• Devices

    by Published on 06-28-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    This is some next-level phone protection right here. If you drop your device while it's in this prototype case, a built-in motion sensor will immediately detect the fall and deploy a set of eight metal springs to cushion the impact. The case can then be reset by folding the springs back into the case, not unlike the knife on a switchblade.

    It works better than you might think, and can be seen in action right here.

    The clever mind responsible for this feat is German engineering student Philip Frenzel, seen here modeling a T-shirt with a snazzy logo for his invention. Frenzel took home the top prize from a national competition put on by the German Society for Mechatronics; something tells me we'll be seeing his invention on Kickstarter sometime soon.

    Source: PREVIEW Online (German) via TechCrunch

    by Published on 06-27-2018 10:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    For whatever it's worth, reputable leaker Steve H.—aka @OnLeaks—has posted some renders of the new Pixel phones set for release this autumn. Image galleries and video renders of both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL can be found on a site called My Smart Price. I've no idea why, either.

    Steve was pretty spot-on with renders of the 2nd-gen Pixels that were making the rounds this time last year; these new renders are also based on factory designs, so there's good reason to believe that they're similarly legit. Those in the market for a new Pixel this year will be pleased to see that the dual front-firing speakers on both models make a return appearance, along with what looks like dual-lens selfie cams. The differences? The Pixel 3 XL will have a 6.2 inch 19:9 display with notch, while the Pixel 3 will have a 5.4 inch 18:9 display and will be notch-free.

    I'm not embedding the video renders here only because they pale in comparison to the stunning high-resolution images. Check 'em out at the first link below!

    Source: My Smart Price News via @OnLeaks on Twitter

    by Published on 06-26-2018 06:44 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    If you hadn't yet heard, the 9th edition of the original phablet is to be announced at an event in New York City on August 9th, and shipping a few weeks after that. Droid Life has apparently found the device's listing at the FCC, with the model number SMN960F.

    The 'F' in SMN960F likely indicates an international version, so there's no need to panic if you don't see your LTE band in the screen grab above.

    Aside from the expected processor upgrades and the almost certain inclusion of a variable aperture camera system similar to the Galaxy S9, the Note 9 is rumoured to have a whopping 4,000mAh battery and an available version with 512GB of storage—but only for China and South Korea. There will be no display notch, but there will be a 3.5mm audio jack.

    Here's a render of the Note 9 from 91Mobiles and Onleaks. The lead graphic at the top of the post is from another reputable leaker on Twitter.

    Sources: 91Mobiles, Droid Life, @Universeice

    by Published on 06-21-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    If Mac Otakara is to be believed, this is Apple's iPhone lineup for 2018. And why should Mac Otakara be believed? Apparently that same site first broke the news that Apple was ditching the headphone jack on 2016's iPhone 7.

    What we're looking at here are dummy units—that is, 3D-printed shells designed using leaks from Apple's supply chain. An updated 5.8 inch iPhone X (centre) will be joined by a 6.4 inch Plus model (right) and a 6 inch budget model with larger bezels (left). We don't yet know what the nomenclature of the phones will be, but it does appear that Apple is going all-in on the notch.

    The dummy units were purchased from an unnamed seller on Alibaba. To give you a better idea of their size Mac Otakara also uploaded a video to YouTube:

    From the video you'll see that the budget iPhone has only a single camera lens assembly on the back. It will apparently have an LCD display as well, whereas the other two models with have an OLED panel like the current iPhone X. According to Forbes the budget iPhone will retail for $400 USD less than the supersized Plus model.

    Of course, we won't know anything for sure until September, but this leaker does have some credibility, for whatever that's worth.

    Source: Mac Otakara (Japanese) via Forbes

    by Published on 06-18-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Before anything else I need to make it perfectly clear that this is only a render. There has been no firm indication from Motorola that their iconic Razr, the impossibly-thin feature phone that conquered the world in the early 2000s, is making a comeback. All we have at the moment are unsubstantiated rumours.

    There is, however, some hard evidence that Moto is planning some sort of foldable smartphone.

    These illustrations, courtesy of the Dutch site Let's Go Digital, are from a filing submitted by Motorola to the World Intellectual Property Organization, clearly showing a device with a flexible hinge and display. Unfortunately that display bends along the device's vertical, rather than horizontal, axis. What difference does that make? Back to the render we go!

