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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    Today at its Unpacked event, Samsung announced the new Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+, two phones with a heck of a lot in common. Beyond the usual stuff like SoC and RAM, those similarities extended to the same four color options, as well as the same choice of storage capacity. In its official on-stage announcement, Samsung mentioned both handsets coming in your choice of either 32GB or 64GB storage. Those same 32/64 options appear in Samsung's formal press release, as well as in the announcements we're seeing from carriers as they get started with pre-orders of the phones. What about ...

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    Take a Galaxy S6 Edge and blow it up by ten percent. Or maybe take a Galaxy Note 5, round-out the edges of the screen, and shove an S Pen up in there. Whatever path you take, there are a lot of ways to get to the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, a device that, maybe more than any other new edition to the manufacturer's lineup, feels like a mash-up of other hardware. But just because it might be a little derivative doesn't mean there's not a lot to like about the Galaxy S6 edge+, and today at Samsung's Unpacked event, we had the chance to go hands-on with the phablet. While the GS6e+ lacks an S Pen ...

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    Samsung's latest Unpacked event might just be the most eagerly anticipated launch this summer - well, until IFA comes along in a few weeks, at least - and this morning the company drew the curtain back on both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+. While you had the chance to watch the show live, Pocketnow was there in person, and just as we promised when sharing Samsung's official device videos with you a little earlier today, we've been putting together some initial hands-on videos with the new hardware. We get started with today's headliner, the Galaxy Note 5. With a redesigned S Pen ...

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    It's just after 3PM here in the US on Eastern time, and if you've been following today's big launch news from Samsung (and what kind of smartphone fan can you call yourself if you haven't been?) you know what that means: the start of pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+. Formal retail availability won't commence until August 21, but it sounds like online orders might be able to get a head start on things, as carriers begin sharing details about how you can buy these phones – including all-important pricing details. Take AT&T, for instance, which is accepting orders ...

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    Just like last year, Samsung's latest phablet offerings consist of a pair of device. But unlike the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge, this time Samsung's switching up its branding a little, dropping the Note name entirely for a new phablet that keeps the over-the-edge curved screen look of past Edge models, while dropping the S Pen that's such a key part of the Note family. Meet the Galaxy S6 edge+. In nearly every way the Galaxy S6 edge+ is a close match to the Note 5 itself, aside from that glaring lack of stylus. Truthfully, the only differences we're looking at here are the GS6e+'s ...

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    Samsung's latest Galaxy Note phablet is here, and as only should be expected from the product line, this guy's one hardware heavyweight. While the specs might not push the limits quite so far as with past models (we return to quad HD again this year - 4K will have to wait), we still see some notable (no pun intended) firsts for Samsung, like the decision to bless the Note 5 with a hefty, forward-thinking 4GB of RAM. But just what are we looking at here in terms of the complete hardware package? If we're to really evaluate just how far Samsung's come since the Note 4, to say nothing of the ...

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    The latest Galaxy phones are here, with Samsung revealing both the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ at today's Unpacked event. We've already covered the announcements of both phablets, and with a Pocketnow crew on the ground at Samsung's New York press event, we'll be bringing you hands-on video of both models in just a little while. To help tide you over until those are live, we've got what might just be the next best thing, as Samsung has already published its own official video overviews of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+. Take a look below to get to know the design and features ...

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    It's been forever since Samsung came out with a new smartwatch - OK, just about one year. Last August, Samsung introduced the autonomous Gear S with its curved screen. We've been anticipating a new smartwatch with a display that's eye-catching for a whole different reason, as Samsung confirmed plans to release a model with a circular face. Today at Unpacked it gave us a little preview of that wearable, briefly showing off the Gear S2 in advance of a planned IFA launch. That's right: this guy's going to be called the Gear S2, not Gear A as widely rumored. One thing the rumors did get right ...

