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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    Apple's event today, which brought us both a new MacBook and release information for the Apple Watch, may be the bookend that marks the conclusion of our heady week of MWC action, but just because we're settling back to post-expo life doesn't mean we're quite done sharing everything from the conference with you. Over the weekend we published a few more videos of things we got to take a look at in Barcelona, and now we'd like to draw your attention to a couple of those, starting with the Runcible smart... thingy. At least, the Runcible isn't a smartphone nor a wearable, but its own breed of ...

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    In case you missed it as part of Apple's big Apple Watch release news, there's a new version of iOS landing today, ready to get your iPhone ready to start playing nicely with the company's first smartwatch - and in plenty of time for the wearable's April 24 start to sales. As the company's event concludes, iOS 8.2 is already on its way out to Apple users everywhere. Obviously, there's Apple Watch support in place with this release. To interact with an Apple Watch once they come out next month, you'll need a handset running iOS 8.2 and with hardware at least as recent as the iPhone 5. A big ...

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    We heard about Apple TV, we heard about the new MacBook: now it's time for maybe the most anticipated news to emerge from Apple's event today, as we start learning about release details for the Apple Watch. Before we get to that, we're talking apps and functionality, as well as getting a formal answer to one of the biggest questions hanging over the Apple Watch: battery life. Apple says that users can expect to get 18 hours of average use on a charge. The latest version of iOS is arriving in preparation for sales of the Apple Watch, and users should start seeing iOS 8.2 headed out today. ...

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    Today at Apple's event we're already moving past streaming media and onto mobile hardware. While we're not quite to the highly anticipated Apple Watch news just yet, Apple's got some exciting developments for its laptop lineup, announcing the next generation MacBook. The incredibly thin MacBook measures just 13.1mm thick, thinner than even the 11-inch MacBook Air, while sporting its own 2304 x 1440 12-inch display. It weighs a scant two pounds, making it Apple's lightest notebook computer ever. A new keyboard makes the keycaps larger while delivering a new, thinner switch mechanism, for a ...

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    It's Monday, March 9, a week since MWC 2015 got started, which means our mobile attention is no longer focused on Barcelona but has shifted over to the West Coast where it's Apple's turn for the spotlight. We're expecting a lot of news today on a couple different fronts, and Apple's getting us started with something exciting for Apple TV. Like HBO put don't want an expensive cable subscription? HBO's going a la carte, with Apple as an exclusive launch partner (reportedly, Apple will have that exclusivity for three months). For about $15 a month, users will get streaming access to HBO's ...

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    Late last week we got what sounded like awful news for the owners of many Sony Xperia models: the manufacturer had been going around on Twitter telling users that it was only going to release Lollipop updates for phones part of the Xperia Z lineage of devices: no E3, no E4, no M2 – nothing. Understandably, a lot of you were upset. But could Sony already be reversing course on its position on Android 5.0 updates? We're still not sure, but a couple new developments have us thinking that something has changed. First up is what the company's saying on Twitter. Last week it shared numerous ...

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    When ASUS announced the ZenFone 2 back at CES in January we were struck by two very impressive figures: the low $200-ish starting price for the series, and the option for a phone with a beefy 4GB of RAM. Now, together those two would spell for one dynamite phone, but as we pointed out, we're talking about different devices here: there's the super-cheap ZenFone 2, and there's the 4GB model, but the cheap one only gets 2GB of RAM, and we didn't have a firm price for the 4GB edition. Well, now all those ZenFone 2 variants have gone up for sale in Taiwan, and we finally get proper insight into ...

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    When Samsung announced the Galaxy S6 (and Galaxy S6 Edge) at MWC last week, it gave us a clear idea about the start of retail sales for the pair, confirming global availability as of April 10. That's great for Samsung, but what about the other big high-profile flagship launch at MWC, the HTC One M9? Dates for that have been a lot harder to come by: HTC itself offered a mid-March timeframe, while carriers have been even less specific, talking about Q2 and spring. As we await more formal news of just when One M9 sales will get underway, a retailer might be able to clue us in a little early, ...