    Again, this is only one fan's flight of fancy, and in no way represents any confirmed hardware designs from Motorola. But hey, we can still dream, right?

    Sources: Let's Go Digital (Dutch), T3

    by Published on 06-15-2018 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps

    Rebble.io, the small outfit with the lofty goal of replacing Pebble web services with their own, are taking names—literally. In a blog post yesterday they announced that accounts can now be created using an existing sign-in from either Facebook, GitHub, Google or Twitter.

    It's important that interested users do this sooner rather than later, and take the additional step of connecting their existing Pebble account to Rebble. This will ensure that your Pebble data will be imported before the servers shut down on June 30th. Registering will also help the Rebble team gauge just how many Pebblers they'll be providing service to.

    I myself am interested in Rebble for two critical Pebble features: voice replies and weather data. Those features may or may not be ready when the Pebble servers go dark and Rebble lights up. I'm certainly willing to give them a chance; my Amazfit Bip is currently taking a break while I'm getting reacquainted with Pebble, and its music (and podcast) controls plus the critical features mentioned above make it a better smartwatch than the Bip.

    Source: Rebble Blog

    by Published on 06-11-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    If you're not a fan of dongles, subpar Bluetooth audio or user-hostile design choices then you might appreciate this rather exhaustive list of currently available smartphones with onboard 3.5mm audio jacks. Put together by The Verge, it includes 41 Android devices and a single iPhone. For your reference, here's a condensed version of the list:


    ASUS ZenFone 5z
    LG G7
    OnePlus 6
    Samsung Galaxy Note 8 / Galaxy S9 / Galaxy S9+
    Vivo V9


    HTC Desire 12+
    Honor View 10
    iPhone SE
    MEIZU 15 / 15 LITE / 15 PLUS / E3
    Moto G4 / G5 Plus / G5S / G6 / G6 Play / X4
    Sony Xperia L2 / XA2 / XA2 Ultra
    Vivo X21 / Y71


    Alcatel 1X / 3V
    ASUS ZenFone Max Plus
    LG K20 / Stylo 3
    Moto E4 / E4 Plus / E5 Play / E5 Plus
    Samsung A6 / Galaxy J7 V
    Sonim XP8

    The Verge has pledged to update the list as (hopefully) more headphone jack-enabled phones come to market. If there's anything missing, feel free to add it below...

    Source: The Verge

    by Published on 06-07-2018 10:19 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview

    Until recently, my wife and I used Bluetooth speakers when we wanted to listen to music at home. I figured Bluetooth speakers were the most flexible solution. After all, pretty much every phone, tablet and computer sold in the last 10 years has it. Bluetooth support is also built right into Android/iOS/Windows so you don’t need any special software to use it. There are also many, many different Bluetooth compatible speakers available at all price points.

    by Published on 05-31-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Xiaomi announced a whack of new products yesterday, and here's the pick of the litter. Say hello to the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, featuring a see-through back, in-display fingerprint sensor, 3D face scanner and (unfortunately) a display notch. About the only thing missing is a 3.5 mm audio jack, but Xiaomi will at least include a USB-C to audio adapter in the box. Other specs are as follows:

    6.21 inch 1080 x 2248 pixel AMOLED display @ 402 ppi
    Snapdragon 845 processor
    8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage
    12 MP OIS + 12 MP 2x telephoto rear cameras
    20 MP selfie cam
    3,000 mAh battery
    Dual nano SIM (no microSD)
    MIUI 10 / Android 8.1

    The unlocked price for this beast is expected to be the equivalent of around $580 USD. Whether or not the Mi 8 will support North American LTE bands has yet to be confirmed. And here's the really bad news: this Explorer Edition will only see a limited production run, so it's going to be especially hard to find.

    Sources: Engadget, GSM Arena

    by Published on 05-30-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    A student a the University of Guelph has been fined $400 CAD for distracted driving, with the presiding judge ruling that an Apple Watch qualifies as a handheld device.

    The student was stopped at a red light when a campus police officer pulled up beside her. The officer saw her head facing downwards and a glow from an electronic device lighting up her face. She failed to proceed when the traffic light turned green and was charged on the spot with driving while holding a handheld communication device, prohibited under the Province of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act.

