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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    It feels like there are a million little things users are paying attention to about the new Moto 360 smartwatch. From the circular display to its wireless charging abilities, this is a smartwatch unlike any we've seen hit the market before. So it's hardly surprising that iFixit felt compelled to tear the smartwatch and but its components under the microscope, seeing what makes this wearable tick. What they found are some dense circuit boards and tiny interconnects, sure, but also a few surprises, including a battery that's not as advertised. Motorola's clear in its Moto 360 spec breakdowns ...

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    Today may very clearly be Apple's day in the sun, but even as we prepare for the its latest announcements just a few hours from now, there's another A-company catching our attention on the mobile front, with Amazon pushing a pretty sizable update to its Android app. Amazon had already been on our radar this week due to the much-appreciated Fire Phone price cuts we just saw go live, but this time it's Amazon Prime that's our focus, and specifically Amazon Prime Instant Video. Thanks to the latest update to the Amazon Android app, Prime subscribers in the US will now be able to watch free ...

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    Has it been a week already? Last Monday we were still gearing-up for IFA 2014, preparing ourselves for the torrent of phone, tablet, and wearable news that would consumer our lives for the days to come. We had high expectations going in, having heard no shortage of rumors for what new products would be on the expo floor, and that's not even touching upon the many launches we saw in the weeks leading up to the conference, from manufacturers too eager to wait for IFA itself. With our crack team of Taylor Martin and Michael Fisher on the ground, we've brought you hands-on report after ...

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    We're well used to learning about current events through social media by this point; reacting to news of anything from a celebrity break-up to a natural disaster with “yeah, I heard about it on Twitter” is hardly uncommon these days. But while the service may have become a ubiquitous tool for thought-sharing, Twitter would like to see people start using it for other things – things that can help make Twitter money. Someday soon, you may even find yourself saying “yeah, I bought that on Twitter,” as today the company starts rolling-out in-tweet purchasing opportunities for its ...

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    With IFA 2014 dying down, it's about to return to business as usual in the smartphone world. Well, after tomorrow's little event from this upstart smartphone maker out west, anyway. But now that you have a chance to take a breather and let all the hardware launches of the past week start to sink, we wanted to remind you of a contest you've still got time to enter. Last Monday, we started our latest round in the Don't-Tell-Us-It's-Almost-Fall-Yet Pocketnow Summer of Giveaways. With the help of those skin-making geniuses over at dbrand, we're hooking a lucky Pocketnow reader up with a brand ...

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    Last week, Motorola finally opened the Moto 360 floodgates, bringing us the start of sales nearly half a year after the smartwatch was first announced. And sure enough, you could drop $250 and pick up a shiny new Moto 360 for yourself – well, as long as stocks held out, at least. But that was only one of the 360 options Motorola announced, also revealing plans to sell a Moto 360 with a premium metal band. Problem was, the only ETA we got for that was “sometime this fall.” Now we're starting to close in on exactly when the Moto 360 with a steel band might be available, with a carrier ...

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    Ever since Amazon launched the Fire Phone a few months back, we've been anxious to learn if the company's first smartphone effort would find success. Going in, we were nervous about what effect its flagship-level pricing and carrier exclusivity would have on sales, and based on the projections we've seen, it doesn't really look like Fire Phone sales have been, well, on fire. But now Amazon may finally be ready to start doing something to turn the phone's fate around, and today we get word not just of an expansion of Fire Phone sales, but a godsend of a price drop. Starting today, the Fire ...

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    What will be the final designation Google gives to its next major Android release? Following Jelly Bean and KitKat, it's time for an L-named treat, but just which? Back at Google I/O, Google managed to side-step the issue with this “Android L” business, but that's just a placeholder. With the big public release of Android L due for this fall, along with expectations for new Nexus hardware, when are we going to lean this software's final name? We've got a couple news developments along those lines to check out as we start the week. First up, there's what happened over the weekend – or ...

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    So far at IFA this year we've brought you up-close looks at new phones from the likes of Samsung and Sony, as well as HTC, and even Microsoft - all big names in the mobile space. But this show isn't just about checking out the new models from the usual suspects, and we've also got a whole bunch of entries from some of the lesser-appreciated firms contributing to the smartphone landscape. Last week we shared with you news of a Windows tablet launch from Acer, and today we check out one of the company's recent smartphones, the Liquid Jade. First announced all the way back at the end of May, ...

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    Earlier this summer, before Samsung had gone all-in with quad HD for its Galaxy Note 4, we were checking out its QHD stealth-launch with the LTE-A Galaxy S5. But beyond just having more pixels than the original GS5, that smartphone's display caught our attention due to how well it performed in color accuracy tests. Rather than cranking saturation up to 10 in an attempt to dazzle, its color reproduction was analyzed as being much more true-to-life than previous Samsung OLED phones. Now with the Note 4 landing, how will it stack up? Early reports suggest it will compare quite favorably, with ...

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    From the moment we first saw round smartwatch faces back when Android Wear debuted in March, we were hooked: instead of something that looked like a tiny, limited-functionality smartphone strapped to our wrists, we had a form factor that was unmistakably a watch. But it didn't take long for detractors to start pointing out the Moto 360's most glaring weakness, that its screen wasn't truly circular, but traded-in some real estate down at the bottom to house display-driving circuitry. How big a deal that was depended on your tastes, but no matter what you thought, it was still the only game ...

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    At this point, it's looking pretty likely that Apple will have iWatch news for us at its Tuesday event, regardless of whether or not the wearable is due for an immediate retail release (and things have been leaning towards “not”). Assuming that we do indeed get to this see new smartwatch, what software will be running on it? Not Apple code – that's obvious – but what of third-party support? After all, we critique these existing wearable platforms based on their app selections, so surely we'll be looking at Apple's in the same light, and so far there hasn't been a lot of talk about ...

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    When we're trying to predict what announcements are due from an upcoming mobile event, we often turn to the invites. Is there some subtle hint at what sort of products might be in store? Or maybe a less-than-subtle shove in the right direction? Sometimes it's not the invites themselves we need to pay attention to, but who's getting them. Consider the August HTC announcement that brought us the One M8 for Windows: while the invite itself didn't tell much, that fact that it was going out to a lot of sites with a primarily Windows Phone focus helped clue us in to HTC's plans. Now similar ...

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    There's been no shortage of Apple hardware leaks going back the past few months now, and the question's been less one of “when are we going to start seeing some iPhone 6 stuff” and more one of “just which of these many, many leaks is the real deal?” But as we close in on next week's anticipated launch date, we've found the chaff separating from wheat, and a clearer image of the phone's hardware emerging. This weekend we move beyond component shots and dummy models, and even fully-assembled handsets, to seeing one captured in operation on video. It's just a short clip, but it does ...

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    Samsung's Unpacked 2 event in the days leading up to IFA 2014 revealed a whole bunch of new hardware from the company, with the Note 4 front and center. As expected, we saw a lot of related products, including the debut of the Gear VR. Like a fancier Google Cardboard, the headset pairs the quad HD display and processing power of the Note 4 with a series of lenses to create an immersive virtual experience. We learned that sales would begin later this year, and that carriers were even interested, but Samsung wasn't being too forthright with a price tag; just how much would this accessory ...

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