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    Sony's bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop to a bunch of its phones. The company confirmed its update intentions for a number of specific models all the way back in October, ranging from the original Xperia Z all the way up to the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. In fact, it's said that every single Xperia Z-series models will eventually be getting Lollipop. And while that's good to know for owners of those phones, what about all the other Xperia Androids under the sun? Sony's been less forthcoming about update details for those guys, and we could understand how its silence may be making you a little ...

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    Google's got a new update to Drive for Android out this week, delivering things like a more Lollipop-friendly UI and a neat drag-and-drop file management tool (above). That's well and good, but the more interesting stuff may be taking place behind the scenes, and a new teardown points to work on a couple pretty compelling changes. Drive is a convenient place to store your media, and while Google already gives you tools to access photos, audio, and video from within Drive, that support doesn't go quite as far as you might like it to: as of now, there's no way to interact with a Chromecast ...

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    When a new flagship smartphone from a major manufacturer finally makes its official debut after months and months of waiting, we want that handset to be perfect – or at least, we'd like to believe it's perfect, if only to justify all that time we spent pining away. So when it does arrive, and we're still basking in the afterglow of a big launch event, hearing about unexpected problems with the phone can feel almost like a punch to the gut: no, not my dream phone! Well, Samsung only just introduced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge and now we're already hearing about a potential issue. Is ...

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    When it comes to the Apple Watch, we've got three big outstanding questions: when will we get a chance to buy it? What will it cost? And what can we expect from its battery life? Answers are likely in store for us at Apple's Monday event, but until then we're getting a little insight into that last question, as a new report suggests the smartwatch's battery life might not be as dire as some earlier rumors suggested. Supposedly, while the Apple Watch may have struggled with getting through a full day on a charge earlier in its development, Apple's been able to stretch things out such that ...

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    We know that global availability of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge begins on April 10; Samsung made that much very clear at its announcement. And no sooner did the phones go official than carriers were quick to chime-in with their own plans to sell the models. However, the carriers themselves weren't being too forthright with dates – we heard plenty of “April” and “spring,” but an almost suspicious lack of “yes, we'll have the GS6 on April 10.” Would we end up seeing some lag behind international sales by days, if not weeks? We still don't quite have the full picture, but ...

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    HTC just launched its One M9 with a 2840mAh battery. Samsung gave the Galaxy S6 a 2550mAh battery. And yet the iPhone 6 only has one that comes in at 1810mAh. Now sure, it's a smaller phone, and there's always the 6 Plus with its larger battery, but that doesn't change the iPhone 6's reputation as a phone where its battery life is often considered just “OK;” it'll usually get you through most of the day, though heavy usage will take its toll. In a recent interview, Apple design guru Jony Ive touches on the issue of the iPhone's battery life, and he paints the picture of bit of a ...

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    So far when it comes to leaked pics of purported Sony Xperia Z4 components, we've seen a lot of display panels. There was that early set back in November, as well a few new pics surfacing about a month ago. While those were quite interesting, they left us without a comprehensive view of this upcoming hardware. Now a fresh series of images has arrived to offer new insight to Sony's desing changes, comparing the Z4's frame to that of the Z3. First up, this supposed Z4 looks like it's dropping its microSD and SIM slots – or at least, they're not where they used to be. Clearly the phone ...

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    HTC's MWC press event this past Sunday brought us the One M9 along with a few hardware surprises, but what we didn't get was anything like the rumored quad HD larger-screened One M9 Plus. Had all the reports been as wrong about that as they were about the M9's Nexus 9/Desire-looking makeover? Well, there's always the possibility that it's coming at a later date. If that's to be the case, we could expect to see more leaks of the hardware emerge between no and whenever it finally does go official. As fate would have it, a new set of possible One M9 Plus imagery has just turned up - but can ...

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    Changes are shifting in the smartphone market. Once-dominant players have fallen to the wayside, and even seemingly unstoppable juggernauts are seeing their market share chipped-away at by budget-minded newcomers able to deliver shoppers more value for their money. Even the software landscape is changing, as alternate platforms rise in prominence and custom ROMs evolve from hobbyist pursuits to put on new cloaks of legitimacy. Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster recently talked with Business Insider about some of these changes, and as far as he's concerned, companies like Samsung should be worried ...

