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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  • by | April 3, 2014 12:19 PM

    64-bit processors are slowly making their way to smartphones. Apple's got a head start, and Android's likely to start following sometime this year. We've already seen a lot of groundwork laid for 64-bit on Android, and even heard about efforts towards 64-bit chips. But for that hardware to do its job, it needs 64-bit-aware software in place. Android's Linux roots give it a head start at preparing for 64-bit hardware, but someone still needs to implement all that Linux 64-bit stuff over on the Android codebase. We're still waiting for such support from Google and the AOSP, but today we hear ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 11:31 AM

    Samsung's Galaxy S5 launched with a 1080p display, despite incessant rumors in the months leading up to the phone's debut claiming that Samsung was working on a pair of handsets, and one of them would feature a quad HD, 2K display. Even after this premium GS5 failed to materialize, we tried to keep our hopes up, but once CEO J.K. Shin got involved and dismissed the rumors of such a project, we started to lose faith. But could there still be something to all this? Today new evidence of a beefed-up, high-res version of the GS5 arrives, courtesy of the GFXBench benchmark database. There we ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 10:51 AM

    Much like how last year's Galaxy S 4 gave birth to a family of related smartphones, we've been anticipating the launch of a few similar variants of this year's Galaxy S5. One device we've heard mentioned a few times already is a GS5 Zoom, intended to outfit the handset with lenses capable of 10x optical zoom. The way the rumors described the GS5 Zoom, supposedly being much more slim and streamlined than the bulky GS4 Zoom, gave us cause to be pretty optimistic for what Samsung might be putting together here. Today we get what could be our first look at the phone, and hear about a possible ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 7:53 PM

    The Google app updates we just shared with you – those for Keep, Play Movies, and Newsstand – are already on their way to users' phones. But there's one more update we've heard people talking about today that isn't quite ready for prime time, and its changes aren't yet set in stone, still the stuff of rumors. Although that puts us in a slightly less-than-enviable position for talking about it, it's such a major component to how many Android users get things done on their smartphones that it's worth giving an early look: it seems like Google's been hard at work cooking up a new version ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 7:06 PM

    Windows Phone 8.1 may still be dancing through our thoughts, but there's plenty of other non-Microsoft motion still happening today on the smartphone scene. Wednesdays are when we typically look for Google to release updates for an Android app or two, and the company does not fail to disappoint this week. Let's take a look at what's headed out to Android users today: First up, we've got an update for Google Keep, bringing the note-taking app a slightly tweaked UI; the changes serve to help bring Keep in line with the latest design language Google's been using across its various Android ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 5:14 PM

    Just a few hours back, we got to hear Microsoft's new Cortana voice assistant speak for the first time. The company is understandably excited about what Cortana can do for WP8.1 users, and presents the system as a much more user-aware alternative to Siri or Google Now. But when we're talking with Cortana, just who is it we're hearing respond? Back in January, rumors suggested that Microsoft had tapped Jen Taylor to reprise her role as Cortana from the Halo games to model her voice for the service. What we heard today sounded close enough to Cortana from the games, but is this really Jen ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 4:21 PM

    Especially if you're not an Apple user, it sure is easy to find fault with the company's Lightning connector: it's an unneeded proprietary design, it breaks compatibility with existing accessories, and cables supporting it can be damn expensive - we've heard all the complaints. But for whatever issues you may have, it's hard to deny the utility of Lightning's most compelling feature, the ability to attach the connector without regard for its orientation: it works just as well right side up as upside down. Back in December we heard about an effort to bring a cable that works in a similar ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 3:03 PM

    How will Windows Phone 8.1 come to existing Nokia Lumia smartphones? We've heard rumors about a “Cherry Blossom Pink” firmware update, but with today's start to Microsoft's Build conference we can start putting rumors behind us and finally get some hard answers. Here's what we've learned: Nokia intends to deliver 8.1 updates to the entirety of its Windows Phone 8 Lumia lineup. OTA updates are expected to start going out to phones this summer. When mentioning that Cherry Blossom Pink leak we told you how Nokia was likely to go with a much more concise name for the official release, ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 2:00 PM