    After the case was heard in court the justice wrote the following in his ruling:

    “Despite the Apple Watch being smaller than a cellular phone, on the evidence it is a communication device capable of receiving and transmitting electronic data. While attached to the defendant’s wrist it is no less a source of distraction than a cell phone taped to someone’s wrist. It requires the driver to change their body position and operate it by touch.”
    The student pleaded that she was only checking the time—which she's either really bad at or is lying about altogether. The only thing I can say in her defence is that checking the time on a smartwatch would indeed be easier if that smartwatch had an always-on display.

    Source: Guelph Today

    by Published on 05-29-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    The only thing I can say with any confidence about this photo is that the timing seems right. Google's third pair of Pixel phones will almost certainly be announced this fall, and it would make sense that their design would be more or less finalized at this point. But the source of this alleged leak? Well, that's another matter altogether. It's literally some random Weibo account (crossposted to Slashleaks) and purports to show the tempered glass screen protectors for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

    If the photos and what's in them are legit, they give us a pretty good idea of what the new Pixels will look like, at least from the front: the smaller Pixel 3 will have a 2:1 screen ratio for the first time and the Pixel 3 XL will have a notch—entirely expected given that notch support will be native to Android P. The top and bottom cutouts would also suggest front-facing stereo speakers for both devices, and perhaps dual selfie cams as well.

    Looking back at last year's Pixel 2s it wasn't until June that we even found out what the codenames were. So this "leak" may in fact be a lie.

    Source: Slashleaks via Android Central

    by Published on 05-25-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    If you're a fan of Android and software freedom I've got some bad news for you this morning.

    The first is that Essential has apparently cancelled their second-generation smartphone. Bloomberg broke the story yesterday afternoon, going so far as to say that the entire company might soon be up for sale. CEO (and father of Android) Andy Rubin quickly took to Twitter for damage control:

    I can't say that I was a fan of the Essential phone—I had a brief hands-on at a Telus-sponsored event last August—but I certainly appreciated its unlockable bootloader. Whatever Essential's future plans may be, for the moment they don't seem to include modder-friendly phones.

    Speaking of unlockable bootloaders, here's some more bad news from Twitter:

    If you weren't aware, Mr. O'Brien is a UK-based Android developer responsible for the once-popular MoDaCo ROM. Sadly, his news is true: one of the world's top 3 smartphone OEMs will no longer give its users the keys to take control of their devices.

    And the war on general-purpose computing continues...

    Sources: Bloomberg, Twitter (1) (2)

    by Published on 05-24-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    For Moto fans, the wait is over. Kinda.

    First leaked back in January, the G6 family—that is, the G6, G6 Play and G6 Plus—were finally made official last month. But no one in North America has been able to buy one. Until today.

    The G6 is now available from Verizon, for $240 USD or $10/month.
    The G6 Play is now available from Boost Mobile, for $129.99 USD.

    As for other U.S. carriers, the G6 is coming soon to Tracfone, while the G6 Play will eventually be offered by AT&T, Cricket and Virgin Mobile—the Cricket version will be re-branded the G6 Forge for some reason. Ting and Republic Wireless will carry both the G6 and G6 Play, as will the usual big box electronics retailers that sell unlocked phones. Apparently Walmart will only carry the G6 Play.

    In Canada a carrier-branded G6 will only be available from Vidéotron, but you'll be able to score a G6 Play from Bell, Freedom Mobile, SaskTel, Virgin Mobile and Vidéotron as well. Unlocked Moto devices have traditionally been harder to find in this country, but come 2020 I'm sure there will be some refurbs available at your local Staples.

    Happy hunting!

    Sources: Android Central, Android Police

    by Published on 05-18-2018 06:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    HTC has a new flagship on the way, and thanks to master leaker Evan Blass we've got an early look. The trio of images above are apparently official press renders, which Blass tweeted yesterday along with a three-page spec sheet. Some highlights:

    6 inch 18:9 2880 x 1440 pixel LCD display
    Snapdragon 845 Processor
    6 GB RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage + microSD
    12 MP wide angle + 16 MP telephoto OIS rear cameras
    Dual 8 MP selfie cams
    3,500 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC Sense
    HTC Edge Sense 2 (squeezable frame)

    The leaked documents indicate that the device will be made official next Wednesday, May 23rd, so HTC fans won't have long to wait!

