• Devices

    by Published on 09-28-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview



    Yesterday some folks from OnePlus appeared on r/Android for what they called their September Software Edition AMA. The company announced their second carrier agreement with UK operator O2 this week; OnePlus phones have also been available through Finland's Elisa since May.

    This AMA, however, was primarily conducted to address the code merge of their Western and Chinese market ROMs. On hand were the following staff:

    Brian (Head of ROM Product) - /u/BrianTheBigBear
    Aaron (Android Technical Lead) - /u/Aaron_oneplus
    Omega (Rom Dev Lead) - /u/OmegaHsu
    Carl (Head of Global) - /u/Carpe02
    Bradon (Community/Marketing) - /u/BradonOP

    My cherry-picked highlights can be read directly below. ...
    by Published on 09-27-2016 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    Here's yet another render of the Google Pixel, found by Evan Blass and posted to VentureBeat yesterday. With exactly one week to go before its official unveiling I thought it might be instructive to compare what we know about it (and the larger Pixel XL) against a list of traits one would expect in a Nexus phone of days gone by.

    Note that I won't have definitive answers for everything you'll read in this post; chalk that up to rumours I've heard on podcasts and my unfamiliarity with Verizon. ...
    by Published on 09-26-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview



    Some big news from Snapchat over the weekend... The company has renamed itself Snap, Inc. and announced its first hardware product, called Spectacles.

    Priced at $130 USD and available this fall in either black, teal or coral (seen here), Spectacles capture and send Snaps to your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. Those not wearing Snap Specs will know they're being Snapped by a ring of lights that will illuminate around the lens. On the upside, confrontations with strangers who don't wish to be recorded will be limited to 10-second segments. ...
    by Published on 09-23-2016 10:36 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    I was very excited when Pokemon Go launched, I really enjoyed playing the original Pokemon games 20 years ago, and was really looked forward to being able to play the latest version with my 6 year old daughter.

    The 2 of us have managed to make it up to level 28 mostly because I play a lot when she’s not around. However playing a lot of Pokemon Go causes 3 problems. Can the Pokemon Go Plus solve them? ...
    by Published on 09-23-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview



    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have just published the results of a two-year study on wearable technology and weight loss. A total of 471 participants in the study, men and women aged 18-35, were weeded down into two groups; the group using fitness trackers lost less weight on average than the ones that didn't.

    All of the initial subjects got six months of a low-calorie diet, prescribed increases in physical activity and group counseling. From that larger group subjects were selected at random for an additional 18 months of phone counseling, SMS reminders and access to either a website or a wearable device.

    The results: After 2 years, the non-wearable group lost 13 lbs on average, and the wearable group only 7.7 lbs. ...
    by Published on 09-22-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Here's YouTuber and Android Authority contributer Krystal Key, comparing the iPhone 7's camera (the single-lensed model) with its Galaxy S7 counterpart—and also the Note7, as the two Samsung flagships share the same optics.

    I think it's a more instructive comparison than the speed test I posted a few days ago; anyone in the market for either of these phones is likely to be interested in their cameras above all else.

    So who wins? It's a tough call. The iPhone seems to capture more accurate colours but has a tendency to underexpose, while the Galaxy does everything it can to produce an image more pleasing to the eye—dialing up the saturation and wiping away minor skin blemishes with its beauty mode. I'm willing to bet that in the absence of one you'd be perfectly happy with the other.

    Which camera do you think does a better job? ...
    by Published on 09-20-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    It's not even a fair fight, but the video doesn't lie: Apple's latest iPhone—the smaller one—handily laps Samsung's latest phablet in this video head-to-head by PhoneBuff, and does so without breaking a sweat (or exploding).

    The savvy Android user will already know that the Note 7 isn't a worthy competitor here. First, it's burdened with Samsung's extra apps and processes. Second, XDA's exhaustive performance testing of the Note 7 shows that it lags—literally—behind its Android competition in almost every action. And finally, XDA has also demonstrated that the Snapdragon version of the Note (the one in the video) has inferior peak CPU performance to the Exynos version of the same device.

