• Devices

    by Published on 11-21-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Yup, it's true... Germany's telecommunications regulator has ruled that smartwatches for kids fall under the category of unauthorized transmitters. Sales of new devices—even over the Internet—are now illegal, and the regulator is urging parents to destroy existing equipment.

    Germany is a country that apparently takes user privacy very seriously, and its government seems especially vigilant when it comes to children. Only a few months ago the same regulator issued a similar ban on an Internet-connected talking doll that listens to its owner and responds in real time. That smart toy was deemed to be a surveillance device.

    Similar issues are present in child-friendly connected watches. The problems are twofold: first, the SIM card in these watches allows parents to listen in on their child in class (for example), violating the privacy of everyone present in the classroom—including the kid wearing the watch! Also, and perhaps because these products can be construed as toys, they are insecure enough to be at risk from third-party attackers.

    That for me is the most interesting aspect of this story. Nearly every security expert I come across warns about the dangers of an unsecured Internet of things. Hopefully the people who make these smart toys and other connected devices will get their act together and step up the security of their products.

    Sources: BBC, HackRead

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    by Published on 11-15-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Apps



    More bad news for OnePlus... on the eve of a new product announcement they've been accused of backdooring their devices, allowing an attacker with physical access to gain root access without having to unlock any bootloaders— which we all know would wipe any and all sensitive data from your phone, right? Anyone? Bueller...?

    Anyway, as privacy scares go, this one has been blown out of proportion just a bit. It's still bad, but nowhere near as bad as the data that OnePlus was caught harvesting last month.

    The "backdoor" here is actually a Qualcomm testing app called EngineerMode. With the correct password (which has already been reverse-engineered) it will indeed grant root access via the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). What it won't do is allow malicious software with root privileges to be installed on your device. In fact, XDA has put their own spin on this vulnerability, citing it as a great new way for modders to root their OnePlus device.

    OnePlus absolutely should have removed this app before shipping out hardware to their customers. As to why they didn't, signs point to laziness rather than something more nefarious. Oh, and by the way, some ASUS and Xiaomi phones were also sold with the same Qualcomm testing app on board.

    Sources: Android Police, OnePlus Forums, XDA

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    by Published on 11-13-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    It's not due for its official unveiling until this Thursday, but here's an early peek at the 5-month refresh of the OnePlus 5, the OnePlus 5T. That's it on the left. The photo is from a gallery published by ZDNet's German office, since taken down. Here's their explanation, with a little help from Google Translate:

    ZDNet.de received a review sample of the OnePlus 5T without being asked. It contained no cover letter—only a review guide was included in the shipment. The editors had no knowledge of an embargo date. An NDA was not agreed in writing or orally.

    Late Friday evening two e-mails reached the editorial office with the request to take the article offline, asking for reporting on the OnePlus 5T from November 17th only. The editors have decided to meet this request.
    So ZDNet's gallery is gone, but savvy tech blogs have already saved copies of the photos and re-hosted them—like Android Police, for example.

    The big news about the new phone is its new 18:9 screen, 1080 x 2160 pixels @ 401 ppi. Thanks to much smaller bezels (and a fingerprint sensor moved to the back of the device) the display fits into a shell only slightly taller than the current OnePlus 5. Everything else about the 5T seems to be the same; it's got the same Snapdragon 835 processor, the same 6 or 8 GB of RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage, the same headphone jack... And unfortunately the review units are still shipping with Android 7.1.1 Nougat rather than Oreo.

    Thankfully, the price of the new model is also expected to stay in the range of the current OnePlus 5, which in this age of ultra-premium flagships can only be a good thing.

    Source: ZDNet Germany via Android Police

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    by Published on 11-10-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips



    To honour the 10th anniversary of the smartphone that changed everything, I forced myself to read the entirety of Brian Merchant's The One Device. It's definitely meant for Apple fans, and seems at times to be set in a fictitious world where Android doesn't even exist.

