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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    Windows 10 Mobile may be the future of Microsoft's smartphone platform, but for the moment users have precious few hardware options for enjoying the new OS. You've got a handful of Lumia models from Microsoft, sure, but the majority of Lumia phones are still waiting for their official W10M updates to arrive. That's left third-party manufacturers to pick up the slack, and ever since last year we've been looking forward to the carrier debut of the Windows 10 edition of Alcatel Onetouch's Fierce XL. Nothing's official just yet, but a new source suggests T-Mobile could get its hands on the ...

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    Apple's rumored March event is just another month away, and word is that the Apple Watch will be taking the spotlight for at least part of the announcements. Some rumors suggest we could be looking at as little as new band hardware, while other reports point to some much more substantial news, including the launch of upgraded versions of the Watch itself. Changes could include improvements to the wearable's battery, a new SoC, or on the more extreme end, maybe even an integrated camera for FaceTime support. While we're still not sure just what we're getting, if you're nto afraid of being a ...

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    What do you think of when we mention February holidays? Valentine's Day? Well, sure, that's the easy one. What you might not have been aware of is that tomorrow, February 9, is Safer Internet Day, part of a decade-old campaign dedicated to promoting good security practices among internet users. Considering all the personal data we entrust to online services, keeping our information locked down and under our control is more important now than ever, and this week some big names like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google are all spreading the word about what each of us can do to keep our ...

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    Social media accounts are like potato chips: they leave you feeling greasy, bloated, and ashamed of yourself. Wait, no, that's not quite right – let's try this again: it's hard to have just one. While networks like Twitter have made it a snap to juggle multiple accounts from within their apps, others have been late to the party. Last year, we got word that Instagram was looking to correct its own tragic oversight in not giving users this kind of flexibility, and we learned of a beta test that was giving adventurous users an early shot at trying out the feature. It looks like everything ...

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    Google and Apple may be butting heads over who's the most valuable company these days, as shifting stock prices push top valuation back and forth between the two tech giants. But no matter which firm is currently in the top spot, there's no denying that the executives behind these companies are leading efforts that bring in billions upon billions for their respective employers. Earlier this month we saw Alphabet post its latest revenue data, with Google bringing in $74.5 billion over all of 2015. Being responsible for that kind of windfall doesn't go unnoticed in Mountain View, and Google ...

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    The Apple beta machine is hard at work cranking out new releases, and just like clockwork going back the past month now, every two weeks we've been seeing the distribution of a new iOS 9.3 beta. The company's still not quite to the point where it's ready for the big 9.3 public release, but today we see it get one step closer with the release of iOS 9.3 beta 3, landing alongside tvOS 9.2 beta 3 and watchOS 2.2 beta 3. So, what's new? Well, Night Shift has been a key component of iOS 9.3 betas so far, and this time is no exception. Apple continues to tweak the interface users will interact ...

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    Right now, India's got the second largest smartphone market around, so if you're a manufacturer looking to expand your operation, the country's users are a prime target. And while Apple may be a huge brand over here in the States, so far the company has yet to make a significant impact on Indian smartphone sales, currently only enjoying about a two-percent share of the market. Recently, though, we've seen signs that Apple is interested in seriously stepping up its efforts in the nation, including heavily discounting older models and pushing to get its first retail stores opened up. While ...

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    What's next for the Lenovo-owned Motorola brand - or, should we say, Moto brand? Last month, we heard Lenovo's CEO talking briefly about plans for a high-profile new Moto smartphone (or maybe even phones), due for launch sometime this July. And while that probably means a new Moto X, and likely another Moto G, what can we look forward to from the phones themselves? We were promised “more innovative, more attractive” designs, but just what does Lenovo have in mind? It may still be several months before we know for sure, but recent pics attempt to offer a possible early glimpse, showing ...