    So what would be a worthy competitor to the iPhone? For that we might have to wait until popular benchmarking sites publish their September results. Antutu's report for August claims that the iPhone 6S is outperformed by the Galaxy S7 edge and a sextet of Chinese Android phones; I myself tend to favour real-world testing over synthetic benchmarks.

    So is on-device video rendering fair for a real-world test? It's clearly where the Note falls behind in the video embedded above. For high-end flagships with high-end cameras I think it's a reasonable metric. And sadly, Android fanboy that I am, I think we'll have to cede this victory lap to Apple. ...
    by Published on 09-19-2016 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    Over the weekend XDA posted an intriguing rumour about Google's new Pixel phones, the ones supposedly making their début on October 4th.

    Anyone who's ever used a custom recovery to backup their Android device or flash a new ROM onto it will be familiar with the more critical partitions in an Android installation—/boot, /system, /recovery, etc. Even if you've never modded your Android phone or tablet you've probably at least seen the stock recovery; on a Nexus device it's the screen showing the robot with the spinning gears in its belly, most often seen during the flashing of an OTA update or a factory reset.

    So the rumour, put forth by Dees_Troy, the lead developer of TWRP, is that the Pixel phones will be doubling up on key partitions. Here's the direct quote:

    The new Pixel phones will have 2 system partitions, 2 boot partitions, 2 vendor partitions, 2 modem partitions, etc. One set of partitions will be active—the set of partitions that are currently used to boot the device. When an update is published, the update will be applied to the second set in the background. Once the update has been applied, a prompt will appear asking to reboot. The reboot will not include booting to recovery. Instead, the device will switch which set of partitions are used to the second set and you will quickly, perhaps nearly instantly, boot an updated device.
    Pretty cool, right? You'll still be able to use your Pixel phone while a software update is being applied in the background. And for modders the news is even better: if those second set of partitions could be hijacked the savvy user would suddenly have a proper dual-booting device. That would also be pretty cool! ...
    by Published on 09-16-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. From The Forums
    Article Preview



    As the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus go on sale on this side of the international dateline, a little history is in order for you [email protected] kids: 10 years ago this month Nokia announced this then-beast of a handset, the N95.

    The modern smartphone enthusiast might gaze upon these buttons and shake their head in dismay, but for old-timers who were active on the forums back then the N95—and the 8GB version that came after it—were a very big deal.

    The first generation iPhone wasn't announced until January of 2007, and wouldn't be a likely candidate for anyone considering the N95, which launched in March of that same year. Yes, the iPhone had the superior UI which would go on to attract millions of new smartphone users and revolutionize mobile computing, but the Nseries Nokia was the pinnacle in what we now recognize as the era of PIM phones.

    The N95 was notable for its unique dual-sliding chassis, 5MP autofocus Carl Zeiss rear-firing camera, onboard GPS with a full maps suite, onboard office suite and a healthy ecosystem of third-party apps. What I remember most was the keypad—I was a qwerty guy back then but even I could appreciate that the N95's squishy T9 keys were just about perfect. ...
    by Published on 09-14-2016 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    What we're looking at here is a video demo of HydrogenOS, the firmware installed on OnePlus 3s sold in China. Why are we looking at it? It seems that some of its features—or at least the back-end code—are bound for OxygenOS, the ROM that powers Western variants of the device.

    The official story, as told to XDA, is that the two ROMs are being merged to make software updates faster. The progress of this undertaking can be seen in the community builds of OxygenOS that OnePlus is posting to their English-language forums. I've not flashed any of the community builds myself only because the official OxygenOS has been so great—this is honestly the first time I've run stock firmware on an Android device (with root, of course) since I bought my first Nexus in 2010.

    But Android Central has learned that there's a bit more to it than that. Apparently some key members of the OxygenOS team have left the company:

    Long hours and insufficient resources in the run-up to OnePlus 3's launch led to a number of OxygenOS team members striking a deal to terminate their contracts just after the phone's release, according to people who didn't want to be named because they signed non-disclosure agreements.