    To be fair, one of the chapters where Android is actually acknowledged turned out to be the most illuminating one, at least for me. The author visits the infamous Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China, where a surprisingly candid employee had this to say about the local job market:

    “I was tricked to work for Foxconn,” a new recruit says. “I intended to work for Huawei,” he adds, referring to the Chinese smartphone competitor. “People feel way better working for Huawei, better corporate culture, more comfortable.” In fact, he says, “Everyone has the idea of working in Foxconn for one year and getting out of the factory and going to work for Huawei.”
    So congratulations to any Huawei owners reading this; you can rest easy with the knowledge that the people who built your device were treated well while making it. And if you were wondering about that other big smartphone OEM, later in the same chapter a Foxconn higher-up had this to say:

    “I had a meeting with Samsung executives and they said they would just follow Apple [...] That’s what they told us—they would do whatever Apple did.”
    So what exactly does Apple do? If you're not familiar with Cupertino's decidedly hands-off approach to manufacturing, check out my Christmas Downer post from 2014.

    Links: The One Device on Amazon.ca / Amazon.com

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    by Published on 11-09-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on



    Though I will fight for the smartphone audio jack with my last dying breath I am also, somewhat paradoxically, a fan of wireless earbuds. I try to get in about four to five hours of podcast listening per week, and usually do so on a morning or afternoon walk. Wired earbuds serve this purpose fairly well, except for the cord that either gets tangled as I pull out my phone to skip through an ad, or gets caught on some random object as I walk by it. So-called "neckbuds", a set earbuds connected by a cable that goes around the back of one's head, are only slightly better; the cable has an annoying habit of snagging on my shirt or jacket collar and reminding me that it's there.

    But these... these are by far the most comfortable earbuds I've ever worn. Right out of the box they fit my ears perfectly, and if they didn't I'd still have two other sets of in-ear gels to choose from.

    BOSE recommends that you install their Connect app on the phone that you're pairing their earbuds with, which isn't at all a necessity—maybe when there's a firmware update to install, but otherwise no. Pairing them to my Android phone was as easy as any other Bluetooth device, and the connection has been rock solid ever since.

    Sound quality is on par with any other BOSE earbud or headphone, which is to say excellent. Keep in mind, though, that I'm most often listening to mono podcasts rather than stereo music.

    With their charging case BOSE seems to have solved the problem of battery anxiety. No one wants to head out on a two-hour run only to have their wireless earbuds die halfway through. These earbuds are primed for 5 hours of battery life, and their charging case is good for an additional two charging cycles. I usually go out for about an hour at a time, and find myself putting the buds back in the case as soon as I get back. The button that opens the case can also indicate the charge; pressing it lights up a row of LED lights immediately below. And if you put one bud into your right ear you'll hear a voice telling you your battery level the moment you remove the left bud from the case. Clever!

    These particular wireless earbuds aren't cheap; in Canada and the United States they retail for $250 USD and $330 CAD respectively. But for comfort, sound quality and ease of use they've so far been worth it.

    Links: BOSE SoundSport Free - Canada / USA

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    by Published on 11-03-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Mobile Syrup has confirmed what I myself tested yesterday, that the upstart Android smartphone-maker OnePlus now has much better support for LTE Band 66 on Canada's upstart carrier, Freedom Mobile.

    Here's the changelog from the official announcement on the OnePlus Forums:

    Supported Airtel VoLTE in India
    Supported Band 66 of Freedom in Canada
    Fixed Wi-Fi WPA2 security issue
    Optimized battery usage in some cases
    Optimized GPS accuracy
    General bug fixes
    After flashing the update I went for an mid-afternoon stroll through several neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto: Baldwin Village, the U of T campus, The Annex, Kensington Market and Chinatown. Everywhere I checked I had a solid 4G signal, and every time I ran a speed test I got the same results that were so elusive to my device just a week before.

    Building penetration is still an issue, of course. In certain places, like the bathrooms at the back of restaurants, the best available data signal is still HSPA+ or worse. But the software update is enough of an improvement that I can now recommend the OnePlus 5 to anyone on the Freedom network—more than any other phone, in fact, since you can test a Freedom SIM in either of the phone's dual SIM slots while keeping your current SIM in the other one!

    Links: OnePlus Forums, Mobile Syrup, XDA

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    by Published on 11-02-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    ... Because that's totally a thing, right? Anyone?

    Just to get you up to speed, back in 2016 there was this crowd-funded Android phone called the Nextbit Robin. The company that made it was acquired last January by Razer, Inc.—an outfit known for making gaming-centric products like laptops, controllers and other accessories. And after much speculation (and a few leaks) this, the Razer Phone, was revealed yesterday.