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    Coming up to today's Samsung Unpacked event, it may have felt like all the secrets were out about the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+; with phones as leaked as these two have been, what was left but for the pair to go official, right? Well, last week we started picking up some new late-stage leaks, with one revealing an unusual accessory: a hardware QWERTY keyboard case. Even having seen a render of the hardware, we still had our doubts as to whether or not it might be real, but today Samsung put our doubts to rest, confirming the its keyboard cover. This guy first looked like it might ...

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    Samsung's not waiting around for everyone else at IFA this year; for 2015's big Q3 launches, the company's instead turning to its own Unpacked event a few weeks in advance of the big expo. Between official teasers, leaks, and rumor after rumor, it may seem like many of the secrets of today's event have already been revealed, but we trekked down to New York City anyway to see first-hand just what Samsung had to reveal. This morning, the company wasted no time getting right to business, as JK Shin revealed Samsung's latest smartphones, including the Galaxy Note 5. Just as rumored, the new ...

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    HTC's been failing to turn a profit on and off, going back quite a few quarters by this point, but its most recent financial performance has been some of the most concerning to date, with the company losing hundreds of millions of dollars. If HTC has any hope of getting back on its feet, the company's going to have to make some important changes, and last week we heard a little about what those might entail, with talk of making cuts both to its product lineup and to its workforce. It remains to be seen just how thoroughly the manufacture might seek to prune its handset lineup, but today we ...

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    Today's the day: we've been anticipating Samsung's new phablet for months, and now we're just an hour and change away from the company's next launch event. Breaking from tradition, Samsung declined to hold back on its news until IFA this year, and instead has put together this mid-August Unpacked event. If everything goes as expected – and we have no reason to believe it won't – that means the launch of the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 edge + (and maybe even a surprise or two). Pocketnow's got a crew on the ground in New York City, all ready to bring to coverage straight from the ...

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    By this time tomorrow, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ will be official. And if Samsung's own teasers weren't enough to convince you that those two devices will premiere on-stage at tomorrow's Unpacked event, not to mention the weeks and weeks of leaks and rumors zeroing in on the company’s launch plans, we've got a new leak to share with you that not only firmly makes the case that this pair is just about to be announced, but also shares details of a deal one carrier intends to offer its shoppers. The in-store poster you see above reveals a Sprint promo where customers can ...

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    Last week, one of the most interesting leaks related to Google's plans for upcoming Nexus phones passed across our desk, purporting to offer a brief hands-on look at the Huawei-made Nexus phablet we've heard rumored so often. The handset featured a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and appeared to have the name Poseidon embossed on its back – and while that wasn't quite one of the code names we were expecting for these Nexus phones, its marine theme was at least in the right ballpark. Earlier today some fresh details about both the Huawei and LG Nexus phones arrived, coming from Steve ...

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    Just about one month ago, HTC revealed its latest batch of affordable desire-series smartphones, the Desire 520, Desire 526, Desire 626, and Desire 626S. The manufacturer promised plenty of carrier support for the group, and named half a dozen carriers that would soon find these models operating on their networks, but a lot of specifics were missing – like who would get what, when, and sell it for how much. We started seeing those answers trickle out shortly thereafter, and today Verizon finally joins them with an announcement of its own, as the carrier gets ready to start selling the ...

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    When Motorola announced the new Moto X Pure Edition (the Moto X Style outside the US) late last month, it didn't get very specific about when sales might start. While it noted that the “Moto X Style will be available in countries across Europe, Latin America and North America starting in September,” that still left a window of several weeks, and for as anxious as Motorola fans have been to get their hands on the phone, that's more uncertainty that we'd like. Today Motorola finally provided a specific date for the phone, but its subsequent actions have us wondering just how final that ...

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    Yesterday we found ourselves revisiting an old story, as Rite Aid announced it would soon welcome mobile payments via Apple Pay and Google Wallet in its drugstores. This was the same company that used to accept any and all mobile payments, but shut its own contactless payment terminals down in a seemingly spiteful reaction to last year's launch of Apple Pay. As we learned at the time, Rite Aid felt obligated to turn off those systems due to its involvement with the MCX consortium, a group fronting its own alternate payment system, CurrentC. Now a new report explains why Rite Aid might be ...