    According to these people, despite a 3:1 ratio of OxygenOS users to its Chinese market counterpart, OnePlus was disproportionately pouring resources into HydrogenOS, causing strain between the two teams and leading the subsequent talent purge.
    This puts OnePlus in a tough spot, as the fast and efficient OxygenOS has been a major selling point for the OP3 thus far. The good news is that a new version of the official ROM, as discussed on reddit, seems to be carrying on that tradition. More on this as it develops. ...
    by Published on 09-13-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    Just finished reading a long-winded editorial over at Android Police, wherein author David Ruddock posits that Google's forthcoming Pixel phones will, more than any Nexus phone before them, be positioned as direct competitors to Apple's iPhone. Mmkay...

    As the world's largest smartphone OEM, you could argue that Samsung is already a pretty good iPhone competitor. You could also argue, I suppose, that its S apps and such detract from a "pure" Android experience. In that case the OnePlus 3 makes for a worthy iPhone adversary—but even this unabashed OnePlus fanboy knows that his smartphone camera can't compare to what's on offer from Apple.

    It seems to me that the Android platform has flourished with diversity and choice, and that having a direct iPhone competitor isn't really the point. That said, the AP editorial does point out that Google's Nexus phones have already begun shifting from a platform for "stock Android" (which isn't even really a thing anymore) to a more premium offering. Do first-party accessories and a device protection plan make an Android phone more "iPhone-like"? I'm not so sure. Read on and see what you think. ...
    by Published on 09-09-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview



    It never had a chance.

    Not the phone, just its launch. Announced overnight Tuesday at the annual IFA electronics show in Berlin, by Wednesday afternoon it was all but lost in a sea of iPhone news. That's partly my fault, so I'm here to make things right.

    Like the new iPhone 7 Plus, the V20 has two rear-facing cameras. But where Apple has gone for a "regular" and telephoto lens combination, the V20's setup—like the G5 before it—is regular and wide. It's a bit of a challenge to confirm this based on specs alone; Apple says the 7 Plus has lenses equivalent to 18 and 56mm on a full-frame DSLR, while LG says the V20's wide-angle lens will capture a 135-degree view.

    Other obvious differences: the V20 will ship with Android 7.0 Nougat (the first to do so) and has a removable battery. Oh, and also a headphone jack. ...
    by Published on 09-07-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Well, that was easy.

    YouTuber DetroitBORG has uploaded a particularly "crispy" video demo of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, set to launch later today—a redditor browsing the Hong Kong Apple site has confirmed the names of the two phones. The dummy units you see in the video here are reference designs for case-makers; Apple doesn't produce dummy units for carrier stores, at least not in the Americas.

    Unfortunately I've a family obligation during the launch event today, but iPhone fans needn't worry; I'll have all the official details for you in the news round-up later this afternoon. In the meantime, The Verge has compiled a list of features to expect—with sources, no less!


    If you're available at around 10am PT / 1pm ET, you can watch a stream of the event right here. Oh, and there's one more thing. ...
    by Published on 09-02-2016 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    Nexus is dead; long live Pixel? That's what a pair of new exclusives from Android Police would seem to suggest.

    Overnight they reported that the two new Google-branded HTC phones, the 5-inch Sailfish and 5.5-inch Marlin, would launch as the Pixel and Pixel XL, respectively. An hour later they published a launch date: Tuesday, October 4th. The phones will supposedly be announced alongside a Daydream VR viewer and 4K Chromecast.

    So what would Pixel branding mean for Android modders? Nothing good, I fear. Using the Android-powered Pixel C tablet as an example there is still, more than 9 months after its release, no official TWRP recovery available, and rooting it—on Marshmallow, at least—requires flashing a custom kernel. To be fair, though, it's widely thought that the C was originally intended to run Chrome OS, and as such might well have some wonky code that would impede an otherwise straightforward rooting procedure.

