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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    Back in August, Google retired the Galaxy S4 Google Play edition. It had been one of only three phones to survive the big July GPe purge – the other two, the One M8 and Moto G, continue to be listed on Google Play to this day (though neither's currently available for purchase). But even with the GS4 GPe put out to pasture, support for the phone's far from over, and tonight we witness it join the growing ranks of Play edition models receiving their Lollipop updates. Models like Sony's Xperia Z Ultra and the HTC One M8 may have beaten the Galaxy S4 to the Lollipop update table, but ...

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    Going back a couple weeks now, information's been emerging about some new Samsung mid-range Android handsets: models SM-E500 and SM-E700. The limited specs we had available pointed to hardware that fell short of flagship level, and import logs for one revealed a valuation that came in close to the equivalent of $150. New information's slowly been arriving about this pair, expected to launch as the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7, and now some more detailed spec breakdowns have been leaked, further cementing that assessment of these models as mid-rangers. The Galaxy E5 is rumored to feature a ...

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    Being a user of Google products outside the US can be a bit (or more than a bit) frustrating at times. When new devices and services debut, and Google's not making a concerted effort for global availability, you can almost be assured that users in the States will have access long before you do. All the way back in May, Google released an update for the Android and iOS editions of Maps that improved upon the existing turn-by-turn navigation by adding lane guidance; when cruising around on a multi-lane road, no longer was there any guesswork involved in knowing if you were in the right place ...

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    It's been just about two months now since the HTC-made Nexus 9 first went official, and well over a month since sales have begun. But even this far into the tablet's life, not everything in the Nexus 9 family of products has been available for sale. For instance, we only just saw sales of the LTE-equipped Nexus 9 get underway today. And while the tablet's out in black and white, you still can't buy it in its sand color anywhere. On the accessory front, we knew to expect two case designs: the Keyboard Folio and the Magic Cover. The former, while expensive, has been available for purchase ...

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    So far today, we're not off to the best start when it comes to leaked pics of upcoming smartphones; that “Galaxy S6” that's been making the rounds is pretty clearly a fake. But before you get soured to leaks altogether, we've got another one that looks like it's going to hold up a lot better, as some pics emerge of what appears to be Sony's Xperia E4. As a budget model, the E4's not going to be as exciting as something like the GS6, and rumored specs like a quarter HD, five-inch display and a MediaTek MT6582 SoC aren't going to drive you wild with anticipation. But there's a place in ...

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    How badly would you like to see Samsung's upcoming Android flagship, the Galaxy S6? No, no – keep your right arm for now. Eventually we almost certainly will get a chance to see a legitimate Galaxy S6 leak, whether that first arrives as an individual component or two, or maybe a more fully assembled prototype. And today there's a pic going around that purports to give us a glimpse at just such a thing – you may have even seen it popping up on your social feeds by now. But be wary, as this shot is looking a lot like a fake. That's it up above, and on first glance it looks Samsung-y ...

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    Unlike the Nexus 6, which has been popping up for sale in the Play Store with the frequency of Halley's Comet, it's been substantially easier to pick up the Nexus 9 tablet. Whether you're going with the 16GB or 32GB edition, it's been a cinch to buy one from Google, to say nothing of HTC itself or other retail partners. At least, that's been the case for the WiFi version of the tablet, but its cellular-connected brother has been a little slower to materialize. Last month we heard from T-Mobile that sales of the LTE Nexus 9 would start sometime in early December, but no precise date was ...

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    Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 is a powerhouse of a phablet, and depending on the regional variant you have, it's running either an Exynos 7 Octa or a Snapdragon 805. Earlier this week we checked out a rumor that claimed Samsung could already be working on another hardware revision of the Note 4, one that would ditch that 805 for a next-gen Snapdragon 810 SoC. The idea makes enough sense – this is exactly the routine Samsung's pulled time and time again with LTE-A models of its flagships – but we really didn't have anything more than the word of an anonymous source to go on. Now we're ...

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    We're going to have to wait until next month to get new details on Microsoft Windows 10, but the company's interest spread far beyond its own platform, and this week we've got some fresh releases to check out for a couple of Microsoft's big mobile competitors, as the company releases a bunch of MSN apps for both Android and iOS. So what are we looking at here? MSN News, MSN Weather, MSN Sports, MSN Money, MSN Health & Fitness, and MSN Food & Drink, with most available for both Android and iOS. MSN Weather, at least, is still waiting for an iOS port, though there is an Android ...

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    Microsoft's on the cusp of the evolution across its OS ecosystem, with Windows 10 waiting for us in 2015. Announced back at the end of September, the platform will attempt to further unify devices across form factors, as computers, tablets, and phones alike will all run Windows 10 – no more separate name for Microsoft's smartphone OS. And while that announcement brought us a fair amount of info about the company's intentions for Windows 10 on PCs, there's a lot we still need to know about the mobile side of things. It's probably a good way's off before we have the complete picture, but ...

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    Back in early September, Amazon rolled-out a big update to its Android app, adding support for Prime Instant Video. But there was also another big change happening behind the scenes, as Amazon quietly rolled the functionality from its previously-separate Amazon Appstore into its primary Android app, letting you purchase and install software independently of the Play Store. Sound to you like something Google might have a strong opinion about? This week the fallout finally lands, as Amazon finds itself forced to pull its old Android app and launch a new one, one that no longer offers apps of ...

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    There are new two ways about it: the Nexus 6 is the future of the Nexus smartphone lineup. And while the Nexus 5 has hung around even after the 6's debut, we've been forced to acknowledge that the phone's days are numbered. As of right now – in the US, at least – you'll find the Play Store out of Nexus 5 inventory; it sure hasn't felt like ongoing Nexus 5 sales are a big priority for Google. But just how much longer before this guy is gone for good? Today brings us news on a couple fronts about the handset's future, all getting started with the report that production of the Nexus 5 has ...

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    When does Apple really intend to get started with smartwatch sales? Next year, obviously, but are we looking at the Apple Watch hitting retail in something like February or March? Maybe even April? While we were initially leaning towards the wearable hitting stores sooner rather than later, a couple months back rumors started talking about manufacturing delays, suggesting that Apple Watch production wouldn't hit full speed until January. Today we've got another source weighing-in on the matter, with another report pointing to a January start to manufacturing. While the way the story is ...

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    Just last night we were thinking about that supposedly-canceled next-gen Microsoft Windows Phone handset that would have introduced a new “3D Touch” user interface, the smartphone codenamed McLaren. Some of that UI stuff might end up living on in Windows 10, but what of the hardware itself? Well, like we said, there have been pretty adamant rumors claiming that McLaren has been scrapped, with Microsoft moving on to other things. But even if the phone as a commercial product's not happening, images of a purported prototype have already leaked, revealing a very Lumia-1020-looking design ...

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    It's been one week now since Android 5.0.1 first premiered, as Google dropped factory images for several Nexus tablets. And if you didn't feel up for starting from scratch (or restoring all your data), a few hours later we had OTA files ready for you to push to your phones over ADB. But like we said: that was a week ago. What's the latest progress on 5.0.1's spread? We're still not even close to the point where all these files are available for all Nexus models, but a few new ones have surfaced today, ready for you to flash at your pleasure. Instead of tablets, today's developments concern ...

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