    Source: @evleaks via GSM Arena

    by Published on 05-17-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    The OnePlus 6 was officially revealed yesterday. There's a video from Michael Fisher—aka Mr. Mobile—in yesterday's news round-up, along with some other links. Basically we're looking at an incremental upgrade from late 2017's OnePlus 5T. Major specs are as follows:

    Snapdragon 845 processor
    6.28 AMOLED display (with notch)
    6 or 8 GB of RAM / 64, 128 or 256 GB of storage
    16 MP OIS and 20 MP rear cameras
    16 MP selfie cam with EIS
    3,300 mAh battery with Dash Charge
    3.5 mm audio jack (!)
    OxygenOS (Android Oreo 8.1)
    Colours: Midnight Black, Mirror Black and Silk White
    Starting Price: $529 USD / $699 CAD

    Now if you'll indulge this current OnePlus user for a few moments, I'd like to offer my perspective on the latest from Carl Pei and company.

    The Price

    I certainly agree with Michael Fisher that OnePlus isn't the bargain that it used to be. Here in Canada a fully-loaded 6 will set you back a whopping $839 CAD, perilously close to the current $899 sticker price of a Pixel 2 from Google. You lose the tall screen and headphone jack, but you gain what everybody seems to agree is the best smartphone camera currently on the market.

    I think a better comparison would be against the iPhone X. With a similar 256 GB of storage one of those would set you back an egregious $1,529 CAD, making the OnePlus 6 seem a bit more reasonable.

    The Notch

    2018's biggest fad will be yesterday's news as soon as OEMs figure out how to put fingerprint sensors underneath their displays. Had OnePlus gone the route of Samsung the 6 would age far more gracefully, I think, but at least its notch can be hidden with a software toggle. I'm not sure how well that's going to work, but given the AMOLED screen at least the pixels won't be lit.

    The Camera

    The return of optical image stabilization is most welcome, but what's up with that other lens on the back? Carl Pei barely mentioned it in his presentation, and I can't help but think there would have been significant cost savings with one decent camera rather than two mediocre ones.

    Should You Upgrade?

    At this point I think the smartphone market has matured enough that everyone has found an OEM to call their own. If you're on Team Samsung or Team Pixel then OnePlus has really only its low cost of entry to lure you away. If, however, you're thinking of upgrading from an earlier OnePlus phone I believe I can offer some advice...

    I'm currently using a 5T and don't see enough reasons to upgrade. If the 6's glass back supported fast wireless charging it might be a different story, but I'm perfectly happy with my current phone. But if you're coming from a OnePlus 5 or below then I'd say the 6 is a worthy upgrade—it's tall screen, especially with gesture navigation enabled, makes any 16:9 smartphone seem ancient by comparison.

    ... Or you could just hold out another six months for the inevitable OnePlus 6T

    Here are the OnePlus 6 online stores for Canada and the USA.

    by Published on 05-15-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips

    Here's a deal you don't see every day: if you're in the market for a new high-powered Android device, LG Canada is offering a free 43 inch 4K Smart TV if you pre-order their new G7 between May 18th and May 31st.

    A quick reminder about the G7: LG's 2018 flagship features a dedicated Google Assistant button, a speaker that uses the phone's innards as a resonance chamber, a rare second wide-angle camera lens and also a display notch. I don't know anything about the TV, but what do you care? It's free.

    A few caveats about this deal: In North America LG sells its smartphones only through carriers, not directly to consumers. So you'll have to purchase your G7, possibly with a service commitment, from either Bell, Bell MTS, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Fido, Freedom Mobile, Koodo Mobile, Mobile Shop, Rogers, SaskTel, T-Booth Wireless, Telus, Virgin Mobile, Visions Electronics, Walmart, Wireless Etc, Wireless Wave or WOW! Mobile.

    The other thing you should probably know is that, despite being the OEM behind the legendary Nexus 5, more recent LG devices have been known to experience boot-loop issues. Not every device, but enough of them to be a concern.

    Let us know if you grab this deal!

    Source: LG Canada Promotions via r/Android

    by Published on 05-10-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    The OnePlus 6 is set to be unveiled in London next week, but thanks to a tweet (since deleted) by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, here's an early look at two variants of the phone. That's Bachchan on the right, and OnePlus CEO Pete Lau on the left.

    With it's vertically-oriented dual-camera assembly and elliptical fingerprint reader it seems like OnePlus is now drawing design inspiration from Samsung as well as Apple. I wouldn't call that a bad thing.

