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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    Shooting time-lapse video with your phone's camera is nothing new, and smartphone users have been putting together sped-up clips for ages. And while regular software does a great job at temporally compressing footage, that faster-than-life effect has a nasty habit of amplifying changes in camera orientation over time, resulting in a jarring, sometimes unpleasant-to-watch experience. Microsoft thought that there must be a better way to create this kind of video, and came up with its Hyperlapse system to smooth-out and stabilize time-lapse footage. Back in May we saw the Hyperlapse app for ...

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    It's been a year now since Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab S tablets with their bright, beautiful OLED displays. For the past few months, we've been hearing about the company's work towards a second-gen update to the line, giving the tablets a new shape, possibly a very slim build, and what could be some best-in-class hardware. All that's left, really, is for Samsung to formally introduce the models. Rumors of a June launch event clearly haven't panned out, but now we may finally be ready to see these guys go official, with word that Samsung may launch the Galaxy Tab S2 first thing next ...

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    ZTE isn't messing around when it comes to the US smartphone market, and earlier this week the manufacturer made its battle plan official, announcing the all-new Axon handset. With top-shelf specs ranging from its quad HD screen, to Snapdragon 810 SoC, to all the RAM you could possibly hope to use, there's a lot to love here, and that's just on the hardware side. ZTE also makes some smart calls with software, not bogging the phone down with a bloated skin. Understandably, we're looking forward to the Axon's retail debut later this month. You can pre-order the Axon now for just about $450, ...

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    Microsoft's Cortana voice-powered virtual assistant is going cross-platform, with plans in motion to bring Cortana to both Android and iOS. When Microsoft first shared this news in late May, it spoke of making the initial Cortana Android app available sometime in June, with the iOS release following later in the year. However, by mid-June Microsoft had revised its schedule a little, and instead informed us that the first Android Cortana beta would land sometime in July. We still haven't seen any sign of an official release, but today we've got the next best thing, as the Cortana Android ...

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    Whether you're shooting a ton of photos, recording 4K video, listening to FLAC audio files, or installing multi-hundred-megabyte games (to say nothing of system updates), there are a hell of a lot of ways to quickly fill up your phone's internal storage. Micro SD expansion might seem like the logical solution, but what seems like a growing number of phones are taking that option away from users. And while there's the cloud, connectivity, security, and just straight-up convenience issues may dissuade users from that option. That leaves the best option for most of our data needs as our ...

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    Leaks to date have suggested that Samsung is planning something new for the S Pen stylus we'll find in the Galaxy Note 5. While past Galaxy Note models exposed the end of the S Pen while tucked away within the phablet, allowing users to pull it out with the graze of a fingernail, Galaxy Note 5 leaks have suggested an S Pen that sits flush along the phone's body, with no exposed rim by which to pull the stylus out. That's helped fuel a few theories about the the new S Pen might operate, and now one of the latest case designs to arrive might be able to let us narrow things down even further. ...

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    Do you install every update that's released for your computer? Sure, often installing updates is smart advice, keeping your PC armed with all the latest security features, but updates do a lot more than simply protect our machines from malicious attackers. Sometimes an update changes the way the system functions; one may even remove previously available features. As such, some users choose to carefully screen if and when updates are approved for installation on their machines. But from the looks of the latest Windows 10 Insider preview, that degree of choice is about to go away for the ...

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    Xiaomi is a powerhouse Android OEM, and the company's already sizable sales only grew in the first half of the year. And while the manufacturer's selling tens of millions upon tens of millions of phones, it's doing so without a presence in some big international markets, the US included. Earlier this year we heard rumors about possible US expansion, but the company was quick to shoot them down, instead revealing an effort to start small with accessories (while leaving the door open for a later expansion into US phone sales). In a new interview, VP Hugo Barra talks a little more about ...

