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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    Late last week brought us a couple interesting developments in the Moto 360's slow march to retail availability. We had that invite to Motorola's September 4 event, with a graphic of a round watch that sure seemed to be a Moto 360 reference to us, and then that news that Google was finally getting ready to send out long overdue Moto 360s to Google I/O attendees – and between the two of them, we started feeling more confident that the 360 could go up for sale in early September, rather than much later in the month. Over the weekend we picked up some new evidence towards this “360 is ...

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    Who's got the best smartphone camera around? Are you in awe of the iPhone's imaging capabilities? Has HTC made an UltraPixel convert out of you? Or are you clinging on to your Lumia 1020 until the day arrives when anything else even starts coming close to its pixel-dense sensor? The European Imaging and Sound Association just handed out its latest batch of honors and the winner of its European Smartphone Camera 2014-2015 award might not be the first model that comes to mind, but it's still one that seems quite deserving: the Galaxy K zoom. “But that's more camera than smartphone,” you ...

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    "Hey where's my Pocketnow contest this week?" What, you thought just because we're in the midst of this summer of giveaways that meant having something running every single week? Wait - that's is what we're supposed to be doing? Ah, nerts. OK, well while we were planning to have our next giveaway start a couple days back, we had to put that one on ice for just a little bit, and it will finally kick-off this coming Monday (so don't forget to check back then). But to hold you over, we've still got some existing stuff that's still running, so this is as good a time as any to remind you of one ...

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    If you were harboring any doubt that Motorola was about to deliver a new Moto X, the September 4 event invite we saw go out earlier this week, with its clear image of an “X” handset, should have succeeded in convincing you. But even if this hardware really is about to go public in just under three weeks, how will it arrive? We've been looking at a smattering of leaks over the summer so far that have attempted to reveal the phone's design to us, but inconsistencies and just a general lack of faith that what we were seeing really was the X+1 have left us without the strongest sense of ...

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    Earlier this week, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Alpha with a bit of a design departure from the rest of the Galaxy pack, giving the phone a handsome chamfered metal edge. But is this a one-off look, the start of a new branch for Samsung's design language for select models, or is this the direction all its phones will soon be headed? A report out of China concerning the use of metal in smartphones suggests that this look could become a fixture for future Samsung phones, including the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6. Now, we've already seen at least some images purporting to show a Note 4 with ...

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    Following the release of a flagship smartphone, we're all too used to seeing a manufacturer release a number of spin-offs that have a bad habit of failing to live up to their potential - “mini” phones that make too many compromises when it comes to specs, and such. That's what made HTC's launch of the One E8 a couple months back so interesting: sure, it lost the One M8's metal, trading that in for a plastic body, but it still performed just like its namesake, and even switching materials, kept the same general design. Really, the biggest limiting factors for the One E8, at least so ...

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    Just a little earlier this week we were thinking about USB cables, and specifically, ones that could be inserted into a device regardless of their orientation: double-sided connectors, just like Apple introduced with its Lightning cable a couple years back. That new USB interface will ultimately arrive as part of the USB 3.1 Type-C spec, but with the details only just now going official, it's still going to be a while before we see anything like that on our phones. Now a new leak suggests that Apple could beat the rest of the industry to the punch, and may release a new Lightning cable for ...

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    What company comes to mind when you're thinking “smartwatch innovator?” Pebble? Samsung? They may be a couple of the highest-profile players, sure, but it's easy to forget about some of the smartphone makers who tried dipping their toe in this pool even earlier – companies like Motorola with its MOTOACTV in 2011, or Sony (then Sony Ericsson) with its LiveView all the way back in 2010. Since then, Sony's released some updated models, including last year's SmartWatch 2 (above). The wearables market has grown by leaps and bounds since last summer, and now we hear that Sony could nearly ...

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    One year ago, we were hardly talking about Lenovo smartphones at all. Maybe it would pop up in the news when rumored to be thinking about buying BlackBerry (or HTC), and once in a while an interesting device caught our eye, but 2014 has positively seen Lenovo's position in the global smartphone market explode. News of its plans to acquire Motorola turned the world's attention to the manufacturer and its smartphone efforts, and its fantastic growth in Asia started becoming too big to ignore. Since then we've seen the company deliver some really compelling handsets, like the monster that is ...

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    Windows Phone sure has a long way to go before it's enjoying the same sort of popularity seen by either iOS or Android, but it's felt like the platform has been slowly building up its base. In some markets, like Vietnam, it's already a real contender, while it continues to struggle to pick up users in others. But on the whole, it's looked like we've been seeing slow growth. Slow, yes, but still growth. However, a new report casts doubt on that progress, showing a decline not just in the number of shipments of new Windows Phone devices, but in the share those shipments make of the overall ...

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    It's fair to say we've got smartwatches on the brain right now. We just checked out that new analyst report looking at the state of the market and what manufacturers might want to start doing in order to drive consumer interest, and this afternoon we've been thinking about Motorola's plans for the start of Moto 360 sales next month. Perhaps those notices Google just sent out to I/O 2014 attendees about claiming the 360s they've got coming their way inspired the company to also step up its public promotion of Android Wear, as it's just released four new short promotional videos on YouTube. ...

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    With those invitations Motorola just started distributing for a September 4 event, the ones that pretty unambiguously feature an image of a watch among their highlighted products, it's safe to say that we're just about to learn of the start of retail sales for the Moto 360. But even if that announcement comes at the event, when might the smartwatch actually go up for sale? After all, a couple of the other products we're hoping to see announced – the Moto X+1 and G2 – have been rumored to land on September 25, and September 10, respectively. Would the 360 fall closer to the former or ...

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    Odds are looking very good that we're just about to see HTC introduce a new version of its Android-running One M8, only this time reconfigured as a Windows Phone 8.1 handset. An HTC event scheduled for next week is likely to formally introduce us to the smartphone, and if what we've heard about its hardware is correct, it really will be the One M8 we know and love, just with a software swap. If we've got two versions of the same phone, each running a different platform, does that mean it will only be a matter of time before custom ROM enthusiasts find a way to convert a handset back and ...

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    Back in March, when HTC first launched the One M8, we got some surprising news about HTC-exclusive software: the company's Zoe app wasn't just going to be released as a stand-alone app in the Play Store for HTC users, letting them more easily snag updates, but would also be available for installation on non-HTC hardware. That sounded like it had the potential to be big news, letting HTC reach more users than ever before and give them a taste of what the company's software could deliver. Earlier this week we heard that Zoe was just about to make its big expansion, and today we see HTC flip ...

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    Motorola's got some new hardware coming up: on that much, we all should be able to agree. There's the retail release of the Moto 360, sure, and beyond that we're hoping to see the debut of the Moto X+1 and also maybe a new Moto G. But when is this all actually going to happen? The 360's supposed to land before the end of summer, and rumors have mentioned dates like September 25 for the start of carrier Moto X+1 sales, or the new Moto G coming out on September 10. What about an actual launch announcement? Invites are going out now for a September 4 Motorola press event that sure looks like ...

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