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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    We're coming up on four months now since ASUS first announced its ZenFone 2 back at CES in January, a phone (or should we say, family of phones, since the ZenFone 2 varies quite a bit in its configuration options) that's managed to stay in the headlines not just because of its very affordable price point, but because of just how well equipped it can be for such a budget-priced handset: you still won't see big-name Android flagships packing a solid 4GB of RAM, yet ASUS has managed to outfit the ZenFone 2 with just that kind of memory to spare. Now the manufacturer is getting ready to let ...

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    On its surface, Twitter seems like such a simple service: post short messages, and read those from users you follow. But once you start following account after account, each one retweeting a seemingly endless stream of content, it can quickly become a bit much to handle. Rather than driving you mad trying to keep up with everything, or hitting you with a bad case of FOMO over what you're not reading, Twitter has come up with a new tool to bring you content you might not want to miss, with the introduction of Highlights. Highlights delivers a twice-a-day summary of content Twitter's ...

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    Picking up the HTC One M9, we had such high hopes for the phone's camera. HTC has really been trying to find a way to shine with its smartphone imaging, and while some of those efforts have come up short of our expectations, we couldn't fault the company for trying. So when the One M9 rolled in with its 20MP sensor, our optimism ran high. As we put the phone through its paces during our review period, it soon became clear that this wasn't quite the camera we'd been hoping for. The nice thing about smartphones, though, is that software plays such a large role in how things operate that even ...

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    What's standing between LG and finding even greater success in the smartphone market? It's not like the company doesn't produce some solid models, so why isn't its share of things up on the level of players like Samsung? There's no one simple answer, but promotion undoubtedly plays a major role there; sometimes it seems that there's no limit to what Samsung will spend to advertise a smartphone. With the G4 now available, is LG ready to step up its promo game and get the phone out where potential shoppers will be exposed to it? As we look forward to seeing how initial sales perform, the ...

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    Sony is a brand recognizable the world around, and a company that makes some pretty attractive smartphones, but it sure seems to have the darnedest time making money selling them. In recent financial reports, Sony's blamed some of its losses on insufficient smartphone sales. This week the company's latest numbers are out, and the future for its phone business isn't looking a heck of a lot brighter. The good news, if you can see it as such, is that Sony's mobile device shipments have plateaued, not showing much growth or loss over the course of a year. And despite shipments staying put, ...

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    We've already hit most of the big news to come out of the Build 2015 keynote address earlier today – at least, the stuff that wasn't completely dev-focused and of limited interest to end-users like us. But as we rushed to bring you news of the now-Edge browser and the latest HoloLens demo, there's one we had to put a pin in – not because it's some minor gimmick or anything so easily dismissible, but because we wanted to come back around and give it the attention it deserves: Microsoft Continuum for phones. Continuum itself isn't that novel of an idea: it attempts to bridge the gap ...

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    Maybe the most interesting mobile hardware to be announced so far this year came from Microsoft back in January, as the company unveiled Windows Holographic and its HoloLens headset. Going far beyond phone-based HMDs like the Gear VR, HoloLens is an all-in-one computer that allows users to interact with virtual “holograms” in a real-world environment. We only got a brief look at HoloLens at the time, but today it's back at Build 2015. Microsoft highlighted how HoloLens users will be able to interact with regular Windows 10 apps, the same as they'd find on their PCs or phones. Apps can ...

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    Windows users have been looking forward to Microsoft's Project Spartan for months, the company's break away from Internet Explorer as it prepares a new browser experience that will be integral to Windows 10. Previews landed last month for the PC, and earlier this month for phones. But for all Microsoft's told us about Spartan, we've known that at least one thing was destined to change prior to the software's final release: its name. At Build 2015 today, Microsoft just introduced us to Spartan as it will arrive in its final form, picking up the name Microsoft Edge. Besides simply announcing ...