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    LG's working on what should be some impressive new Android hardware: that much we know. The company's been talking about such plans for months now, intending to release another flagship-level device sometime later this year. As for what form that might take, we've heard some good theories, and the rumored G4 Pro is a prime contender. Beyond that there have also been suggestions that the company could be cooking up another Nexus phone – so one way or the other (if not both), we've got some new hardware to key an eye out for. That's just what we're up to this evening as we learn about some ...

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    Android's not just the biggest mobile platform out there; it's also one that's showing some noteworthy growth. Even in the US, where Android faces staunch competition from Apple, the platform's been picking up lots of new users, with its market share rising some three percent over the last quarter. As a result, it should be no surprise that Google's doing quite well for itself, and today the company discloses its latest financial figures, reporting nearly $18 billion in revenues, representing 11 percent growth since last year. Most relevant to our interests are the extent to which mobile ...

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    Jolla and its alternative mobile Sailfish OS have been finding themselves in the news a lot of sudden, first prompted by news of the company's split into hardware and software halves. Then just yesterday we caught word of a new Sailfish-powered handset on its way from Indian OEM Intex, set to debut as the first handset running the new Sailfish OS 2.0. Well, today those Intex plans go official, and beyond naming Intex as its first Sailfish OS licensing partner, Jolla's also giving us another peek at the upgraded Sailfish OS 2.0 itself. We first got to see Sailfish OS 2.0 when previewing the ...

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    Earlier this week we got to wondering about the HTC Grip, after seeing some certification paperwork for the wearable surface over at the Bluetooth SIG. When HTC first announced the Grip fitness tracker back at MWC, the company said that it was looking to get sales started during the spring. And since it hasn't shown up at retail since, we we've been wondering what was going on. Those Bluetooth docs had us hopeful that a release might be nearing, and we reached out to HTC for comment. Today we get our answer, and it's not necessarily a great one, as HTC confirms that plans for the Grip have ...

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    To hear the latest rumors, we're less than a month away from Samsung's next Unpacked event, when the company might introduce both the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge+, more or less a no-stylus version of the Note 5 with a dual-curved-edge screen. And if Samsung really is looking to get a head-start on the IFA launches that will follow a few weeks later, it would only make sense for us to start seeing the arrival of the kind of phone evidence that usually lands just prior to a handset going official. That's just what we're looking at today, as certification paperwork surfaces at the ...

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    Back in April, the OnePlus One reached a turning point: after months of invites, pre-orders, and just a generally convoluted ordering process, the smartphone was finally dropping all that business and the manufacturer was making the phone available to just straight-up buy. It had taken long enough to get there, but we sure were glad to see the phone reach that point. However, at the same time we learned that this time of no invites would be short-lived, and that invites would ultimately return for the phone's sequel. With the OnePlus 2 nearly ready to launch, OnePlus is now taking the time ...

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    Motorola sure appears to be working on a number of new handsets, as recent leaks have been only too willing to reveal. We've not only had the opportunity to check out a bunch of newly leaked photos, but finally started closing in on a launch date, with a rumor suggesting that at least one of these models – the next-gen Moto G – could be getting ready to make its debut on July 28. Today that date picks up some official backing, as Motorola starts sending out announcements for a launch event. As you can see above, Motorola warns us that our relationship status (with our phones, that is) ...

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    HTC first introduced its One M9+ all the way back in April, a slightly larger cousin of the One M9 that picks up a quad HD screen and fingerprint scanner. Since its initial debut for China, we've seen the One M9+ spread to additional markets like India. At first HTC said that it wasn't currently planning to bring sales of the phone to Europe, but recent rumors have suggested sales were on the way, tipped to get started sometime in Q3. Today HTC finally makes those plans official, confirming the One M9+'s availability in Europe. The One M9+ Europe is getting is the very same model we've ...

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    OnePlus got the ball rolling on the pre-launch specs it was announcing for its OnePlus 2 handsets a little under a month ago as it shared news of its choice of the Snapdragon 810 for the phone's SoC. As this is probably the most controversial SoC in recent memory, the company made a point to emphasize how overheating wouldn’t be an issue for the chip, due in part to “an improved version of the chipset (v2.1) in the OnePlus 2.” We've already heard about how early 810 issues were blamed on pre-production silicon, so you might have assumed that we were looking forward to another update ...