    The phone's design is similar to its blocky Nextbit predecessor, but the new model puts its large forehead and chin to good use, cramming multiple Dolby ATMOS-compatible speaker drivers into each (no headphone jack, though). But what really sets this device apart is the option to run its screen at 120Hz, with enough battery power to do so for more than a few minutes at a time. Other specs:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    5.7 inch QHD LCD display @ 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz
    8GB of RAM / 64GB of storage + microSD
    12 and 13MP wide and telephoto rear cameras / 8MP selfie cam
    4,000mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+
    Android 7.1 Nougat (at launch)

    The Razer Phone will be available in murdered-out black only, with a limited edition adding a neon green logo on the back. It will retail for $699 USD. I would think that an Android phone for serious Android gamers would also have an unlockable bootloader so that you could root it and install AdAway to kill ads on free-to-play titles; maybe that's just me.

    Source: Razer via Android Police

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    by Published on 11-01-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    On the left, an iPhone 8 Plus. On the right, an iPhone X. The fastest to unlock? Not what you might think!

    The GIF above was generated from an AppleInsider review on YouTube, which came to my attention via r/apple on reddit. It clearly demonstrates that getting to your home screen on an iPhone with Touch ID is faster than with the retina-scanning Face ID on the newer model.

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with the Face ID here; it's just how the technology has been implemented. Unlocking the iPhone X will take you to your home screen notifications, requiring an additional swipe up to get you home. The iPhone 8 Plus, on the other hand, has a raise-to-wake feature that activates your lock screen—and notifications—just by lifting it, and a slight tap of the Touch ID sensor instantly takes you to your home screen.

    You could argue that Face ID is more secure, as by default it protects your notifications from prying eyes. You could also argue that Touch ID is much more convenient, as it quite obviously gets you to your home screen faster.

    If nothing else, let this serve as a simple visual reminder that "newer" doesn't necessarily mean "better"...

    Source: reddit

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    by Published on 10-31-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Thanks to the CRTC, come this December 1st your Canadian carrier will no longer be able to sell phones locked to its own network. It's great news for consumers in this country; even better, some carriers are getting ahead of the deadline and have begun unlocking their hardware for free!

    I've cobbled together a quick list of who is currently selling unlocked smartphones (and also LTE-connected tablets). It's by no means complete, so please feel free to add to it. And it doesn't include your local Apple Store or pop-up Samsung shop—because we already knew about those, right?

    Bell and Virgin Mobile

    Both Bell and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile have begun selling a considerable portion of their device portfolios without any carrier locks:

    Alcatel GoFlip and Pixi 5
    All Google devices
    All iPhones and iPads
    BlackBerry KEYOne (requires software update)
    LG Q6
    Motorola Z2 Play
    Samsung Note 8
    ZTE Grand X View 2 Tablet

    Best Buy Canada

    All iPhones for all carriers are now sold unlocked, even the ones with subsidies.

    Eastlink

    "Some" devices are now sold unlocked... That's super-helpful </s>.

    Freedom Mobile

    There are anecdotal reports of users getting unlocking fees waived. Your mileage may vary; I asked about unlocking a phone when activating a line on Freedom and was told I'd have to wait thirty days.

    Rogers and Fido

    Both are waiving unlocking fees, but only for devices bought outright.

    Staples Canada

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available unlocked for outright purchase, and also on an in-house 24-month payment plan.

    TELUS and Koodo

    Again, anecdotal evidence of unlocking fees being waived. YMMV.

    If you've anything to add to this list, please help your fellow readers out!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup (1), (2), (3)

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    by Published on 10-30-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    If in late 2017 you're still in the market for a high-end Android phone there are at least two new contenders on the way—a new and bezel-less OnePlus 5T and this, the HTC U11 Plus. Like the U11 it is expected to come equipped with "Edge Sense", the same squeezable frame found in the new Pixel phones, but in this case easily remappable to launch the app or action of your choice. Unlike the U11, it will have a bigger screen, a tall 18:9 display and a smaller forehead and chin, which will move the fingerprint reader to the back of the device.

    Here are the notable specs, via XDA:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    6 inch WQHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB of RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage
    12 MP rear camera / 8 MP selfie cam
    3,930 mAh battery

    That HTC is continuing to release new flagship hardware after losing 2,000 of its best smartphone engineers to Google is curious to say the least. I can't help but wonder how much the U11 Plus is based on the abandoned muskie project for the Pixel 2...