    Microsoft's Build 2014 keynote is still underway, and we weren't expecting any Nokia news until later in the day, but Stephen Elop has managed to surprise us by joining Microsoft on-stage and revealing the Lumia 930. The Lumia 930 features a five-inch 1080p display, has built-in support for wireless charging, and offers a 20MP main camera with optical stabilization.The phone's powered by a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC. Sales of the 930 will begin this June, with a suggested price of about $600, off-contract. Nokia will introduce the phone to markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, while ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 11:43 AM

    Build 2014 is underway, and Microsoft has wasted no time in getting started by announcing Windows Phone 8.1 Joe Belfiore took the stage to get us started, announcing two new hardware partners, Micromax and Prestigio. Those names may be unfamiliar to many of us, but they're already hard at work on new hardware; the two phones you see Belfiore holding up above are in-development handsets from Micromax and Prestigio. Then we jump right in to new features, getting started with an eagerly anticipated one: the Action Center.  Users will see not only notifications but detailed information on ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 11:27 AM

    Microsoft's Build 2014 keynote is just about to get started, when we expect to get the company's formal announcement of Windows Phone 8.1. That means confirmation of features, including one that's been intriguing us for months now, Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Seen as the company's answer to Siri or Google Now, we've been hearing about it since last fall, and new evidence for the service arrived with the leak of the WP8.1 SDK. Still, we haven't managed to actually hear Cortana speak so far, so we're quite excited for this official news. As we wait with baited breath, one last ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 10:53 AM

    Will Nokia announce the Lumia 930 at its press event tonight? One week ago, we would have answered that question with a solid “probably,” but more recent rumors have suggested that the 930 might be a no-show, and maybe only the 630 would be on the menu. We'll know for sure in just a matter of hours, but even if the 930 isn't on the slate tonight, we're bound to see Nokia reveal the phone in the relatively near future. While so far we haven't had much to look at while talking about all these Lumia 930 rumors, today we finally get to put a face to the name, as the first render of the ...

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  • by | April 1, 2014 8:07 PM

    Late last December, as we were still gearing-up for CES, we started hearing rumors about an Ascend P7 from Huawei. With a five-inch 1080p display, a 13MP main camera, and a possible 8MP front-facer, the phone sounded decent enough, even if we still didn't know very much about it. But then we didn't see the P7 at CES, nor did we at MWC. Was it still happening? In early March rumors suggested that the phone could launch in May, but that was the last we heard of it. We're still looking to get to the bottom of its launch story, but today we're checking out some new imagery instead, with a ...

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  • by | April 1, 2014 7:24 PM

    What is it about today and Android OEMs introducing low-to-mid-end tablet hardware? We got the ball rolling this morning with Samsung and the launch of its three new Galaxy Tab4 models, and now we see Lenovo stepping up with an assortment of its own, revealing four new Android tablets. First we have the A7-30 and A7-50, and truth be told, we're not entirely clear how they differ. We have a full set of specs for the A7-50, which will feature a seven-inch 1024 x 600 display, a quad-core MediaTek SoC, 8GB of storage, a 2MP camera (with VGA front-facer), a 3500mAh battery, and be available in ...

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  • by | April 1, 2014 5:38 PM

    Back in January, we were tipped off to the existence of a limited time sale Google was having on accessories in the Play Store, offering cases for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 models at 25% off the list price. If you missed the boat that time around, you're in luck, as the same sort of deals are making a return, giving you one more opportunity to snatch them up. We're still looking at 25% discounts, this time with two options available apiece for the Nexus 5 and 2013 Nexus 7. For the Nexus 5, you can score the “bumper” case for a little over $26, or the hinged quick cover for $37. For the Nexus ...

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