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    With MWC just two weeks away, we're getting into the home stretch for leaks and rumors focusing on the crop of new smartphone flagships expected to make their debut at the show. We've already seen the LG G5 reveal many of its secrets, and we've been waiting patiently for the Samsung Galaxy S7 to do the same. And while that's brought us a couple of detailed renders of the phone, as well as a possible shot of the actual hardware, so far the leaks have been coming up short in one key area: we'd yet to get a good look at a real pic of the phone's backside, confirming rumors about a seriously ...

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    For as much thought as we put into PINs, passwords, and biometric authentication on our phones, security often feels like an afterthought – or not thought about at all – when it comes to wearables like smartwatches. To an extent, that makes sense; after all, we're a lot less likely to accidentally lose track of a gadget that's securely strapped to our wrist. But as we start using wearables for more and more functions, maybe especially in terms of mobile payments, is it worth thinking a little more about how to properly secure them? Samsung seems to be doing just that, and a recently ...

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    Doing even the simplest-seeming thing on our smartphones can involve a lot of little moving parts. Information needs to be gathered from input sources, interpreted, passed to the right processes, ferried off to remote cell towers, routed to the right servers – and that's just getting started. Every step along the way is another opportunity for things to go wrong, messages to get dropped, and lag to slow the whole process down. In the spirit of believing that simpler might just be better, Google's rolling out a change to Hangouts on Android that aims to increase call quality by setting up ...

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    How many objectively different smartphone can one company release under the same name? And how long can it keep that routine going? When we see a manufacturer like Samsung release a flagship Galaxy phone running different SoCs in different markets, it's one thing, but as more and more of those specs change, and more and more time passes between launches, are we really looking at multiple variants of the same smartphone, or what might be more properly talked about as fully distinct models? That's the question we're asking about HTC today, as we learn about yet another handset making its ...

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    Net neutrality may be the law of the land, but carriers aren't about to sit idly by and treat all content as equal while there's money to be made by doing the opposite. So while paid prioritization may be out the window so long as the FCC is getting its way, carriers have been quick to come at things from another direction, championing the rise of “zero-rated” data schemes that allow content providers to get their media to users without those viewers having to use their expensive mobile data allotment in the process. Last year we heard that Verizon was looking into doing just that with ...

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    After a quiet couple months, HTC One M10 (aka Perfume) rumors started picking back up a few weeks back, talking about everything from launch plans, to handset design, to the phone's internal hardware. And while all that added up to giving us a better understanding of the next flagship in HTC's pipeline, we still hasn't seen the phone that was to become the manufacturer's big early-2016 hero device. That's in stark contrast to the LG G5, which has been leaking like a rusty sieve, and even the Samsung Galaxy S7, which recently found itself the subject of a few convincing enough renders. But ...

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    The times are a-changing up in Waterloo, and BlackBerry faces a future that looks very different from what the company might have been expecting just a few years back. BlackBerry 10 as a platform is on the way out, and while support's supposed to continue for time being, everything we've heard suggests that BlackBerry's fate lies in its ability to fully transition over to an Android device maker. And while the company may be in this for the long haul, it might not be bringing all of its employees along with it, as reports roll in of some pretty substantial layoffs. BlackBerry has yet to ...

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    Someday, our favorite smartphones will be left behind by the tide of progress, no long tapped to receive the latest platform updates and doomed to live out the rest of their days on increasingly feature-poor, insecure software: it's just the way of the world, as planned obsolescence pushes us towards newer and fancier hardware. But for the time being, there's still plenty of life left in our favorite flagships, and Android users are experiencing a surge in availability of (admittedly overdue) Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates. We just told you about the LG G4 bringing Marshmallow to T-Mobile ...

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    Dealing with a broken smartphone can be an abject nightmare, not to mention a pretty expensive proposition, so it's little surprise that users often turn to their most accessible, most affordable options for repair – even if that may not mean dealing with an authorized service agent. After all, your phone's already broken, so what's the harm, right? Well, for a growing number of iPhone users that harm is only becoming apparent after the fact, as they get locked out of their phones when attempting to install their latest system updates. The culprit is the Touch ID sensor embedded in the ...