    Source: XDA

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    by Published on 10-26-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    One of the many benefits of open source software is that the code is freely available for anyone to pore through to their heart's content. And that's just what XDA has done, uncovering some more details about muskie, the forgotten HTC-made device that was once pegged to be this year's Pixel 2 XL.

    Of particular interest in the muskie-related AOSP commits for Android 8.0 is this line:

    Code:
    <item name="battery.capacity">3830</item>
    Yup, that's right, HTC's pitch for the Pixel 2 XL was to have a massive 3,830 mAh battery, putting the LG version's paltry-by-comparison 3,520 mAh to shame. Unfortunately that big battery would quickly prove to be the device's downfall—last June someone told 9to5Google that the cell wasn't performing as expected, and that muskie's development had been halted.

    Had the device made it into production users would likely have had to content with a large forehead and chin, similar to the HTC-made Pixel 2. However, the disaster with LG's POLED screen would have been averted. Something tells me that if Google had a do-over they might have put a bit more effort into bringing muskie to market.

    Source: XDA

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    by Published on 10-25-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    The #HYPE is back, apparently...

    It all started two weeks ago, when GizmoChina posted a render of what they claimed was the OnePlus 5T. Folks were skeptical, and rightly so. Last year's OnePlus 3T took advantage of the Note7 debacle and shoehorned some better specs into the already-excellent OnePlus 3; if this leaked render was to be believed, OnePlus was now planning to put the same processor from the 5 into an entirely new body.

    It doesn't make any sense, yet the wild speculation continues, fueled even further by the fact that the current OnePlus 5 is out of stock in many markets, including Canada and the United States.

    That original render was eventually dismissed as an Oppo device (the F5), but then a few days ago another render surfaced with OnePlus trim and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor—you can see it for yourself at TechnoBuffalo. That same day, someone leaked the teaser image that you see above to Android Authority.

    And now SlashLeaks has an AnTuTu screen grab with specs:

    Model number: A5010
    OS: Android 8.0
    Processor: Snapdragon 835, Adreno 540 GPU
    Screen resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
    Cameras: 20MP + 20MP
    RAM / ROM: 8GB / 128GB

    For reference, the current OP5 has 16 and 20 megapixel cameras for standard and portrait shots.

    I guess if you're a OnePlus fan who's been holding out for a tall display then you won't have to wait until the summer of 2018 for your next phone. But all I can think of is how many angry OnePlus 5 owners there will be come November, when the 5T is expected to make it début.

    Sources: Android Authority, GizmoChina, SlashLeaks, TechnoBuffalo

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    by Published on 10-24-2017 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The Verge has taken the unprecedented step of pulling their review score for Google's Pixel 2 XL. Here's the full text from their amended review:

    After multiple reports of possible screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL, we are pulling our score for this device until we have more information. We have reached out to Google, but as of this writing the company has only said that it's "investigating."

    Since publishing our original review, our unit has developed ghostly versions of the main Android navigation buttons at the bottom, visible when you're looking at a gray background. Several other outlets have reported the same on their review units. That's potentially a telltale sign of screen burn-in, which can affect any OLED screen over time — but usually that time is measured in months and years, not weeks. It's possible, however, that it's simply a temporary "image retention" and not a permanent issue.

    If it's not permanent, it's one more disappointing problem on an already disappointing screen, and we will update our score on the 2 XL to reflect that. If the 2 XL's screen is genuinely exhibiting permanent burn-in after just a couple of weeks, we'll also update our score to reflect that (and it will be a very low score indeed).

    Until we know one way or the other, we're temporarily removing our score on the Pixel 2 XL. In the meantime, we can't recommend buying this phone until we can definitively say that the screen isn't permanently damaging itself within weeks of buying it.

    The smaller Pixel 2, however, remains a great phone with a very good (albeit smaller) screen.
    If you didn't already know, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured for Google by LG with a POLED display—that is, an OLED display with a plastic substrate. The smaller Pixel 2 (built by HTC) uses an AMOLED display panel built by Samsung. You can read more about AMOLED vs POLED here.

    Needless to say, any major screen issue is completely unacceptable for what in Canada is an eleven hundred dollar phone. Google will give you 15 days to return any hardware bought from their online store; if you're on the waiting list for a Pixel 2 XL you might want to cancel and see how this plays out.