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    Earlier this week, a rumor broke that Microsoft had a big announcement coming for Build 2015, one that threatened to shake up the app landscape on Microsoft's platform. Supposedly Android compatibility was in the works, opening up Windows devices to a huge new selection of software. Today as Microsoft details the many ways devs can bring their apps to the Windows Store under Windows 10, the company has not only confirmed something that's very much along those lines, but that extends to iOS, too. Microsoft highlights four main ways devs can bring existing apps to Windows 10. They can ...

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    If you spend a lot of time working with Microsoft's suite of Office apps, you're likely familiar with the company's support for Office add-ins, plugins that allow developers to brings news tools and features to standard Office programs. These can be anything from document management systems, to collections of shortcuts, to industry-specific projects that make it easier to work with advanced notation. At its Build conference today, Microsoft is showcasing some expanded add-in support coming with Office 2016, including the ability for add-ins to exist across platforms. Considering how Office ...

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    The Galaxy Note is Samsung's flagship platform for trying out new things, and if the rumors are to be believed, this year's Galaxy Note 5 could sure be a trailblazer in its own right, bringing an insanely high-res ultra HD 3840 x 2160 display to the phablet. But beyond that idea, we haven't heard a ton about the hardware – maybe an Edge model could return, but it sounds like that new SoC might not be ready in time. We've still got months and months to learn more about Samsung's plans, and today we lay a little ground work, hearing about some model numbers and a code name for not just the ...

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    Every year we start things off with a couple months of expo season, with winter bringing us both CES and later MWC. But by the time spring rolls around, we're ready to move on from those big trade shows to platform-focused events. Google I/O and Apple's WWDC are still weeks away, but this week Microsoft gets things started with Build 2015. With lots of events and presentations to check out, there's plenty to keep attendees busy, but it's today's first keynote that's likely to bring us any big news Microsoft has brewing. We'll be delivering coverage of any important announcements later ...

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    If you're anything like us, you juggle a lot of mobile devices – probably quite a few more than your average user. And while walking around armed to the teeth with the latest mobile hardware can be a lot of fun, not everything behaves quite so nicely when you're pushing the boundaries of typical use cases. That's been an issue with smartwatches, especially if you own more than one model. Thankfully, it's also something that's been on Google's radar to address, and today we learn about the new Google Play Services 7.3, delivering among other improvements support for multiple Android Wear ...

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    You've seen what the just-launched LG G4 looks like when compared to last year's G3, but what about a modern flagship? After all, when shoppers head out to stores later this spring, they won't be weight the G4 against the phone it's replacing in LG's lineup, but against other flagships from different Android manufacturers. And top at many of smartphone shoppers' lists is going to be Samsung with its Galaxy S6. At LG's launch event for the G4, we brought along just such a GS6 to give you a quick look at just how these two top-shelf smartphones compare. Both companies made some start choices ...

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    Back in January we learned about a big expansion in the works for Google Now, as Google invited new app partners to integrate their content with the company's service. We heard more about such efforts last month, as Google talked about plans to release a Now API to further streamline how app content could connect with Now. This week Google's showing off where all this has led, announcing Now integration with dozens and dozens of apps – some seventy, total. The sorts of information these apps provide run the gamut from news, to entertainment, to fitness, and even dining – really, all ...

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    Think you know what to expect from the LG G4, because you've already had some experience with last year's G3? Well, you're not wrong – the G4 is cute from much of the same cloth as the G3, and LG didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel this time around – but that doesn't mean this is some uninspired re-hash either, and LG has made some important upgrades that do much to help establish the G4 as a handset worthy of some it own attention. At LG's launch event today in New York, we went hands-on with both G-series flagships to really see how they compare. You may have seen our ...

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    Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is quickly coming up on its one-year birthday, and while it's no less of a powerful, portable computer than it was when it first launched, soon we're going to have to start admitting that its days are numbered. After all, the tide of progress waits for no tablet, and Microsoft will eventually step up to replace the Surface Pro 3 with an even more versatile slate. We've already talked a little about our own hopes and dreams for the presumptive Surface Pro 4, but that was just wishful thinking. We still don't have anything official to share in regards to Microsoft's ...

