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 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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    Samsung's wrap-around-screened Galaxy Note Edge is something unlike any phone we've ever seen before, and earlier today we brought you a hands-on look at just what it's like to use this phablet, and how the experience differs from what you get with the regular Galaxy Note 4. But to hear the rumors, this curve-over display action might not just be something Samsung brings to the Note family, and several rumors have hinted at a similar edition being in the works for next year's Galaxy S6. Not everyone's so sure about that, though, and a new source today claims that Samsung may only be ...

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    The Windows Phone handset codenamed McLaren isn't happening; despite all the effort put into its rumored “3D Touch” interface, Microsoft has apparently moved on from those hardware plans. But to hear a new report, aspects of the phone's software may survive and make their influence felt in the forthcoming release of Windows 10. One such feature is tipped to involve Live Tiles, and could offer a new “exploding,” “flyover tile” experience, developed under the name Mixview. While specifics about the implementation may easily change between now and when Windows 10 for phones starts ...

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    LG Optimus 3D, HTC EVO 3D: time was, if you wanted to view 3D content on your phone, that meant picking up a special smartphone with an autosteroscopic display. Except, as the lack of subsequent models like those should indicate, people weren't picking them up. But a few years later the situation has changed, and now the hot thing with 3D is pairing your regular-old 2D smartphone display with a set of lenses for an up-close-and-personal 3D experience. That's what Samsung's Gear VR does, but before that there was Google Cardboard, the no-frills DIY option to turn your handset into a mini 3D ...

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    It's time for Android Wear to join the first wave of Android phones on the journey to the latest and greatest system software; yesterday we heard a rumor that an Android 5.0-based update for Wear would start hitting smartwatches today, and Google's just gone ahead and made that news official, announcing the distribution of updates beginning today and continuing over the week to come. You won't need Android 5.0 Lollipop on your smartphone to take advantage of this new Wear software; anything 4.3 or better, and you're golden. And whether you've got an old Samsung Gear Live or the latest Sony ...

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    A couple days earlier this week, Samsung got US sales rolling for arguably the most compelling Galaxy Note 4 accessory you'll find, the immersive Gear VR headset. Pop your Note 4 in the front, strap the Gear VR on, and you're all ready to start experiencing virtual worlds. Well, at least you would be, if your Note 4 supported the Gear VR. Even though the accessory is explicitly designed to work with the phablet, there's one important stipulation you may have overlooked: the Note 4 needs its latest software to connect with the Gear VR, and as Samsung alluded to in its statement accompanying ...

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    Right at the tail end of last week we checked out the latest information attempting to clue us in as to what to expect form Samsung's spring 2015 flagship, the phone we're all expecting to arrive as the Galaxy S6. Instead of stuff like curved screens, we were looking at straightforward benchmark data – and from what was revealed, the handset sure looked like a solid one, rocking an octa-core Exynos 7420, a quad HD display, 3GB of RAM, and a 20MP camera. Problem is, benchmarks aren't always the most reliable source for intel on a new phone, and especially when we're only looking at ...

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    For the past couple months, OnePlus has been doing its best to make the One available for purchase to more and more users. While some of those opportunities have involved very limited pre-order windows, we've also seen progress towards regular, continually-open sales, as occurred over Black Friday weekend. With the clock ticking down on 2015, the manufacturer is offering shoppers one more shot at snagging the very affordable smartphone, announcing its “Gift of One” event with another wide-open sales opportunity. Starting now and going until... well, we don't know when, but acting fast ...

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    If you're looking for a smartphone that takes its security seriously, there's not a handset that wears its commitment to user privacy and OS integrity on its sleeve more boldly than the Blackphone. But as we saw when reviewing the handset, this is a phone that sometimes sounds a bit better than its reality can follow-through with, and we took issue with software stability problems and what we viewed as first-gen missteps. But the great thing about software is how amenable it is to improvements, and today we learn about a big new update coming for the Blackphone with the release of PrivatOS ...

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