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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    Nokia's first Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520, launched last fall, and we quickly saw carriers in the States lining up to offer the 2520 to their subscribers – well, at least AT&T and Verizon were interested. A whole lot of time has passed since then, and we've seen plenty of other Windows tablets emerge, but the 2520's still managed to hold on to a bit of the spotlight, and early last month @evleaks posted a T-Mobile document that sure seemed to reveal that the carrier was planning to belatedly welcome the 2520 to its collection of tablets. This week we get to check out additional ...

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    Back in February, just a few days before we saw Samsung officially unveil the Galaxy S5 at MWC 2014, we were still neck-deep in rumor territory, and one of those late-stage theories we heard suggested that the GS5 would debut with some sort of unusual camera control. Rather than having a physical shutter button, this so-called “Side Touch” system would employ touch sensors, but we never ended up seeing anything come of the claim. Now a similar rumor is back, claiming that Side Touch will instead debut on the Galaxy Note 4. The description of Side Touch is the same as before – it ...

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    How many Android models can you think of that launched this month? What about since the start of summer? This year? And if you start looking past devices from just the big OEMs, also considering those from off-brands many of us have never heard of, just how large can that number get? OpenSignal's latest report on the state of the Android market looks at just how many unique models are currently in use, and the figure's large enough to shock even us. Looking at nearly 700k devices in operation over the course of the past year, OpenSignal saw close to 19,000 distinct models. Sure, a lot of ...

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    Will HTC make a big showing at IFA this year? This week's launch of the One M8 for Windows (not to mention the Butterfly 2), with IFA so nearby, might be seen as HTC subtly rejecting the idea of using the expo as a venue for introducing new hardware, but we wouldn't be so sure. At least, the Verizon launch exclusivity puts a US focus on the phone that might not fly so well at IFA. But if not this new Windows Phone model, then what might IFA get from the OEM? A not-so-subtle teaser just been released by one of HTC's social media accounts may have answers, seeming to reveal a new Desire 820. ...

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    What does Motorola have coming up next in its device pipeline? We've got the X+1 and G2 expected for the company's early September event, rumors of a new Nexus model, and most recently word of a possible return to tablets. But if we keep focused on just phones, exactly how many are we looking at? A new rumor attempts to nail-down Motorola's plans for the remainder of the year, naming eight smartphones expected to make their debut. We've got the Moto X+1 and G2 (though that name's still up in the air), as well as that Shamu Nexus. Then there's the Moto S, recently rumored to be an early ...

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    Plenty of apps give you the ability to share short videos on social networks, but Vine, the granddaddy of them all, is still the gold standard. Despite its prominence, the software hasn't been without its problems, and especially for video fans used to a more flexible editing and sharing experience, the constraints Vine imposes can be a little frustrating to deal with. Luckily, things are improving for the better, and today we catch wind of an update for the Vine iOS app that, among other things, adds the much-needed ability to import external videos. Shot a clip with your phone's regular ...

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    It's no secret that smartphone users have been migrating to handsets with larger and larger displays: what once were “phablets” are now just run-of-the-mill flagship phones, and we've seen the rise of a new class of devices in the six-inch-plus space that marry tablet-sized hardware with voice call support – something traditionally absent from full-fledged tablets. But ever since models like the ASUS Fonepad started making headway on the market, there's been renewed interest in the idea of such voice-capable tablets. While the appeal of this kind of hardware is still tricky for some ...

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    What's next for Google Glass? We just heard about a minor hardware upgrade earlier this summer, but we're talking big moves: when's Google going to come out with a commercially viable sub-$1000 Glass that shoppers can pick up from retail stores? The question's been hanging over our head for literally years at this point, and Google doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to answer it. But putting aside that sales question for just a moment, what about the Glass hardware itself? A little more internal tinkering aside, are we looking at the final design? Maybe for this wave of hardware, perhaps, ...

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    IFA 2014 is just a couple weeks away, and smartphone companies everywhere have already been getting us psyched-up for their respective showings by dropping a few hints here and there of what we can expect. Some have been relatively straightforward, like that ASUS smartwatch teaser from yesterday, while others can be a bit more inscrutable. Today, Huawei's got a clever one out, and it might just take a little brainstorming before we're fully able to get to the bottom of it. That first image seems clear enough, hinting at a device with some sort of fingerprint authentication, but what about ...

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    Someday, smartphones may beam images directly onto our retinas, offer near-ubiquitous broadband-speed connectivity, and last for days (if not weeks) on a single charge. But no matter how good they get, it seems inevitable that carriers will continue to find ways to mess with them. Maybe they're forcing OEMs to remove attractive features, blocking access to software, or just loading our phones up with bloat. Beyond the crap they pre-install, we've also seen carriers experiment with their own little app stores – forgettable efforts that offered little to get excited about. But while those ...

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    If you're anything like us, staying connected means a lot more than simply carrying around a smartphone. Once the mobile device bug gets you and the gadget-lust takes hold, it's easy to find yourself packing a tablet, a smartwatch, and maybe even a backup phone or two. But juggling multiple devices can be tricky when we're dealing with online services, with them never really sure where to contact us – and instead, that means getting the same notification on multiple devices. But now Skype, at least, is learning to be a little smarter about how it routes notifications, and today reveals a ...

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    Smartphone security is a constant struggle. Attackers identify vulnerabilities, vendors rush to release patches, and the cycle repeats in perpetuity. Some of the most insidious attacks come not from outright defeating system security protections, but instead finding ways to create trouble from within the confines of innocuous app permissions; we looked at just such a launcher-based attack this past spring. This week we're learning of a new one that threatens to impact user privacy, all through some creative use of your phone's gyroscope. If an app wants to record audio using your phone's ...

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    Back in June, we learned that Barnes & Noble was planning something different for its line of Nook tablets, and rather than continuing to put out its own hardware, the retailer would be partnering with Samsung for the release of some co-branded tablets. We were told that a seven-inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook would be the first fruit of this partnership, debuting in early August. Well, the month may be on its way out by now, but at an event this morning, Samsung and Barnes & Noble have gone ahead and introduced that promised Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. Essentially, we're looking at Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 ...

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    Slowly but surely, ZTE has been stepping-up its efforts to bring its smartphones to the US. This summer we've seen it go after American shoppers with phones like the Grand S Pro, and today we learn of its latest efforts to make headway on the nation's phone market, revealing plans for the start of unlocked US sales of the Nubia 5S Mini LTE. If that name rings a bell, there's a good reason for that, as this is a phone we've heard about before... a long time ago. At least, without the LTE suffix, this is hardware we were looking at during CES in January, and the Nubia 5S Mini itself had been ...

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    We spend so much time talking about things like screen size on smartphones, display resolution, and the presence (or absence) of bezels, that it's easy to forget that not all smartphone users place such a premium on a handset's visual output. For those of us with varying degrees of impaired eyesight, today's phones already offer plenty of options to help make life easier: everything from big phablet-sized displays to screen-reading software. Last year we even sat down with just such a smartphone user to hear what life is like using tech with a visual impairment. Now we're hearing about ...

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