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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    Android Lollipop update momentum has hit a (temporary) lull. After those heady early hours of distribution for Nexus devices (to say nothing of efforts by Motorola or LG), the feverish pace at which update news arrived has slowed to a trickle; while last night brought us hope that the Nexus 4's update would be arriving at any moment, as of now it's still yet to surface. But even as we wait for that release to drop, we're already looking forward to who's getting Lollipop next, and new confirmation has just arrived that some Google Play edition models should see their own Android 5.0 updates ...

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    Back in early January, we asked if 2014 would finally be the year when upstart mobile platforms spread their wings and soared, becoming legitimate competition for the big boys. While varying degrees of progress has been made on platforms like Ubuntu and Firefox OS, we've yet to see a real breakout star. Back in late 2013, Jolla found itself among those names with its Sailfish OS, but so far this year's been a relatively quiet one for the company: we got some of those Other Half backplates for its phone, and saw the Jolla launcher come to Android, but that's been about it. However, big news ...

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    The Nokia Lumia is a thing of the past; earlier this week, we saw Microsoft introduce the latest Lumia model, but this is no straight-up Nokia model as we've known and loved these past few years, firmly arriving with the branding “Microsoft Lumia 535.” This trend is absolutely one we expect to see Microsoft continue with, so what does that mean for any hope of seeing another Nokia smartphone one day? Well, its deal with Microsoft allows Nokia to once again start releasing handsets under the Nokia name beginning in 2016, but will it? The company's been talking about its future plans at ...

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    Earlier this week, Samsung provided some important information about its release plans for the Gear VR Note 4 accessory, talking about getting sales started in early December. While we'll be interested to see how readily Android users take to the unusual hardware, what about the problems we've heard reported with it? Last month we checked out some reports that the Gear VR was overheating even only after moderate use, a potentially uncomfortable situation when that hot phone is only inches from your eyes. Thankfully, Samsung seems to be on top of things, and claims that the overheating ...

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    In a couple days, this Lollipop update madness will calm down, and we can start turning our attention back to all the other smartphone and tablet news under the sun, but for the moment, Google's distribution of its latest platform update – and specifically, to Nexus devices – remains a hot topic on the minds of many users. We've already seen progress on a few big Nexus models, like the Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7, but what about the Nexus 4? The two-year-old handset is very much on tap to get Lollipop, but its factory image didn't arrive yesterday alongside its brethren, and we ...

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    Android Lollipop is slowly making its presence felt this week, as updates start hitting existing devices. Maybe you've already downloaded one of the OTAs for your Nexus phone or tablet and have installed it over ADB. Maybe you've been lucky and your device has just directly received its OTA the old fashioned way. But however you got it, you're finally on the very latest version of Android. Right? Well, maybe not so much, because at a dev event in the Netherlands, some Google guys just gave a presentation that included references to Android Lollipop MR1 running on a Nexus 5. What's MR1? ...

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    Sometime early next year, be that the tail end of winter or the early days of spring, Apple will start selling its Apple Watch. With three primary models, each available in a couple sizes and with your choice of bands, there's going to be plenty of selection to go around. Between all the options, will you find a Watch that's compelling enough to make a purchase? Apple looks to be expecting some pretty substantial interest, with industry rumors reporting an initial sales target of 30-40 million of these smartwatches. That figure comes from sources apparently involved in the production of ...

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    Four years ago, Microsoft invited smartphone fans to take a chance on its new mobile platform, introducing the world to Windows Phone 7. And take a chance with it we did, eagerly covering its hardware and software. Two years into its life, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8, the next major revision for its OS, and while that was great news for users already looking to upgrade to a new, native WP8 device, things didn't look so good for the WP7 crowd, as Microsoft shared news that no WP7 phones would see WP8 updates at all, and the best they could hope for was to end their lives on WP7.8. ...

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    Yesterday, after a lot of will-they-won't-they confusion, we saw Google go ahead with initial distribution of Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for existing Nexus models. We got word of updates on their way down for the Nexus 5, Nexus 10, and both generations of WiFi Nexus 7, as well as some smaller updates for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9. Shortly thereafter, Google made available factory images for these models, enabling you to flash your device with Lollipop at the expense of losing all your data. For many users, that's just not an option they want to embrace, and the ...

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    When Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 4 a little over two months ago, one of the phablet's many selling points was the S Pen experience it brought to the table, with the aim of making writing with the stylus as much a natural-feeling process as possible. And with the introduction of accessories like those luxury Montblanc pens, there were even ways to make the S Pen feel more like a regular ink pen. Now there's a story going around about claims that Samsung is already updating the S Pen with a new, higher-end model, but is that really the case? The Samsung Developer Conference is ...

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    Samsung introduced its Gear VR back at IFA in early September, pairing the big high-res display on the Galaxy Note 4 with a sensor-laden headset that promised to offer users an immersive virtual reality experience. At least, it would when it finally became available, and while the Note 4 itself has been out for a while by this point, we've been waiting to see Gear VR make its own retail debut. Rumors had suggested that South Korea might get the accessory right at the start of December, but we were left guessing about international plans. Now Samsung's starting to come forward with details, ...

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    For the longest time now we've been hearing about some big ideas Google has for YouTube, introducing a new subscription component to the service while simultaneously delivering long-overdue features like offline playback and the ability to keep audio from clips playing in the background on our phones. Back over the summer a rich new leak arrived that attempted to detail much of what we could expect, while also teasing the YouTube Music Key name. Today, Google goes ahead and makes it all official, announcing the launch of its Music Key beta. Here's how it works: pay eight dollars a month ...

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    Pry yourself away from all the Android 5.0 update stuff for a moment, and you'll notice quite a bit of additional software news happening today with Google and Android. Some of that involves updates to existing apps – nothing out of the ordinary for one of Google's “update Wednesdays” - but this week the company also sees fit to break ground on a new (or reincarnated old) one, quietly releasing the stand-alone Messenger app. Messenger almost feels like a step backwards from Google's recent push to bring ALL your instant messaging – whether that's straight-up IMs or old text ...

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    It's a big day for Android 5.0 Lollipop, and following Motorola's confirmation that this year's Moto X and Moto G were seeing their Lollipop updates go public, we got word from Sprint that we should be on the lookout for an update to the Nexus 5. As we mentioned in an update to that story, Google has since tweeted that “the rollout has started,” but we were careful to not read too much into what it meant there without getting some further confirmation. Based on a growing number of reports from end users, we can confirm that OTA Lollipop updates are headed out for certain Nexus models. ...

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    Sorry, Google: you weren't first to the Android update race with your Nexus devices this year. But surely, even if Google wasn't the leader out of the gate, those Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for Nexus phones and tablets must be nearly ready to go by now, right? Last week we heard a rumor that Google's Nexus update plans had hit an unexpected delay, but that they'd be getting started soon, with today, November 12, mentioned as a possible release date. We've yet to get confirmation of updates hitting actual phones, but Sprint sure thinks that one's about to arrive for the Nexus 5, updating ...

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