    Links: Android Authority, The Verge

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    by Published on 10-20-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    While hardcore fans are still waiting for the top of the line Nokia 9 to be made official, HMD Global threw them a curve ball this week and announced the mid-range Nokia 7 for the Chinese market. The mere existence of Android phones bearing the famous Finnish brand is apparently not enough; Nokia is once again touting its Dual-sight camera (aka "bothie") as a unique selling point. Other notable specs are as follows:

    Snapdragon 630 processor
    5.2 inch FHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage plus microSD (or dual SIM)
    16 MP rear camera with PDAF, Carl Zeiss optics
    5 MP selfie cam with autofocus
    3,000 mAh battery with USB-C charging port
    Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    Courage (headphone) jack

    The 7 will be available starting October 24th in either black or white, with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and priced at either ¥2,499 or ¥2,699—which works out to about $377 or $407 USD. Will a version of this phone ever wash up on North American shores? You'll have to ask HMD Global about that.

    Sources: Nokia (China) via Android Police

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    by Published on 10-16-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Linux laptop maker Purism has succeeded where Ubuntu failed, meeting their crowdfunding goal of $1.5 million USD to produce this, the Librem 5 smartphone. Unlike 2013's ill-fated Ubuntu Edge, you probably won't be buying this thing for its specs:

    5 inch touchscreen
    i.MX6 or i.MX8 CPU, Vivante GPU
    3 GB RAM / 32 GB storage + microSD
    Front and rear cameras
    WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G / 4G / LTE
    Courage jack (aka 3.5mm headphone)

    You might, however, be interested in the Librem 5 for its Linux compatibility and privacy-minded features. Out of the box the phone will run a mobile version of Purism's in-house PureOS, or any other Linux distribution that supports its hardware. Since the processor and GPU are both open-source there may well end up being a lot of support for this phone. For privacy there will be hardware kill switches for the cameras, microphone and all wireless networks. In addition the baseband will be separate from the CPU, presumably to prevent the NSA and its Five Eyes partners from overriding any of those kill switches.

    In terms of apps, Purism is all about the HTML5, which was also the promise of Firefox OS. Remember Firefox OS? I do. It was terrible. And the cynic in me can't help but think that a phone running LineageOS and F-Droid in place of the Google apps would deliver 90% of the freedom and a much better user experience.

    But who am I to rain on the freedom beards' parade? It seems like the Linux community is wholeheartedly embracing the Librem 5, and it will interesting to watch what they whip up for it—even if it will be very much a niche product.

    Links: Librem 5 via OMG! Ubuntu!

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    by Published on 10-13-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The biggest story of this short news week has to be the revelation that OnePlus phones running the company's stock ROMs—Hydrogen and Oxygen OS—are, without their users' consent, collecting and transmitting personally-identifiable data. Here's a sample of what's being collected:

    Code:
    getAndroidVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getBSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getBatteryLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)F
    getBatteryStatus(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getBrandName()Ljava/lang/String;
    getCellSignalLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getDeviceId()Ljava/lang/String;
    getIMEI(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getIMEI1(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getIsHiddenSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Z
    getLocale(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/util/Locale;
    getMacAddr(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getModelName()Ljava/lang/String;
    getOSVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getPCBA()Ljava/lang/String;
    getResolutionHeight(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    getResolutionWidth(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    getRomVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getSimCountryCode(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getSoftVersion()Ljava/lang/String;
    getTimezone()Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiMacAddress(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiSSID(Landroid/content/Context;)Ljava/lang/String;
    getWifiSignalLevel(Landroid/content/Context;)I
    isH2()Z
    isO2()Z
    isRooted()Z
    But wait, there's more... OnePlus is also collecting timestamped events on your device, like unexpected reboots, which apps you use and for how long, even when you lock and unlock your screen. It may sound like innocuous diagnostic information, but each of these timestamps is dispatched with personally-identifiable information. And even if you opt out of the OnePlus User Experience Program the hidden services that collect this data are still collecting this data and sending it back to OnePlus.

    The collection can be halted via adb and a terminal command on a desktop computer. A more detailed account of how this data harvesting was discovered, and how to fix it, can be read at the link directly below.

    Link: Chris's Security and Tech Blog

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    by Published on 10-11-2017 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    It has begun.

    Not even a year after Pebble was acquired by Fitbit their watches are already starting to fail. Some have apparent manufacturing defects or quality control issues, while others have suffered too much abuse on the wrists of their owners. What's especially heartbreaking about these photos is that we Pebblers are holding on to our hardware for dear life. Unlike a good mechanical watch, however, these things just aren't built to last.



