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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    Every new smartphone stops getting updates eventually; maybe hardware requirements have gone up, or the user base has moved on to new handsets, but at some point it just stops making sense to allocate resource towards updating old phones. But even when it's not explicitly stated, many of us assume there's some level of grace period baked-in there – that we can expect a steady flow of updates for at least a year (and two if we're lucky). Sadly, that's just not the case in reality, and we're finally getting formal confirmation of one smartphone that's going without a major update. The ...

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    Sony's next Xperia launch event looks like it's just days away, with the company preparing for a Monday announcement. The official teasers we've seen haven't helped a lot in identifying the hardware likely to be on the menu, but recent leaks have at least given us some clue as to what we can expect – like that Xperia C5 Ultra that's been pretty extensively revealed with the help of multiple sources. As we wait for Monday's news, we've got an even broader leak to check out this afternoon, outing not just the Xperia C5 Ultra, but also the Sony Xperia M5. Unlike that last depiction of the ...

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    Our first taste of Android M arrived back in the shadow of Google I/O, and shortly after using its keynote address to announce what we could expect from the next version of its operating system, Google made the first Android M preview release available to developers running Nexus hardware. Several weeks later, back around the start of July, Google was ready to follow that up with with the first big update to its Android M preview, and ever since devs have been looking forward to its next release. This week, Google Android Developer Advocate Wojtek Kaliciński gives the community a heads-up ...

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    The dual-screened YotaPhone 2 dates all the way back to the early days of 2014, and after a year of waiting, we finally heard back in January that Yota Devices might have friendlied-up with a US carrier and was working to get its phone in stores. Those rumors ultimately didn't pan out, and instead the phone would be sold unlocked through crowd funder Indiegogo – maybe not the most ideal situation, but at least US shoppers would have a chance to get their hands on the phone. Well, that was the plan, at least, but this week we learn that those good intentions have gone to naught, as Yota ...

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    Yesterday we got a heads-up from Sony: Xperia news was coming, and it was coming soon. The manufacturer told us to look forward to “a new way to capture split-second photos,” and planned to make its full announcement this coming Monday. We shared a few theories for what kind of hardware we might be likely to see, but aside from the implication that the phone would land with a high-speed imaging system, we didn't have much to go on. Today we're still not dealing with a hell of a lot of info, but Sony does offer one small tidbit in its latest teaser, as it mentions that “something ...

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    NVIDIA's already having a hard enough go at it in mobile: many of the manufacturers who once found themselves using the company's SoCs have moved on to components form other manufacturers, leaving NVIDIA to turn largely to its own hardware to showcase it latest silicon. And with products like the Shield Portable being a bit of a niche item, the company's Android TV box a difficult sell (despite its powerful hardware – Android set-top boxes in general are tricky to push), and the Shield Tablet a much lower-profile option than other affordable Android tablets, NVIDIA needs as many sales of ...

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    We were just thinking about Motorola's plans for Verizon, upon hearing about a couple possible Droid-series smartphones tipped to be in the works for the carrier. With the Moto X Pure Edition not slated to get any direct in-store support from the major US networks, Motorola could really stand to get a carrier on its side, and a new Verizon-exclusive Droid model might be just the ticket. In the weeks leading up to the launch of Motorola's latest Moto-line handsets we saw a leak or two purporting to reveal new Droid hardware, showing devices that seemed to match what was ultimately revealed ...

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    How long have we been waiting for a new Apple TV? The most recent hardware is well over two years old at this point, and rumors keep returning to the idea that a next-gen box is on its way. While we've heard some stories about what to expect from the new hardware, especially when it comes to the unit's remote control, rumor after rumor has arrived without any sign of the new box actually landing; WWDC came and went this year without any new Apple TV. Now the latest report looks to September, claiming that a next-gen Apple TV is nearly ready to arrive, and will do so alongside the next ...