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    Qualcomm's next-gen Snapdragon 820 SoC has been official for a long time now, but so far the company's been light on details about the chip, only providing some brief “preview” data. Ever since, we've been looking to get the full picture on this component, and rumors had suggested that answers might come this week. Well, the rumored August 11 date passed by without any new 820 info, but it turns out that was only off by a day, and today Qualcomm offers new insight into its SoC as it talks about its latest image signal processor and Adreno 5-series GPUs. We're actually learning about ...

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    Google sure sounds like it might break from tradition this year and bring us not one, but two Nexus phones. And as is only fitting for a pair of Nexus handsets, Google may just turn to a pair of manufacturers to build the phones, with rumors zeroing-in on LG and Huawei. There have been no shortage of leaks attempting to describe these anticipated models, framing the LG phone as the smaller 5.2-inch model and the Huawei as a 5.7-inch phablet, but so far such finds have largely focused on silicon: SoC choice, RAM configuration, and the like. Today some fresh leaks attempt to shed new light ...

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    Samsung's round-screened Gear A smartwatch may skip the company's big Unpacked event this week, but it's still due to arrive at some point in the near future – and right now, IFA is sounding like our best bet for a launch announcement. Those rumors from late last week also mentioned the possibility of multiple Gear A variants, but left us wondering as to just what sort of differences we might be facing: WiFi/Bluetooth versus cellular connectivity, or possibly something tied to the wearable's design? We still don't have a lot of hard answers, but a new rumor attempts to shed a little more ...

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    Microsoft's got new Lumia hardware on the way – and to hear the latest rumors, we could be less than a month away from the debut of some new flagship-level handsets. And while Microsoft’s certainly not forgetting about its Windows Phone 8.1 lineup as the first pure Windows 10 phones emerge, with plans to release software upgrades that will bring those older models the company's new mobile platform, the company still has to make important decisions about which phones it wants to highlight as these new flagships arrive. That looks like it means one model not quite making it to its ...

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    In the constantly evolving field of social networking, feature creep is a fact of life. You give your users new image-sharing tools, and six months later your biggest competitor is doing the same thing. Then they add video support, and you scramble to implement your own. Or a dialer. Or mobile payments. And while we certainly see success from firms that do one thing, and do it really well, there's huge pressure on the larger players in the field to do offer users every last feature they can. Inevitably, that leads to claims of one mimicking the other's functionality, and that's basically ...

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    When the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus landed last year armed with NFC support, retailers started seeing a huge uptick in consumer mobile payment interest, as users tried Apple Pay for the first time. Thanks to the presence of contactless payment chips on existing credit cards, not to mention previous NFC-based mobile payment systems like Google Pay and Softcard, lots of these retailers already had Apple Pay-compatible POS systems in place, so everything should have been ready to go for all these new users to start making payments … until retailers started switching their systems off. Now at least ...

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    HTC introduced its One M9 flagship some five months ago, powered by the most controversial chip of the year, the Snapdragon 810. In our testing, we didn't notice the One M9 succumbing to the 810's most frequently reported failure mode, overheating, but plenty of users did end up feeling the handset ran a little warm. Could that be driving HTC to consider taking the One M9 back to the drawing board and coming up with a new edition, one powered by an alternate SoC? That's what a new rumor claims, suggesting that HTC is working on a MediaTek-based One M9. We've already seen HTC embrace ...

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    The word “hologram” gets thrown around a lot when we're talking about 3D imagery, but it's rare we deal with actual holograms: diffraction-encoded recordings of light fields. An autostereoscopic parallax barrier screen doesn't display proper holograms, nor even does Microsoft's inappropriately named HoloLens. However, today we look at a new patent from Samsung that actually follows through on the promise of holographic screen tech, bringing holographic icons to a smartphone's display. Samsung describes a method for embedding a series of holographic icons in a smartphone's display ...

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