    The first-generation Pebble started shipping in January, 2013; here's what one of those looks like when the buttons fall out.



    When a button on their 2016 Pebble 2 wore off, this user switched from using his finger to the tip of a pen, with predictable results.



    Swollen batteries are also starting to affect some Pebbles. Here's a 2015 Pebble Time Round with a display panel lifting away from its body.



    And this 2016 Pebble Time Steel seems to have experienced an adhesive failure between its display and body.

    The moral of the story? If you love your Pebble like I do get a spare or two on Amazon while you still can...!

    Source: reddit (1) (2) (3) (4)

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    by Published on 10-10-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Here's a photo taken by a not-so-proud owner of a new iPhone 8 Plus in Japan; out of the box the new device's battery had swollen to the point where it was pushing the display panel out of its seating. There are reports of similar defects trickling in from around the world—seven in total so far:

    Canada - 1 incident reported
    China - 1 incident reported
    Greece - 1 incident reported
    Hong Kong - 1 incident reported
    Japan - 1 incident reported
    Taiwan - 2 incidents reported

    This story on Pocketnow has links to each incident. In a couple of cases the phone's battery was swollen out of the box; in others the swelling occurred after the user's first charge (with original equipment). In the rest the swelling became apparent after a short fall, with no initial signs of damage. There are, at present, no reports of batteries actually exploding.

    Apple is said to be investigating the issue, which might prove to be a challenge, as batteries for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are made by three separate manufacturers: LG Chem, Samsung SDI and Simplo Technologies.

    Hopefully no one reading this has a swollen battery in their new iPhone; if you do, I'm sure your neighbourhood Apple Store will help you out.

    Sources: Pocketnow, The Verge, Twitter

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    by Published on 10-09-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    What better way to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving than with a new BlackBerry? Let's just maybe overlook that it was announced in Dubai, and its availability at launch will be limited to that part of the world.

    The BlackBerry Motion, known previously by its codename "Krypton", is a touchscreen-only device. Here are the notable specs, courtesy of CrackBerry:

    Snapdragon 625 processor
    5.5 inch FHD IPS LCD display with Dragon Tail Glass (?)
    4 GB RAM / 32 GB storage plus microSD
    12 MP rear camera with PDAF
    8 MP selfie camera with flash
    4,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    IP67 water resistance
    Headphone jack (!)

    The Motion will be available for purchase in the Middle East before the end of the month, and will apparently be the first BlackBerry sold in the region with dual SIM capabilities. It won't be the world's first dual SIM BB, however; that honour goes to an Indian variant of the KeyOne—at least that's what TechRadar says.

    UAE pricing for this mid-range BlackBerry works out to less than $500 USD. I'd expect to see the Motion available in North America before too long, but maybe not the dual SIM version. Just a hunch.

    Sources: CrackBerry, TechRadar

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    by Published on 10-06-2017 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Okay, so with this year's iPhones and Pixels officially made official the year's collection of ultra-premium smartphones is now complete. Or maybe not. If sources are correct, there is one more Android-powered Nokia on the way.



    Here's a render of the Nokia 9, in polished blue. The phone is believed to have an edge-to-edge display just like Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+. This is what it would look like in polished blue.



    And this is what it would look like in polished copper. The back of the device is also 3D glass, so wireless charging will be supported.



    The renders are based on this leak of the phone's display panel, along with some rumoured specs:

    Snapdragon 835 Processor
    5.5 inch QHD AMOLED display, 534 ppi
    4 GB RAM, 64 or 128 GB storage
    Dual 13 MP rear cameras with Zeiss optics, OIS, PDAF
    13 MP selfie cam with PDAF
    Dual SIM or microSD support
    IP68 certified
    Android 8.0
    Polished Blue, Polished Copper, Steel, Tempered Blue
    €750 EUR / $875 USD / $1,100 CAD

    Aside from not actually being announced yet, there might be additional issues affecting your enjoyment of this high-functioning phone. One would be the limited availability in the Americas (if at all) and another would be Nokia's so-far disappointing policies towards bootloader unlocking and publishing software sources. If the company wants a foothold in this part of the world, catering to the whims of the XDA crowd wouldn't be a bad way to do it. It certainly worked for OnePlus.

    Sources: GSMArena, GizmoChina

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