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    The new Motorola phones are official, and earlier this week we got to see the launch of the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and the new third-gen Moto G. But in addition to hearing about these guys, we've also been looking forward to some new entries in Motorola's Droid lineup for Verizon. A couple weeks back, a leak of some Motorola back panels seemed to offer some hard evidence for the existence of such new Droids, but it's since become clear that at least one of those mystery models was the Moto X Play. Where does that leave our new-Droid story? Today we get some fresh new direction for ...

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    Google Glass is in the middle of a transition period. After its very public test run with the Glass Explorer Edition, Google took its vision for the wearable back to the drawing board, and has been working on a new Glass experience – one with new hardware, as well as (presumably) new software. We've been checking out evidence of this Glass headset over the past several weeks, while hearing rumors that the new Glass could be positioned as an Enterprise Edition with the intent to sell it to businesses. That account picks up new support from additional sources, as rumors attempt to describe ...

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    Going back several months now, we've been anticipating a new family member for Samsung's Galaxy S5 lineup: the Galaxy S5 Neo. Rumors bounced around between a few possible model numbers, seeming to settle last month on Samsung's model SM-G903F. Possible specs we heard attached to the phone made it sound like a pretty solid offering, with components like a 5.1-inch 1080p display and a 64-bit Samsung Exynos SoC. While we still haven't seen Samsung officially welcome the Galaxy S5 Neo, one retailer may have already jumped the gun, posting a listing for the smartphone. Dutch site Belsimpel.nl ...

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    Major automobile manufacturers have been lining up left and right these past few months to announce all the ways their upcoming vehicle lines will take advantage of new platform-level smartphone support. For the most part, that's meant Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, with brands like GMC, Buick, Chevy, and Hyundai all talking about which of their vehicles will provide integrated in-dash access. Now Volkswagen's the latest to get its fleet ready to work with your phone. Volkswagen intends to offer its new MIB II infotainment system on the majority of its 2016 lineup. Through that, you'll ...

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    We've already seen what Pebble can do when it outfits its a smartwatch with a color display, and after launching this past winter, the Pebble Time finally arrived several weeks back. That's given us ample time to get to know the wearable, at least in one form; shortly after the original Pebble Time went public, we learned of a second model, the metallic Pebble Time Steel. And despite the Pebble Time's availability, we've still been waiting on the Pebble Time Steel's arrival. A couple weeks back we heard Pebble deliver assurances that its first shipments of the metal smartwatch would get ...

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    We're two weeks away from Samsung's next Unpacked event, where the company is likely to introduce the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+. But there could be even more hardware waiting for us beyond those two phablets, and the timing finally feels right for Samsung to also launch its next smartwatch. We've been waiting for the new Gear for a long time now, and recurring rumors of a round-screened wearable have found confirmation from Samsung itself. As we wait for the Gear A to go official, Samsung's already busy talking about what sort of hardware we can expect. One of the first rumors ...

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    This summer, smartphone makers just can't seem to wait to announce their new handsets. With IFA so close at hand, we might normally expect many phones getting ready to launch this quarter to make their debut at the big expo, but instead 2015 has been one where we see these devices emerge early. Motorola certainly didn't wait for IFA to launch its new Moto phones, and the rumored pre-IFA Samsung Unpacked event is now confirmed. We've also heard rumors that Sony could be brewing up a launch announcement of its own in the weeks leading up to IFA, and this morning we find that news similarly ...

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    Remember back in the early days of computing when the general rule of thumb was “only executable files can be malicious?” Sure, if you downloaded some sketchy software from a backwater website you ran the risk of compromising your machine, but non-executable files – things like pictures and music – were generally considered safe. The world's changed a lot since then, as as operating systems become more complex, even these once-innocuous file types are now emerging as potential agents for mischief themselves. We just shared with you news about an Android vulnerability arising ...