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    The LG G4 just debuted in a global launch event, but it's South Korea that's getting the phone first, with availability starting tomorrow, April 28. We knew that the big carriers in the US would start getting their hands on the phone later this spring, but when? One by one, the carriers are now speaking up about their own plans for the G4. First we heard from T-Mobile, confirming its intention to carry the G4. And while it hasn't offered a date just yet, it does have a way to give you an early look at the phone, thanks to a contest that will see the carrier giving out a G4 a day for free ...

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    LG's G4 just went official, the company's latest Android to take up the G-series name. And as such a flagship model, it's inevitable that we'll be putting the phone's specs under the microscope. With the G4, LG made the somewhat controversial decision not to go with the Snapdragon 810 that powers the HTC One M9, and even the LG G Flex 2 before it, and instead to only outfit the handset with the hexa-core Snapdragon 808. LG claims that the 808 was really the best fit for the phone, but will its performance measure up to its competition? As we wait to give the G4 our full review treatment, ...

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    Does the LG G4 have any secrets left? Between the weeks and weeks of detailed leaks, the effort LG's undertaken to tease the phone's feature set, and now this last-minute spec leak, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the G4 had nothing further to reveal. The truth will become clear in just a few hours, with LG's event getting underway at 11am Eastern, but before it does, we've got at least one more leak to take a look at, upon the release of some of early pics of the G4 being unboxed. For those of you who have expressed some hesitation over the idea of the leather-backed G4, this may be ...

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    Sony's a brand with more history in consumer electronics than most other smartphone companies, but that head start hasn't translated into a top spot in the market. Instead, Sony's struggled to find its place, and that's meant making some tough decisions – such as not wasting a lot of time fighting in extremely competitive markets like the US. But just because it's choosing its battles doesn't mean that Sony's afraid of some healthy competition, and this month the company's talking about its plan to succeed in one of the most competitive markets around, with new exclusive smartphone ...

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    A few reports about underwhelming Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sales aren't about to ruffle Samsung's feathers; far from it, and rather than finding itself with more GS6-series phones in stock than it knows what to do with, Samsung is supposedly scrambling to keep production moving at a brisk enough pace to keep up with demand. So say the latest rumors about the Galaxy S6 Edge in particular, as we get word that Samsung has brought the Edge's curved screen fabrication to a third production line, more than doubling its capacity in the process. This third production line should increase Samsung's ...

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    Last year, Huawei delivered a wearable that pulled double duty, going well beyond the normal feature set of fitness trackers to offer one that transformed into a Bluetooth earpiece: the TalkBand B1. This year the manufacturer came to MWC ready to show off its more refined take on the concept, launching the second-gen TalkBand B2 and coming back with the same sort of hybrid design. We've already had the opportunity to go hands-on with the wearable for ourselves, and now it's your chance to get involved, as we team with Huawei Device USA to give away five TalkBand B2 wearables to lucky ...

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    Huawei just launched its flagship P8 and P8max, but we already find ourselves looking to what's coming up next from the smartphone manufacturer. Rumors have suggested that the company's planning to introduce a new mid-range model next week, tipped as the Honor 4C. But if the latest leak is right, that's just part of what it's working on, and we could actually be seeing the launch of a trifecta of new devices. Instead of just the Honor 4C alone, now we're hearing that Huawei may also introduce an Honor 4C Note and Honor 4C Max, purportedly all pictured above. The Honor 4C itself is supposed ...

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    Cyanogen has been taking some big steps ever since the group formally incorporated itself and graduated from being some custom ROM enthusiasts to a company doing business with some major manufacturers. That's led to devices like the Oppo N1, OnePlus One, and Yu Yureka. As we wait to see what's next from Cyanogen, it's teasing a mysterious project on social media – so what could it be? The above image arrived this afternoon alongside the note “Cooking up something new in the lab” with the hashtags “EarlyStages” and “TopSecret.” What's the focus supposed to be here? The ...

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