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 17, 2014 10:57 AM

    Yesterday brought us our first chance to check out pictures of (what sure seem to be) actual OnePlus One hardware. Well, at least some of it was real hardware: in addition to pics of an exposed One motherboard, we also saw a shot of a little printout that appeared to show a render of the prototype handset. At the very least, that gave us a general sense of the shape the phone's contours might take, but today we do one better, with a new leak offering a glimpse at the phone's front panel. One thing that catches our eye straight away is that the curve at the top edge of this component ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 8:10 PM

    Back on Monday, Sprint gave its users the heads-up that a Nexus 5 update was incoming, and based on the information the carrier made available, this sure looked like the arrival of Android 4.4.3. The weird thing was, Google had yet to announce the update itself, and even the factory image download page for Nexus devices failed to reflect the availability of this new version. As of today, we're still waiting to see confirmation of users getting this Sprint update. While we wait, more and more evidence for the release of 4.4.3 in the immediate future piles up, and the latest comes to us from ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 5:49 PM

    Last Friday we got a look at an image of what were supposed to be cases for Apple's new iPhone 6 designs, and they suggested that beyond simply getting larger, the handsets might take the liberty to reposition some of their hardware. Specifically, we saw signs that could be interpreted as Apple moving the phone's sleep/power button from the top edge to along the side, possibly as a concession to one-handed usage with these larger form factors. But despite that addition of a new button cutout, the old top-edge cutout was still in place. Which was it gonna be? Today some new pics attempt to ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 5:07 PM

    For the past couple weeks, leaks have been revealing Google's work to spruce up the design behind several of its Android apps. First we saw a new Gmail, then Calendar, and finally a home screen that sported new icon designs. Whether or not any of this is tied to those Project Hera rumors is anyone's guess, but evidence of the overhaul continues today, as we get to check out some leaked screenshots of the Android Google+ app. Those circular icons are back in a big way (just like the circular g+ icon from that home screen leak), and we see the recurring design choice of using bold stripes of ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 4:04 PM

    Rumors about LG's next flagship have been around for quite a while by this point, and we've been hearing claims made about the phone's hardware since last year. But recently our understanding of the smartphone has really started taking shape, and only this week have we been seeing pictures that could serve to reveal the handset's ultimate design. Today we get another leaked pic to gawk over, though this time one not of the phone itself, but its packaging. Compared to the G2's box, the LG brand is more front-and-center. The G3 logo appears much like we expected it to here, with that ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 3:19 PM

    In recent years, smartphone camera quality has been becoming more and more important for users, and there's always someone out there raising the bar, or introducing the next big feature everyone wants to copy. Lately, artistic defocusing – the bokeh effect – has been all the rage, and HTC absolutely ran with the idea with the Duo Camera on its One M8. While true bokeh requires careful control over lenses and aperture, smartphones are doing their darnedest to fake it in post processing, and the latest to take a swing at the effect is Google's stock Android camera, making its Play Store ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 1:35 PM

    The Duo Camera arrangement on the new HTC One M8 is something unlike anything we're used to from smartphone imaging, marrying the phone's primary camera with a secondary sensor that can be used to calculate distance info. On the One M8 as it shipped, HTC's software takes advantage of that depth data to pull off some visual effects like selective blurring or the application of more stylistic filters. Is that all there is to this feature, though? HTC would love to see what other minds can come up with, and so today releases its Dual Lens SDK Preview. The SDK consists of two APIs, the ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 12:31 PM

    With one week to go until launch, we're seeing a rush of last-minute OnePlus One news. Just a little earlier today we shared with you those leaked pics of a purported One motherboard and that render of a prototype handset that may share its design with the final, commercial model. Now we follow that up with some news from OnePlus itself, as the company talks about just where you'll be able to get your hands on its premiere smartphone. The OnePlus One is confirmed for release in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 11:35 AM

    Well over a year ago, back around MWC 2013, we heard about LG's aspirations to join the ranks of competitor Samsung with the production of its own LG-branded SoCs. Reportedly, LG was courting TSMC to fabricate the so-called Odin chips, at least some of which would be octa-core big.LITTLE components. Based on when we were hearing about it, we hoped the chips might be ready to make their debut inside the G2 later that year, but instead LG's SoC plans seemed to fall off the radar, and we went without updates. All of a sudden, that news is back in headlines, with word that LG is nearly ready ...

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  • by | April 16, 2014 10:52 AM

    We've got one week to go until April 23, when OnePlus makes formally introduces the One as its inaugural smartphone. While the company has just been a doll when it comes to sharing pre-announcement hardware details, we've been at a loss for much in the way of visual evidence – sure, there was that one leaked sketch, but that's been about it. This week we finally get the opportunity to start, with the arrival of a few pictures, both inside and out. Up there on the left is how the OnePlus One might just look from the rear. Sources describe the rendering as representative of early ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 8:08 PM

    News about Google's Project Ara, the effort to transform smartphones from these pre-configured all-or-nothing options we have now to something much more modular, akin to a build-it-yourself PC, has been absolutely exploding in recent weeks. Just a few days back we were checking out the release of the Ara Module Developers Kit, and this week brings the arrival of the first Ara dev conference, which kicked off earlier today. There, Google shared some of its vision for what's up next for Ara, including when we can expect this hardware to actually go up for sale. Google's ETA for when users ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 5:53 PM

    Sony's latest flagship, the Xperia Z2, is currently available for sale (assuming you can find somewhere that has it), but what's next for the manufacturer? There are those persistent rumors of Windows Phone devices, and we've also checked out what might just be evidence for an early Z2 Compact. This evening we've got another potentially upcoming Sony handset to talk about, but it's difficult to say just what Sony might be thinking with this one. We're talking about the company’s model D6603, which presents us with that screenshot below. While there's not much to see here, benchmark ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 5:10 PM

    As Android users are only too aware, Google's been pushing Google+ pretty hard. If you've decided to go ahead and embrace the service and all it offers, that means you've probably got Auto Backup enabled, loading all the pics you shoot with your Android phone's camera to the cloud. Already, that's meant opening yourself up to a bunch of cool features, like Auto Awesome and Auto Enhance, but today we learn of one more, with the debut of a new ability for Gmail. This is the web version of Gmail we're talking about here, and not the Android app, but seeing as how you use your phone to load ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 4:41 PM

    LG's G3 may be the next flagship to launch from a major Android player, with rumors suggesting we're just a month or two away from its debut. There have been plenty of rumors and leaks arriving to address our expectations for the phone already, but we haven't had much in the way of reliable images of actual hardware. This week, just such a variety of imagery surfaces, but it's not entirely straightforward just what we're looking at. Take, for example, the renders you see above in white, and below in blue. This is not the LG G3. What it is, though, is an apparent leak of the LG isai FL, ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 3:28 PM

    Last week saw Samsung's Galaxy S5 hit carrier shelves in the US, and while this meant that the long-awaited smartphone was finally making its way into user hands, it wasn't without incident, and we heard about a couple circumstances where the smartphone was showing up without its complete feature set intact. The first issue to come to light concerned the download booster Samsung had put together, intended to let users retrieve a file through the combined efforts of the phone's LTE and WiFi connections, pooling their available bandwidth. First the AT&T GS5 showed up with the download ...

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