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    Back around the start of the year, Google dropped a pretty exciting update to its already impressive Google Translate app, adding both a real-time dictated translation mode and one that worked with your phone's video camera to instantly translate printed text - live as you filmed it. For as useful as the latter sounded, its implementation was a little limited initially, only supporting a handful of languages. While that was a good start, things are only getting better, and today Google announces some broad new language support for the feature. In updates coming to Google Translate for both ...

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    A Google account acts as the gatekeeper for so many of the company's services, there's a good chance you probably have one (if not more) registered: maybe you're a die-hard Gmail user, or maybe you only signed up when you got your new Android phone. If you've only used that account sparingly, and not in a long while, you may be in for a surprise the next time you go to log in, as word spreads online of Google deactivating large numbers of old accounts. Right now this is all anecdotal, but what appears to be happening is that users are getting old accounts shut down for what Google claims ...

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    The inability for smartphones to access free FM radio broadcasts is currently a huge oversight, one that spans across manufactures and platforms. While the majority of smartphone hardware includes components that are very much capable of tuning in to the plethora of music, news, and entertainment content being broadcast for free on the public airwaves, finding phones that chose to take advantage of this feature has been the exception, rather than the rule. Earlier this year we learned of a big push from proponents of FM reception on smartphones that hoped to convince the companies involved ...

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    At some point we're going to stop talking about Windows 10 for a brief moment and share with you some news that's happening on other major platforms. But today is very much Microsoft's time to shine as Windows 10 makes its formal PC debut, and that's just got everyone's heads spinning with all manner of Windows-related material. We just spent a little time talking about plans for the ultimate release of Windows 10 Mobile, and now we're picking up some further details about both Microsoft's hardware and software intentions, thanks to a new interview with the company's Terry Myerson. ...

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    With Windows 10 now upon us, the next big hurdle for the platform to clear is mobile. Windows 10 PC availability is getting underway presently, but if you want to try out Microsoft's latest OS on your smartphone, your only option at the moment is to participate in the company's Insider testing program. Commercial availability of Windows 10 Mobile will be coming in the future, both as an update to existing hardware and as the factory-installed platform in new phones – but just when? Microsoft's been notoriously cagey about providing a specific release date, and while we still don't have a ...

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    Windows 10 for PCs may be out today, but we've still got some time to go before we see Windows 10 Mobile make its commercial debut on new smartphones. While no one likes to wait, at least we have something nice to look forward to, as Microsoft has let us know we can finally expect some new flagship-quality Lumia phones. Considering how long it's been since we've seen some top-shelf silicon on the platform, that's big news. But for a while there, especially in the early days of 2014, it sounded like a new high-end Windows Phone model could be just around the corner, and we found ourselves ...

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    Early last week we first got word of a new project Sony was getting underway, recruiting Xperia Z3 users to help it test some new smartphone software. It sure sounded like the company was interested in trying out something new for the UI of its phones, and just a few days later we saw official confirmation arrive, as Sony described the Concept for Android project that would bring its phones a near-stock Android experience while still retaining Sony apps and Sony-exclusive features. It all sounded pretty promising … except the test was only open to Z3 users in Sweden, and even then, only ...

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    While Motorola is trying something new with the Moto X this year, splitting the phone into the Moto X Style phablet flagship and the more dialed-back Moto X Play, the new Moto G is very much a refresh of last year's model. That's not to diminish what Motorola did here, and instead of forcing the phone to go in an untested new direction, the manufacturer saw itself returning to what's worked in the past. Today at Motorola's launch event in New York, we checked-in with this affordable new Android to see just how everything came together for the third-gen Moto G. Screen and processor choice ...

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    This morning's Motorola event brought us three new phones and two new Bluetooth accessories... and that's it. And while that was ultimately more hardware than we were necessarily expecting, there was one other device lingering in the back of our minds that we were holding out hope might make an appearance: a new Moto 360. After all, we've been anticipating new hardware for a while now, and recent price cuts sure seemed to suggest that Motorola was clearing stock of its first-gen model. While we didn't get a new smartwatch today, some new evidence sure makes its eventual arrival seem almost ...

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