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!

Contact Stephen Schenck

  • by |

    Here in the US, Sharp hasn't really been a major smartphone brand. There were even years where we'd hardly find ourselves talking about the manufacturer at all, though last summer Sharp became a much harder company to ignore with the launch of the Aquos Crystal on Sprint that wasn't just very affordable, but also sported an eye-catching design with some preposterously narrow bezels. Today's Sharp news doesn't bring us word of any additional models for the States, but we're still a bit fascinated by what the company’s up to now, as it launches a couple new models in Japan, including an ...

    Share
  • by |

    Having just finished talking about the latest rumors to address Samsung's smartwatch plans for MWC 2015, it's only fitting that we now turn our attention to the other major launch we're looking forward to from the manufacturer. So far, one of the primary components of Galaxy S6 rumors has been the idea of Samsung finally moving to a predominantly metal design, and a number of leaks have attempted to provide evidence for that theory. We may want to start reconsidering just what we saw in all those, as the latest GS6 rumor now asserts that Samsung will keep its metal bodies as the tell-tale ...

    Share
  • by |

    With the end of January now in sight, February looming close over the horizon, and MWC just beyond that, it's an exciting time to be talking about upcoming Samsung hardware. For that trade show getting underway in just a few weeks, expectations are high for Samsung to deliver not just a Galaxy S6, but maybe also a Galaxy S6 Edge and a companion smartwatch. Rumors about that wearable have started getting quite detailed in recent days, discussing not just a circular screen, but also a twisting bezel ring control for interacting with the smartwatch's UI. Today we hear about the latest attempt ...

    Share
  • by |

    Remember when the big battle in mobile payments was Google versus the carriers? Or more precisely, Google Wallet versus Isis? With AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all on the Isis team, and some taking technical measures to retard the spread of Wallet, it looked like we were ready for a showdown. But then Google freed Wallet from the constraints of secure hardware elements, Isis turned into Softcard, and Apple Pay landed to new controversy. And really, except for news of Isis/Softcard's Windows Phone compatibility, it felt like momentum for that whole project had seriously stalled. Well, ...

    Share
  • by |

    Nokia launched the affordable Lumia 635 all the way back in April (making this a proper Nokia Lumia, before Microsoft transitioned the family over to its own branding), and in the months since, we've seen the phone come to more and more carriers. Over the summer, networks like T-Mobile and AT&T got their hands on the phone, and back in December we got word of the phone finding some new homes: Boost and Virgin now sell the phone for their no-contract plans, and we heard that Sprint would eventually be picking it up for regular postpaid plans. Today's the day that finally happens, as ...

    Share
  • by |

    The week is nearly over, and despite what rumors from last Friday would have us believe, it doesn't look like we're going to see the public release of Apple's iOS 8.1.3 update. So what happened? Did someone get their wires crossed and instead that news was supposed to be about the 8.2 beta we saw devs receive? Maybe not, as today word arrives of a new 8.1.3 build that's in testing, as well as some early work towards iOS 9. Remember how we heard that Apple has tasked its retail employees with helping it do some real-world testing of iOS 8.1.3 before the update went wide? Well, evidence ...

    Share
  • by |

    Is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 SoC a big headache for everyone involved, or is the next-gen chip going to help supercharge 2015's smartphone lineup? Despite all the potential that appears to be there, the introduction of the 810 to consumer devices has been plagued by reports of hardware problems, incomplete software, and delays that would push back broad availability. Qualcomm's been doing its darnedest to downplay such allegations, but they've continued regardless. This week saw the launch of the newest Snapdragon 810-powered handset, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro; does that mean that these ...

    Share
  • by |

    It's happening: the big late-Q1 smartphone launch season is within sight. HTC's invite for its big MWC event is out, and it may just foretell the arrival of the One M9. And while we don't yet have a date for Samsung's event, expectations are high that we'll be seeing that manufacturer introduce its Galaxy S6. Overnight, we checked out some of the latest GS6 info to become available, seeming to confirm rumors of the phone getting a quad HD display and a 64-bit SoC. Now a new rumor is turning its attention to a different bit of the GS6's anatomy, talking about some changes Samsung may be ...