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    February is finally upon us, and that means that we're only a few weeks away from when we've heard that HTC will finally start accepting pre-orders for its Vive VR headset. When that day comes we'll finally have the answer to maybe the biggest question hanging over the Vive to date – just what will this extravagance end up costing – and while we don't have that info quite yet, today we find ourselves picking up a little new insight into Vive ownership, as HTC makes available the headset's owner's manual. With much of the Pocketnow staff having slapped on the Vive for some VR fun by ...

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    Everything we've been seeing lately about LG's upcoming G5 has been telling us to expect a radical new look for the phone's back, dropping the now-standard rear volume controls in favor of a single power button/fingerprint scanner, and going with a side-by-side dual-camera arrangement, with the lenses flanking the phone's flash and laser-assist auto-focus. And while this layout has become a key part of the G5's story, so far we haven't been super-clear on the specifics. At least, every time it seems like we get a chance to peek at the phone's rear, either in schematics, renders, of even ...

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    Apple's in the business of buying old iPhones. Maybe the company doesn't quite position it like that, but if your iPhone isn't ancient (iPhone 4 or newer), Apple will offer you a little cash when trading in your old model for the purchase of a new one – from as little as $100 in the case of the iPhone 4, to as much as $350 for a iPhone 6 Plus (and that's not even touching on the new lease program). But while Apple's happy to take a used-but-in-good-condition iPhone off your hands, the situation quickly starts going south when you're talking about a damaged phone. Now a new rumor claims ...

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    When are finally going to get the chance to see the debut of the next – and by plenty of accounts, maybe even the last – Lumia smartphone? The Lumia 650's been on our radar for months, and since right around the start of the new year we've really been looking into just when this puppy might be fixing to launch. Rumors first suggested a very-early February low-key announcement, before backing off and claiming that the Lumia 650 was facing some short delays. Well, that rumored February 1 launch clearly didn't happen, so what about this new, delayed date? While earlier reports didn't name ...

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    How long have we been waiting for Android Wear watches to start sounding off? Models like last year's Huawei Watch were clearly packing integrated speakers, and it looked like it was just a matter of time before we'd see the software fall into place that would finally take advantage of them. But despite some indications that such updates were on the way, official speaker support has so far been elusive. Well, today's the day we've been looking forward to, as Google announces new hands-free features for Android Wear, including speaker support. Right now, the only two Android Wear models ...

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    It's easy enough to build an extremely affordable smartphone, but the trick isn't simply undercutting everyone else on price; it's keeping prices low while still delivering hardware that's worth buying, with attractive specs and a compelling design. Huawei may have hit that nail right on the head with its Honor sub-brand's new 5X, which just the other day went up for sale in the States at an incredibly attractive $200 price point. With a Snapdragon 615 under the hood, 13MP camera, and a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, that sure looked like it added up to one heck of a bargain. Now it's time for ...

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    A few years back, it seemed like being ahead of the curve with mobile gadgets meant carrying as many as your pockets would allow: you had your phone, maybe a tablet, and packed your bag with a laptop, camera, and no shortage of accessories. And while we still love being packed to the brim and ready for whatever the day throws at us, there's a new focus on simplifying our mobile lives, and moving to devices that do double (if not more) duty. Microsoft's stirred up such interest with Continuum on Windows 10 Mobile, and Canonical's been pushing a similar agenda with Ubuntu on mobile devices, ...

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    With under three weeks to go until MWC 2016 kicks off, interest in the show is heating up fast, especially as companies like LG confirm plans to launch long-rumored flagship phones. Beyond LG, we're also extremely interested in what Samsung's got coming our way at its Unpacked event, and even if Samsung's not yet ready to go the LG route and outright tell us what's on the menu (*cough* GS7 *cough*) there have been more than enough rumors to hold us over. One of those rumors concerned a possible accessory for the Galaxy S7 (and its presumed Gear VR), a dual-lens spherical camera Capablanca ...

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