as while Wear makes it easy for you to use a Motorola smartwatch with a Samsung phone (or vice versa), you're out of luck if your phone choices fall over on the Apple or Windows side of the fence. To hear Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang talk about it, though, that's not a limitation that's necessarily set in stone, as he ...

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    With the release of iOS 8.1, Apple Pay is now live in the US, and if you've got an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, that means that everything's ready to go for you to start making some contactless mobile payments at retailer terminals. At least, that's the situation on the new iPhones (above), but it's a different story for Apple's latest tablets: right up until launch we were unsure if the Air 2 and mini 3 would have NFC payment capabilities of their own, or if their larger sizes would preclude them from participation in this project. While we've since learned that neither model is NFC-capable, ...

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    Where the heck are those new Galaxy A-series phones from Samsung? Following the launch of the Galaxy Alpha we've been tracking rumors of a trio of additional models, the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7. Last we heard, an October launch might be in the cards, with the intention of getting sales started sometime next month – but now with just a week to go in October, we're beginning to wonder if that source was a bit misinformed. As we wait for these metal-rimmed handsets to go official, new details are arriving for one of the models, with the Galaxy A7's User Agent Profile spilling the beans about ...

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    Back near the start of the month, before Google launched its latest Nexus models and confirmed the name Lollipop for its Android 5.0 release, we took a look at an early video previewing Samsung's work towards bringing what was then known only as Android L to its Galaxy S5. It was great to get an advance glimpse of how TouchWiz would make the transition to Android 5.0, but previews are one thing – when can we expect a public release? We don't yet have a specific date, but new rumors seek to narrow-down the timeframe in which the update might be likely to arrive. Last month, SamMobile had ...

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    Next Wednesday, October 29, Oppo is gearing up to launch its flagship N3 – that much, at least, is all but certain. After all, the company's been teasing the hell out of this phone going back over a month by this point, getting bolder and bolder with the details it's willing to share. While that means that much of the N3's story is out there by now, it may not be the only handset featured at this announcement, as Oppo's latest teaser appears to reveal a second handset getting ready to join the N3 on stage. The manufacturer shared the image above on its social accounts, showing what sure ...

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