    Share
  • by |

    It's been about a month now since we've had anything to tell you about rumors for OnePlus's second-gen handset, the presumptive OnePlus Two. While the manufacturer has confirmed that the phone's coming, very little's been known to date about just how it might differ from the OnePlus One. One of the few specific details that's been mentioned is that OnePlus could give us a phone with a screen that's slightly smaller than the original 5.5-incher. Then again, evidence of a possible mid-range OnePlus One Mini arrived to confuse the issue, leaving us unsure if this was the direction OnePlus ...

    Share
  • by |

    ZTE didn't bring a ton of new devices to CES last week; we got to check out the Grand X Max+ for Cricket, as well as that Spro 2 portable projector, but that's hardly a big spread for a manufacturer as large as ZTE. Still, while not much was launching at the time, the company obvious has plenty of additional hardware in its development pipeline. Today we get an early look at what seems to be one such model, as a reseller lets slip a few advance pics of a phone that might just be the Blade S6. The images you see here apparently came from reseller GearBest, and while the pre-order page for ...

    Share
  • by |

    Four weeks back, Google got the ball rolling on Android 5.0.2, dropping a factory image for the first-gen Nexus 7. Despite concerns that it might be a minor, forgettable, maybe even hardware-specific update, a closer look at the code did manage to reveal some important changes, maybe most importantly a fix to make sure that flash file system cleanup occurred as intended. While 5.0.2 is proving to be slow to spread to other models, today we see some of the first signs of progress, as Google releases factory images for a couple additional Android tablets. Today Google adds Android 5.0.2 ...

    Share
  • by |

    Samsung may not have brought any new smartwatches to CES this year, but word is that the company's been putting something together with the aim of introducing it during MWC in early March. Unlike Samsung's prior wearables, this new one has been rumored to be a round-screened model, in the vein of the Moto 360 or LG G Watch R. We've heard that this could be another Tizen model for the manufacturer, but beyond that, there haven't been many specifics mentioned about Samsung's intentions for this purportedly model codenamed Orbis. This week we start to get into details, as a new rumor ...

    Share
  • by |

    LG's launch of the G4 may still be a few more months out -the G3 (above) didn't go official until late May last year- but we're already starting to get a sense of what to expect from the hardware. Part of that is thanks to the introduction of the G Flex 2 at CES last week, which just set a pretty high bar in the specs department. But what in particular will LG carry forward from models like the G3 and G Flex 2, and where could the G4 see advancements of its own? This week, one source attempts to give us an idea of just what we might get. The G Flex 2's Snapdragon 810 should make a return, ...

    Share
  • by |

    What's next for Google Glass? It was supposed to be the next big thing, it arrived in limited form... and then it seemed to lose a lot of its momentum. Was interest in the project being killed by the rise of smartwatches, delivering on the wearable dream while doing so through a much more approachable form factor? In the latter months of the 2014, it sounded like there could still be a future for Glass this year, even despite uncertain interest from the public – one of the few specific things we heard concerned a partnership with Intel. Now a new report asserts that Glass will indeed ...

    Share
  • by |

    We may be seeing a lull in device launches for the next several weeks, leading up to the madhouse that is sure to be MWC, but there's still plenty of mobile news to keep us busy, In addition to all the rumors and leaks that are sure to give us plenty to talk about, software releases keep right on coming, and this week Google's got new editions of Maps out for both Android and iOS users, packed with a few useful new features. Let's start with the official changelog, and at the top of the list there is the ability to filter restaurant searches based on the type of cuisine you're looking for; ...

    Share
  • by |

    Looking back on our CES coverage from last week, we were struck by how small a role tablets ended up playing in the devices we managed to see. That's not saying that tablets weren't present, but with no big launches from Sony, Samsung, or some of the other companies whose tablet families we've come to expect new models from, it sure felt like a more meager-than-we'd-like showing. But more tablets may be on the menu very soon, and with MWC coming up in just a few weeks, we're wondering how many new ones we might hope to be introduced to there. Today, our thoughts turn to the idea of some ...

