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 |

    Late last week, we saw pre-orders open for October's hot new tablets, the Google Nexus 9 and Apple iPad Air 2 and mini 3. While Nexus 9 customers will still be waiting another couple weeks for their tablets, the Apple models are already going out, and some lucky shoppers have received their orders by now. If you just can't wait any longer, these new iPad models are also descending upon Apple's retail stores, available for pickup as of now. Head online to Apple's site and check pickup availability for the Air 2 or mini 3 and you'll likely find a positive outlook for local stocks; our quick ...

    Share
  • by |

    Philips is far from a company most smartphone users think of when asked to list manufacturers. Especially for those of us focused on markets in the West, Philips handsets are few and far between. But in spite of that, we've found ourselves captivated by the company's hardware on more than one occasion, like the launch of its W6618 smartphone with that preposterously capable 5300mAh battery. Today there's another Philips model catching our eye, as the manufacturer introduces its I966 Aurora. If you're a fan of squared-off phones like you'll find in Sony's stable, the Aurora likely speaks to ...

    Share
  • by |

    With the indignity of “bendgate” having already faded into the background of smartphone news, it was only a matter of time before some new issue (however minor) popped up with Apple's latest smartphones. Would the camera spontaneously catch on fire? The entire phone start reeking of sulfur two months into ownership? You laugh, but the truth isn't much further off, as word of the latest iPhone 6 “controversy” hits our desk, with users reporting handsets picking up discoloration from their blue jeans. The problem seems to be the plastic piping running along the iPhone 6's edges and ...

    Share
  • by |

    Over ten years ago, Google first launched Gmail as a private beta. In the decade since, the service has gone public, spread to mobile devices, and changed the way many of us access our messages. Recent improvements to Gmail like categories have endeavored to help keep email relevant as we get more and more of it, and keeping on top of the important bits becomes increasingly difficult. Rather than continue to push Gmail further away from its roots, Google's taking a fresh start and introducing a new service designed to merge email with all the modern conveniences: Inbox by Gmail. Like Gmail ...

    Share
  • by |

    Android 5.0 Lollipop is just about to graduate from its time as a developer preview release and get ready to take the spotlight as the latest public version of Google's mobile OS. The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will run Lollipop right out of the box, updates for existing Nexus models are sure to follow shortly, and other OEMs are already expressing their interest in bringing speedy 5.0 updates to their own families of handsets. So when is this new era of Lollipop going to get underway? Google has just shared the official start date for the consumer release of Android 5.0, but is it telling us ...

    Share
  • by |

    Today puts us one week away from the start of Nexus 6 pre-orders, with Google getting things underway on October 29. And shortly thereafter, Android fans in the US will be able to get their hands on this latest Nexus handset. But what about everyone else? Google hasn't said much about international availability, but a new rumor suggests the situation could be a little rocky, with not every nation getting access to the phone straight away. Specifically, we hear that UK availability of the Nexus 6 might not happen until sometime in December, over a month from now. While other countries ...

    Share
  • by |

    It has been entirely too long since we had the opportunity to talk about an iOS jailbreak, last touching base with jailbreak progress back when iOS 8 was still a developer beta. We've come a long way since then, with Apple releasing the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3, as well as making iOS 8 – and now iOS 8.1 – publicly available. Sometimes the arrival of new hardware and new software like that (not to mention new SoCs) can throw a spanner in the jailbreak works, derailing progress and sending devs back to square one. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be what's happening ...

    Share
  • by |

    Apple very much does not like to get into a spec-measuring contest when it comes to its mobile technology. While Android OEMs may be quick to talk clock speed, SoC cores, GPUs, and RAM, Apple tends to be far less forthcoming with technical details; you may have noticed that our recent spec breakdown for the iPad Air 2 was forced to leave several key component fields blank, or make some educated guesses, as Apple had not formally disclosed such information. But even before the tablet hits wide release, we're already seeing some early benchmarks surface for its hardware, and as they arrive ...

    Share
  • by |

    Apple users may be getting their first taste of NFC this week, as Apple Pay service goes live in the US, but the Android smartphone club has been reaping the benefits of NFC for years now. Beyond payments, one of the things NFC has helped streamline is file sharing, and Android Beam gave users an easy way to share certain media with any NFC-equipped Android within reach. One of its biggest limitations concerned just which files it would let you share, and while you could Beam things like images from phone to phone with ease, you were out of luck if you wanted to pass along general-purpose ...

    Share
  • by |

    Weird for the sake of weird, or legitimately useful? It feels like that's a question we've asked of plenty of smartphones before, and despite some good intentions, a lot of them seem to have fallen more into the former category. That said, there have been some “weird” phones that were actually pretty compelling, like LG's curved-screen G Flex. This year we've got another phone with a curved display that's raising a few eyebrows: the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. Will the wrap-around screen give users new, valuable ways to interact with their handset, or is this just a gimmick? We'll start ...

    Share
  • by |

    Samsung's got its Exynos chips. Apple's got its own A-series of SoCs. And to hear the rumors that have been flying about for the better part of two years now, LG's been eager to join them with some personalized SoCs of its own: the so-called Odin chip. But for as long as we've been talking about the Odin project, we've yet to see any results – when might the first Odin-running LG smartphone finally arrive? Last time we heard an update on progress, it sounded like the manufacturer's effort was still underway in the form of the company's model LG-F490L, a device codenamed Liger. But ...

    Share
  • by |

    It was late spring when we first started hearing rumors that Google was looking to snatch-up streaming music service Songza, known for its custom-tailored playlists designed to fit nearly every social situation on personal mood under the sun: uplifting tunes to start your day, peaceful melodies to lull you to sleep, and everything in between. A month later, that acquisition was confirmed, and today Google finally announces the fruits of that effort, with Songza integration coming to Play Music. Subscribers will be able to choose from these Songza-sourced curated playlists by specifying a ...

    Share
  • by |

    Back in late August, we caught wind of a new chapter in Nokia's evolution of HERE Maps, as the company announced plans for an Android release through a special partnership with Samsung. Sure enough, just a few weeks later we saw the software go live for Samsung handsets. That was well and good if you were a Samsung user, but what about the rest of us? Today Nokia pushes HERE Maps forward upon a wider audience than ever before, making the app available for Android phones everywhere. HERE Maps should work with any Android running Jelly Bean or better, though phones with at least a full gig ...

    Share
  • by |

    Mention “hot new tablet” to a mobile device enthusiast this week, and they're likely to assume you're talking about the Nexus 9 or one of Apple's latest iPad models. But those are far from the only tablet to recently catch our eye, and today marks an important step froward towards retail availability of one of the most notable tablets from last month's IFA launches, as Sony kicks-off pre-orders for its Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact in the US. We were hoping we might get some kind of news regarding US sales of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact at the New York event Sony hosted earlier this month, ...

    Share
  • by |

    Windows Phone is in smack dab the middle of some major re-branding. We started talking about such rumors in earnest back in early September, but the evidence predates even that: Microsoft would pick up the Lumia name directly, dropping the “Nokia” bit in the process, and Windows Phone would shorten to simply “Windows,” emphasizing the connectedness of Microsoft's ecosystem across form factors. We may not have gotten any big formal announcement for the latter, but Microsoft essentially confirmed the news with its announcement of Windows 10. The effort to phase out Nokia has been ...

    Share
Mobile Version