    Does Pixel branding make you any more or less interested in a white-label HTC phone? ...
    by Published on 09-01-2016 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    If Android Central is correct, the forthcoming duo of HTC-made phones coming this fall will not bear the Nexus logo. Google almost managed to pull this off in 2014 with Android Silver—you'll recall that the gargantuan Nexus 6 was originally intended to be Motorola's contribution to the Android Silver program. But this time its for reals, with some further evidence in that Android Police render showing only Google branding on the back of the device.

    Speaking of Android Police, I heard a bit of juicy gossip on one of their recent podcasts: Apparently Google was in talks with Huawei for a multi-year contract to produce devices for them, but Huawei walked away when they heard that said devices could only have Google branding.

    But I digress. ...
    by Published on 08-31-2016 02:03 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview


    I just got a chance to play with the new Motorola Moto Z and the just announced Moto Z Play. Motorola is differentiating the Z line by putting a proprietary connector on the back of each Z phone which allows you attach specially designed accessories to it.

    Accessories include a battery back from Incipio, Insta-Share Projector, JBL SoundBoost speaker and a camera attachment with a 10x zoom lens from Hasselblad. ...
    by Published on 08-31-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview



    Anyone remember that mystery mini-flagship I wrote about back at the beginning of August? Well, this is it.

    Yesterday XDA published these photos of the forthcoming Moto M (XT1662) from the Chinese certification site TENAA. This 4.6-inch powerhouse will rock a Snapdragon 820 processor, Full HD display and at least 3GB of RAM. There might also be a 5.5-inch version with a 3,000mAh battery.

    So is this why Motorola has summoned Howard to downtown Toronto later today? I'm guessing no.

    Remember, both Howard and I live in the mobile backwater of Canada, where the Moto Z hasn't even launched yet. That's my bet for what today's event is going to be about. And while I'm grateful to be invited along, there will be much smiling and nodding from yours truly while he pretends that the American tech press hasn't already covered this thing to death. ...
    by Published on 08-30-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors
    Article Preview





    Look, I get it. We're all excited about the new iPhones. And while I don't doubt that Apple put a lot of thought into the design of their invite, I will humbly suggest the possibility that said invite might be designed to suggest a serious photography tool, and nothing more.

    If you agree then there's no need to click on the link below; they don't deserve the traffic.

    Source: Cult of Mac ...
    by Published on 08-24-2016 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices
    Article Preview



    This story came and went while I was on break, but bears recording in the annals of HoFo for generations to come. History needs to remember that McDonald's made a fitness tracker, and it was awful.

    Step-it was a free step-counter included with Happy Meals to help kids burn off the calories from said Happy Meals. I suppose I'll eventually to come to grips with a world where children have to track their own fitness; even so, with a free step-counter you get what you pay for—which is to say not much.

    Step-its were manufactured in six bright colours and two styles, and within their first week of availability were recalled—not because of the expected class-action suit for wildly inaccurate step-counts, but because McDonald's received more than 70 complaints about skin irritation, blisters and burns.

    If you or your child has a Step-it you can return it to any McDonald's for an unnamed replacement toy plus a free yogurt tube or bag of apple slices—what a deal! If you don't have a Step-it, some savvy entrepreneurs are already offering entire sets of them on eBay.

    Just remember to choose your seller wisely, and don't get burned. Literally. ...
    by Published on 08-23-2016 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    Here's the girlfriend's OnePlus 3 capturing the action at Heskjedalsfossen, a photo opp on a fjord cruise to Mostraumen, Norway. This was the first big road test for our pair of OP3s, and they performed admirably.

    Usually when we go on vacation I pack a pair of small tablets for us to use at the hotel, while our phones are recovering from a long day of sightseeing. But with the OP3's Dash Charging and the big battery/HD screen combo those tablets lay dormant in my suitcase for the duration of the trip.

    This alone makes the OnePlus 3 a good choice for those who like to travel. But of course there's an even better reason to bring this phone with you abroad. ...
    Page 1 of 57 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 51 ... LastLast