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    The custom configuration options offered by Motorola's Moto Maker service add up to one of the most engaging mobile hardware shopping experiences you'll find anywhere; the ability to experiment with different design elements and instantly see the result can be hugely satisfying. And though it's been around for a while, not everyone's been able to take full advantage it. Following initial US availability, we've seen the service expand into select markets abroad, but you still can't get it everywhere. At the Mobile World Congress this week, Motorola President Rick Osterloh talked a little ...

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    Apple's got an event coming up on Monday, where the company is almost sure to bring news about its Apple Watch wearable. First announced late last summer, Apple fans have been patiently waiting for the smartwatch to make its retail debut ever since. With that day soon to be here, some last-minute rumors are attempting to clue us in on what we should (and shouldn't) expect from the watch's hardware. Shoppers buying Apple mobile hardware have had the option to get purchases custom engraved for years now, adding a little personal touch. However, it's been a little hit-and-miss just which ...

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    With MWC ending, our fickle smartphone attention is sure to start turning to whatever's next, eager to latch-on to the next big handset to launch. Sure, Apple's got that event coming up on Monday, but that's likely to be the Apple Watch's shindig, with no major handset new expect. Maybe next on our radar will be LG, with its next-gen G4 expected for sometime this spring. Yesterday we checked out a report where LG not only talked about a G4-killing superphone, but also shed some light on expectations for the arrival of the phone itself, mentioning a debut following the launch of the LG UX ...

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    Earlier this week we took a look at the GSM Association's picks for the best mobile hardware of the year: the iPhone 6, LG G3, Surface Pro 3, and Moto 360 emerged as the big winners. But while the GSMA announces its winners every MWC, it's a little unsatisfying to be handing out awards to all this old hardware at an event that's so very focused on introducing us to brand-new stuff. Luckily for those of us who like to live out on the cutting edge, we won't be waiting another year to learn which of this year's MWC offerings is going to come out on top, as with the expo winding down, the GSMA ...

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    OnePlus formally launched its One back in April of last year, so it's perfectly understandable that we're already getting curious about when a follow-up might be ready. Rumors have already listed some hardware details that make the presumptive OnePlus 2 sound pretty damn appealing, talking about some top-shelf silicon within. Now we're hearing about similarly premium components making up the phone's exterior, as well, with rumors of a metal frame. Reportedly, OnePlus is interested in moving from polycarbonate to metal with the aim of making the OnePlus 2 come off as more of a higher-end, ...

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    Yesterday those just-can't-shake-'em larger-screened iPad rumors popped their head back up again, claiming that Apple both really was intending to get this so-called iPad Pro (or is it Plus?) out this spring, and that those plans have since been shelved, with a fall launch now looking more likely. Say what you will about how a still-unofficial model's release can't be capital-d delayed; that's just what sources have been reporting. Now a new source is attempting to confirm those same post-spring launch rumors, as well as talking a little about possible hardware decisions, including the ...

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    Last month we learned about Google's plans for a big expansion of Wallet, joining forces with the carriers behind Softcard (née ISIS). And while that's good news for Google, Wallet, and arguably Android mobile payments in general, it hasn't been such a promising turn of events for everyone involved. As a result of this new partnership, Softcard as we know it is shutting down, and while its Android users are welcome to transition over to Google Wallet, there's also been a Windows Phone version of Softcard, and that's also being shuttered. This week we finally learn the date on which the ...

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    Have the big flagship launches of MWC 2015 convinced you it's time to get a new smartphone? Oh, who are we kidding? With devices as desirable as the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6, you probably didn't need too much convincing, anyway. But as you start wondering about whether or not you should pick one of these guys up when sales open in the near future, what are you thinking in terms of pricing? Neither manufacturer has yet shared any official pricing data, and while many smartphone shoppers in the US are still going the carrier subsidized route, a growing number of shoppers are ...

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