    Share
  • by |

    This year we came back from CES with an old friend, finally getting our hands on the YotaPhone 2 we first saw nearly a year ago in Barcelona. In the time since, we've been giving the Android and its unusual dual-screen arrangement our hands-on treatment, and in another day or so our full review of the smartphone should be ready. While we're sure that will help address many of the questions you may have about this hardware, there's one answer we don't have just yet, and that's the one to the question of who's going to help Yota Devices bring this phone to the US. Last week we heard ...

    Share
  • by |

    Back in the second half of 2013, months after the introduction of the the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones, BlackBerry the company wasn't looking too hot. BB10 was failing to really take off the way the manufacturer might have hoped, and rumors circled around the idea of a big corporate buyout to put the company under new ownership. Ultimately that failed to happen, and instead we got a new CEO and a renewed commitment to developing new smartphones. And while BlackBerry's continued on, it just can't shake this characterization that's followed it of a beleaguered company on the verge of ...

    Share
  • by |

    Another year, another International Consumer Electronics Show behind us. Was 2015's one that will go down as a banner year in the annals of history? We didn't see any huge show-stopping announcements, nor surprise reveals of everyone's-talking-about-it hardware, but the show we did see unfold over the course of last week was still a totally solid offering, packed with lots of great phones, tablets, wearables, and accessories that all came together to place us on some solid footing as we get ready for the rest of this quarter's launches. As we start thinking about gearing up for MWC in ...

    Share
  • by |

    Last fall rumors started emerging of a new series of Samsung Galaxy phones, taking a a fair degree of inspiration from the Galaxy Alpha and set to arrive as the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7. Sure enough, back at the end of October we saw Samsung introduce the A3 and A5 – but not the A7. And in the months that followed, the A7 continued to remain elusive. That all changed this week, and Samsung finally made the A7 official. But now it looks like the manufacturer got one of its own details wrong, as it quietly updates its A7 materials to reflect some higher-end specs. The detail at question is ...

    Share
  • by |

    The last few weeks have seen a flurry of newly invigorated Project Ara activity, the Google ATAP effort to create a modular smartphone hardware platform. We heard about the new Spiral 2 system design, the sort of SoC options that would ultimately arrive, and Google's plans for the next Ara dev conferences. Those get started today, and the first of these conferences is off to a big start, as Google lays out its plans for the continuing evolution of Ara and the first push to get the phone out into the wild for a market pilot program. The good news: Ara is arriving, and Google intends to get ...

    Share
  • by |

    As smartphones, the software that run on them, and the services they access mature, these tiny yet extremely powerful computers continue to pull off feats that maybe even only fifteen years ago sounded like something out of science fiction. We can carry on natural conversations with virtual assistants, send notifications to our wrists, and view video in higher resolution than even our living room TVs are capable of displaying. One of these straight-out-of-sci-fi features to become reality has been the universal translator, tasking our phones to bridge communications between people speaking ...

    Share
  • by |

    Last week we saw countless smartphone companies jockeying for a moment in the spotlight, as they all struggled to get their products some attention at a crowded trade show. Of course, there comes a point where you get big enough that you don't have to rely on some expo to get the public's attention, and there are few companies out there that can say they're as big as Microsoft. So even a week removed from CES, when Redmond comes strolling along with a couple new smartphones, we're sitting up and taking notice. That's just what the company's doing today, revealing the Lumia 435 and Lumia ...

    Share
  • by |

    We are on a Lollipop roll today, already hearing about updates for the Galaxy S5, getting an early look an an update for the LG G2, and checking in with Motorola for news of its latest progress. Now it's time to switch up manufacturers as we get word of a hotly-awaited Lollipop update that's landing today, with HTC announcing availability of Lollipop for both the unlocked and developer edition One M8. Google just gave the update the go-ahead, and while the official word from HTC is that it intends to get the ball rolling with OTA availability sometime tonight, we've already heard reports ...

    Share
  • by |

    Apple users in the EU rounded-out last year with the arrival of some good news about consumer rights and how they applied to their digital purchases, as Apple found itself compelled to enact a new two-week, no-questions-asked return policy on many of its digital goods, including apps. Lest you think that such a policy is a free pass to download and return apps as you please, Apple's rules made clear that your right to return would be lost upon actually downloading any content: you could purchase something and change your mind just fine, but buyer's remorse after actually installing an app ...

    Share
Mobile Version