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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    Last week, HTC cut though a lot of the uncertainty surrounding its own plans for IFA 2014, dropping a teaser that pretty unambiguously referred to the rumored Desire 820. While on its own, another Desire mid-ranger might not be the most exciting news in the world, the 820's been holding our attention by way of the SoC expected to power the phone, one of Qualcomm's new 64-bit Snapdragons. With just a week to go before the expo, that connection is really starting to firm up, and HTC just published a new teaser that not only gives us a new glimpse of the smartphone, but appears to confirm ...

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    Samsung's next Unpacked event helps kick-off IFA 2014 on September 3, and though the event may hold a few surprises, we've been able to develop a pretty good sense of what to expect. While Samsung's holding a few cards close to its chest, it hasn't exactly been shy about suggesting that we're going to see the Galaxy Note 4 make its debut. Just like it did last August when teasing the Note 3 launch, its invitations have been spotted employing “note the date” language, and the presence of an Air Command menu on that most recent invite helps drive the point home even harder. Now it's ...

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    One of the longest-standing rumors about the Moto X+1, popping up right around the same time we saw evidence for the phone's name, has concerned the sort of customization options that would be available through Moto Maker. Supposedly we'd see the return of wooden backplates, which sounded nice, but word was we'd also be able to choose from a few leather options. That leather idea returned in subsequent rumors, but we've yet to see any firm confirmation. We're still not quite there yet, but today brings us at least some new circumstantial evidence, as a retialer appears to confirm the ...

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    Not quite sold on the idea of virtual reality? Especially when we're talking about a headset that's basically just a frame for your smartphone? Samsung's Gear VR is far from the most conventional-sounding smartphone accessory we've ever heard of, but the way it's shaping up with this close partnership between Samsung and Oculus VR, we're preparing ourselves to be soundly impressed. Leaks have already revealed some of the Gear VR software, and earlier this month we got to see what sure seemed like it might be the hardware itself. Now some new pics attempt to clue us in to how the finished ...

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    The various government agencies around the world that certify electronics for operation within their respective borders can be a smartphone fan's best friends. When we're tracking a new model, after months and months of rumors and unverifiable leaks, agencies like the FCC or China's TENAA often bring us the first really confirmed information about new phones. Sure, sometimes we don't get more than a list of bands, or maybe a wireframe outline and some measurements, but occasionally we really strike gold. That's the situation we find ourselves in today, as a Brazilian regulatory body checks ...

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    We're looking forward to a ton of hardware launches about to get underway, not just at IFA itself in early September, but also at other events taking place in the same general timeframe: Motorola's Chicago event, or maybe even that rumored Apple event a few days later. But then there are also new devices we're expecting that aren't yet attached to any particular launch event – stuff like the new Nexus phone and tablet. Heck, knowing Google there might not be any big to-do at all, and it could simply reveal the hardware in a blog post. But however that happens, we're starting to close in ...

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    Unless you forgot to pay your internet bill this month, you're probably already well aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in which both celebrities and regular folk alike have been dumping buckets of freezing-cold ice water over their heads in an effort to raise awareness of and funding for ALS research. To say the phenomenon has gone viral would be an understatement, and as it's gone on, participants have been looking for creative ways to make their challenges stand out. Samsung's UK branch just upped the ante by getting smartphones involved, filming the Galaxy S5 completing the effort, ...

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    Samsung has been pumping out smartwatches at a feverish pace, and in the past year alone we've seen the release of the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, and most recently the Gear Live. We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of the inaugural Galaxy Gear's launch, and with Samsung's IFA 2014 Unpacked event scheduled for less than two weeks from now, will we see the debut of a new wearable? That's sounding like a distinct possibility, as we hear about Samsung's work towards a possible Gear 3. The first big change from the Gear 2, at least according to our source familiar with ...

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    Nokia's first Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520, launched last fall, and we quickly saw carriers in the States lining up to offer the 2520 to their subscribers – well, at least AT&T and Verizon were interested. A whole lot of time has passed since then, and we've seen plenty of other Windows tablets emerge, but the 2520's still managed to hold on to a bit of the spotlight, and early last month @evleaks posted a T-Mobile document that sure seemed to reveal that the carrier was planning to belatedly welcome the 2520 to its collection of tablets. This week we get to check out additional ...

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    Back in February, just a few days before we saw Samsung officially unveil the Galaxy S5 at MWC 2014, we were still neck-deep in rumor territory, and one of those late-stage theories we heard suggested that the GS5 would debut with some sort of unusual camera control. Rather than having a physical shutter button, this so-called “Side Touch” system would employ touch sensors, but we never ended up seeing anything come of the claim. Now a similar rumor is back, claiming that Side Touch will instead debut on the Galaxy Note 4. The description of Side Touch is the same as before – it ...

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    How many Android models can you think of that launched this month? What about since the start of summer? This year? And if you start looking past devices from just the big OEMs, also considering those from off-brands many of us have never heard of, just how large can that number get? OpenSignal's latest report on the state of the Android market looks at just how many unique models are currently in use, and the figure's large enough to shock even us. Looking at nearly 700k devices in operation over the course of the past year, OpenSignal saw close to 19,000 distinct models. Sure, a lot of ...

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    Will HTC make a big showing at IFA this year? This week's launch of the One M8 for Windows (not to mention the Butterfly 2), with IFA so nearby, might be seen as HTC subtly rejecting the idea of using the expo as a venue for introducing new hardware, but we wouldn't be so sure. At least, the Verizon launch exclusivity puts a US focus on the phone that might not fly so well at IFA. But if not this new Windows Phone model, then what might IFA get from the OEM? A not-so-subtle teaser just been released by one of HTC's social media accounts may have answers, seeming to reveal a new Desire 820. ...

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    What does Motorola have coming up next in its device pipeline? We've got the X+1 and G2 expected for the company's early September event, rumors of a new Nexus model, and most recently word of a possible return to tablets. But if we keep focused on just phones, exactly how many are we looking at? A new rumor attempts to nail-down Motorola's plans for the remainder of the year, naming eight smartphones expected to make their debut. We've got the Moto X+1 and G2 (though that name's still up in the air), as well as that Shamu Nexus. Then there's the Moto S, recently rumored to be an early ...

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    Plenty of apps give you the ability to share short videos on social networks, but Vine, the granddaddy of them all, is still the gold standard. Despite its prominence, the software hasn't been without its problems, and especially for video fans used to a more flexible editing and sharing experience, the constraints Vine imposes can be a little frustrating to deal with. Luckily, things are improving for the better, and today we catch wind of an update for the Vine iOS app that, among other things, adds the much-needed ability to import external videos. Shot a clip with your phone's regular ...

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    It's no secret that smartphone users have been migrating to handsets with larger and larger displays: what once were “phablets” are now just run-of-the-mill flagship phones, and we've seen the rise of a new class of devices in the six-inch-plus space that marry tablet-sized hardware with voice call support – something traditionally absent from full-fledged tablets. But ever since models like the ASUS Fonepad started making headway on the market, there's been renewed interest in the idea of such voice-capable tablets. While the appeal of this kind of hardware is still tricky for some ...

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