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    Being the dedicated smartphone enthusiasts we are, we love to see a market where shoppers have plenty of mobile platform options, and for as great as Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone can be, we welcome the opportunity for others to enter the arena and show why their own operating systems are worth our smartphone-buying dollar. Last week we got some interesting news concerning one of the companies behind these up-and-coming platforms, as Jolla shared word of a major restructuring, splitting its hardware business from work on Sailfish OS. And while we'll need time to learn just how that ...

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    Two weeks from today is July 29, the day when we formally begin the era of Windows 10. Microsoft's been working like gangbusters to get the software ready for release, and some of you likely participated in your own way by testing an advance copy of the OS through the company's Insider program. Now with the big release date in sight, Microsoft has been shifting its focus towards dealing with some of these down-to-the-wire issues, things like temporarily halting availability of new Insider builds so it can work on its update distribution system. One of the most important of these late-stage ...

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    While smartphone makers from Apple, to Motorola, to Samsung (and more) have all expanded into the world of smartwatches, other manufacturers are taking a more tempered approach, testing the waters with devices that are closer in construction and feature set to fitness trackers to full-on smartwatches: firms like HTC and Motorola fall into that camp. Last fall the latter brought us the Microsoft Band, a cross-platform wearable with a focus on exercise and health. Recently, we've been hearing that Microsoft could be in the midst of developing that model's follow-up, and today we get ...

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    For the past couple weeks now, we've been anticipating Apple finally doing something fresh with its stagnant iPod family, and word was that we'd be seeing the introduction of some new devices this week. Well, yesterday's rumored launch may not have happened, but it turns out it was only a matter of time before these new iPods were ready to land, and today Apple reveals its latest iPod touch. The new iPod touch is a big step forward in therms of processing power from the previous version, ditching the old A5 SoC for a modern 64-bit A8 chip. It upgrades the old 5MP camera to a new 8MP ...

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    Advertising industry heavyweight that it is, it's no surprise to see the extent to which Google's been focusing lately on efforts to monetize mobile experiences – after all, if a smartphone user who's running Android is good, one who's also viewing ads, searching for products, and making phone-based purchases is even better. That's bringing us things like the new Android Pay right over the horizon, but today Google's talking about something a little different, as it announces Purchases on Google, a system that will bring buy-buttons to promoted search results. Google already inserts ads ...

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    For several months back there around the early part of the year, rumors had been landing pretty regularly about a round-screened Samsung smartwatch, codenamed Orbis and tipped to possibly launch as the Gear A. And while we've yet to see the wearable go official, or even get a look at the actual hardware, Samsung's as good as confirmed the project, releasing an SDK for round-screened watches that identifies this circular form factor as the company's choice for “the next Gear.” Now as we wait for an official announcement, a new leak attempts to give us a better idea of what to expect ...

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    For the middle of summer, a time when we're used to seeing a lull in the smartphone market as manufacturers gear up for their big fall launches, this week sure is proving to be full of some interesting launch events. Yesterday brought us not just the Samsung Galaxy A8, but also ZTE's affordable Axon flagship. Today we're back to looking at the mid-range market as we check out a trio of new Desire models from HTC, with the company announcing the Desire 520, Desire 526, and Desire 626. Let's start with the smallest of the bunch, the Desire 520. With a 4.5-inch FWVGA screen, this ...

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    From what we already knew leading up to today's launch event, the Axon phone was sure promising to be an intriguing piece of hardware, but we didn't have the full picture on just what to expect from this new ZTE US flagship until a few hours ago. What we learned proved to only have the handset become that much more appealing, matching some top-tier specs with a price that any smartphone fan can appreciate. But the Axon is more than just a quad HD screen, Snapdragon 810 SoC, and the sort of 4GB RAM capacity that practically demands, “throw ALL your apps at me.” ZTE has also given the ...

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