    Confirmed features and specs for the OnePlus 6 are as follows:

    The latest and greatest Snapdragon processor (845);
    a me-too display notch (hidable via software);
    water resistance;
    3.5 mm audio jack;
    2018's camera gimmick, super-slow-motion video.

    Super-slo-mo video, already seen on Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Sony's Xperia XZ1, is made possible by the Snapdragon 845—which, according to XDA, supports slow motion HEVC video encoding at either 480fps (720p) or 240fps (1080p). This and some sort of water resistance were teased in separate tweets by OnePlus.

    Not yet confirmed is support for wireless charging, but it would certainly make sense. There's the glass back you can see on Mr. Bachchan's device above, and also the resurgence of Qi charging thanks to the latest iPhones.

    One thing is for certain: all will be revealed when the OnePlus 6 is made official at 5pm BST next Wednesday.

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 05-07-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    Looks like Fossil is having a big sale on its Q-branded hybrid and Wear OS smartwatches this week. Android Police reports prices as low as $150 USD for the touchscreen models, while Fossil itself is advertising a starting price of $199. Canadians can benefit from this sale as well; I'm currently seeing discounted prices on both Amazon and Best Buy Canada.

    If you're confused by all the available options you're not alone. Maybe this will help: The watches powered by Wear OS can be distilled into three product lines—Q Explorist has three buttons, Q Venture has one button and Q Control seems to be a rebranded Misfit Vapor. Probably the best thing about these third-generation Android-powered wearables is that their displays no longer have the flat tire that plagued the early years of Android Wear.

    Fossil's hybrid smartwatches are much more varied, which makes sense given their more traditional timekeeping movements. If it's this type of watch that you're interested in then you can just find a size and watch face that you like and leave it at that. Happy shopping!

    Source: Fossil via Android Police

    by Published on 05-03-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Not 100% sure on this but I think—rather, I thinq—that the additional branding speaks to the phone's compatibility with LG's growing catalog of smart appliances. Still a terrible name, though.

    The new G7 does have a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve, however. Its derivative notch (LG calls it their "new second screen") can be hidden via software, or made to stand out even more with user-selectable custom backgrounds. Perhaps a more practical trick is that the phone uses its internal cavity as a speaker chamber, producing louder audio with bass that will apparently rumble in your hands. LG calls this Boombox Speaker—not speakers, because there's only one.

    Some additional specs:

    6.1 inch 3120 x 1440 pixel (QHD+) LCD display
    18:9 aspect ratio; 19.5:9 with notch
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Processor
    4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage + microSD
    16 MP OIS + 16 MP super wide angle rear cameras
    8 MP wide angle selfie cam
    Quad DAC with 32 bit HiFi audio
    3.5 mm headphone jack (!)
    3,000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
    Android 8.0 Oreo
    Colours: Platinum Grey, Aurora Black

    The G7 will be available in Korea Mid-May, and sometime in June for the U.S. and Canada. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.

    Sources: LG Canada, Mobile Syrup, TechRadar

    by Published on 05-02-2018 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    My girlfriend brought home this little souvenir from our recent trip to Copenhagen, a SKAGEN Mini Hald Hybrid in rose gold. I'd love to crack open the box to give you a better look, but it's not mine so I'm not allowed.

    We bought it at the SKAGEN Store in Copenhagen, a little boutique on a busy shopping street. Except for the branding it could easily be mistaken for a Fossil store in your local mall—which only makes sense, as SKAGEN is owned by Fossil Group. Pro tip: you don't actually pronounce SKAGEN skah-ghen, but rather, skay-en. The brand gets its name from the northernmost town in Denmark. The more you know...

    Anyway, what immediately struck me as unusual about this particular wearable was how thick it is. It's powered by a regular watch battery (CR2025) so it must have a fairly substantial vibration motor on board. The watch connects to your Apple or Android device with the same app I used for the SKAGEN Falster. That Wear OS device, by the way, had its own dedicated display, front and centre in the shop. I asked the person helping us how it was selling; he confided with me that hybrids were more popular with their customers.

    And yet the new hybrid watch owner in our house hasn't even broken the seal on the box. Apparently she is saving it for a special occasion; in the meantime her Pebble Time Round gets the job done. That's my girl!

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