• Devices

    by Published on 09-12-2018 02:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Apple's September keynote for 2018 has just wrapped up. Here's a quick rundown of notable announcements. Check tomorrow morning's news briefing for additional reactions from the wider tech press.

    Apple Watch Series 4

    30% larger screen
    thinner - 40mm vs 44mm
    new complications, faces
    improved digital crown and speaker
    back is now ceramic & sapphire
    new s4 chip - dual-core 64-bit
    fall detection - fall, trip and slip
    automatic sos call if inactive for 1 min
    new electrocardiogram sensor & app
    same 18-hour (all day?) battery life
    new finishes - stainless, gold stainless
    nike, hermes editions
    $399 usd for gps / $499 usd for cellular
    watchOS 5 available on september 17th

    iPhone - XS, XS Max, XR

    xs: 5.8 inch oled @ 458 ppi
    xs max: 6.5 inch oled @ 458 ppi
    gold, silver, space grey
    faster faceid
    new a12 bionic chip - 7nm
    6-core cpu, 4-core gpu, neural engine
    512gb storage option
    cameras: 12mp wide + 12mp tele
    improved true tone flash
    true depth selfie cam
    improved signal processing, smart hdr
    depth of field controls after capture
    stereo sound capture with video
    longer battery life, gigabit lte
    dual sim for china only (not india...?)
    sim + esim everywhere else (b/c carriers)
    more eco-friendly component materials
    apple giveback: will buy back old devices
    xr: 6.1 inch lcd "liquid retina" lcd @ 326 ppi
    a12 bionic, faceid
    no 3d touch; haptic touch instead
    white, black, blue, coral, yellow, red
    single 12mp wide-angle rear camera
    portrait mode from software
    true depth selfie cam
    longer battery life than 8 plus
    xr: 64 / 128 / 256gb, starts at $749 usd
    pre-order oct. 19th, ships oct. 26th
    xs: 64 / 256 / 512gb, starts at $999 usd
    xs max: 64 / 256 / 512gb, starts at $1099 usd
    pre-order this friday, ships next friday

    Props to The Verge's live blog for helping me double-check the specs!

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    by Published on 09-11-2018 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    CNET has, somewhat suspiciously, managed to scoop every other tech blog with this, an alleged standby screen from the forthcoming OnePlus 6T. They're not saying how they got it, which leads yours truly to suspect that this "leak" is actually the latest guerrilla marketing move by Carl Pei and co.

    There's the icon indicating the presence of an in-display fingerprint scanner—which we already know from last week's box leak—but also the unusually specific time and date above that. Could it be that the official unveiling of the 6T will take place at 11am on Wednesday, October 17th? Well, duh...

    Source: CNET

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    by Published on 08-22-2018 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    It's the Jay Leno of phones!

    Some Russian dude has posted photos of—and also photos taken with—the forthcoming Pixel 3 XL from Google. I get the mandate for front-firing stereo speakers but damn, that bottom bezel... Fortunately, there will also be a smaller Pixel 3 for the chin and notch-averse.



    In a second blog post the same person uploaded a gallery of photos taken with the as-yet unreleased phone. They all look fantastic, particularly the subtle HDR effect on shots taken at dusk like the one above.

    But Ivan wasn't done yet (his name's actually not Ivan); he then proceeded to tweet a video demonstrating how the Pixel 3 XL supports wireless charging.

    Google's third-generation Pixels are expected to be announced in early October. At the rate we're going, expect a lot more leaks before then.

    Source: Максим Хорошев (1) (2) (3)

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    by Published on 08-20-2018 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    If XDA got this right, you're looking at what's going to be the next volley in the escalating arms race on smartphone cameras (or at least lenses). Expected to be made official in the next two to three months, the Huawei Mate 20—codenamed "Hima"—will apparently ship with no less than three cameras on board, just like the already-available P20 Pro. Based on leaked firmware files, notable specs are as follows:

    6.3 inch AMOLED display @ 1080 x 2244 pixels
    HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor
    Triple rear camera system
    At least 6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage
    3.5 mm headphone jack / stereo speakers
    4,200 mAh battery with wireless charging
    Android 9 Pie with EMUI

    As yet there are no specifics on the Mate 10's tri-camera setup, but there's every reason to believe that it would be similar to what's on the P20—that is:

    40 megapixel RGB sensor with OIS
    20 megapixel monochrome sensor with OIS
    8 megapixel telephoto sensor with OIS

    Unfortunately the Mate 10 will also almost certainly ship with an unlockable bootloader, as per Huawei's new policy. If you're still interested, there are more details and renders at the link directly below.

    Source: XDA

    ---------
    by Published on 08-17-2018 03:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    This was certainly unexpected... CNET is not only confirming the existence of the second OnePlus phone to be released this year, but also its first U.S. carrier partner:

    T-Mobile's version of the OnePlus 6T will be optimized for the carrier's network, including the new 600 megahertz band of spectrum being rolled out that promises better and faster coverage.
    To be clear, OnePlus will still sell the 6T without any carrier locks on their online store—come October, however, you'll be able to get one from your local T-Mobile USA shop as well.

    I'll be very interested in finding out whether or not this Tmo-branded 6T will support dual SIM cards. There is ample evidence on these forums of my unfailing belief that no North American carrier will ever sell a dual-SIM phone—for the simple reason that it makes the option for competing service easily available to the customer. Yet one of the core features of a OnePlus phone is support for dual-SIMs. Without it, it would still be a great phone, but with it, and sold by T-Mobile store, well... I guess I'd have to go find a hat to eat.

    Source: CNET

    ---------
    by Published on 08-13-2018 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    For those who can remember way back to the fall of 2016, OnePlus saw a literal hole in the market, created by exploding Samsung Note 7 batteries. They decided to put some new internals into their already popular OnePlus 3 and release a mid-season refresh called the OnePlus 3T. Then, last year, they upped the ante a bit with the OnePlus 5T—not only did it run on a newer processor but had a brand-new 18:9 screen as well.

    So here we are in mid-2018 already talking about the successor to a high-end phone that's barely two months old. I tells ya, this business is nuts...

    Anyway, the news: Android Authority reports that Oppo has just announced the R17, shown in the image above. It features an in-display fingerprint reader and, perhaps more importantly, an acceptably-small display notch. Why is this important? Because one, Oppo and OnePlus share the same parent company (BBK Electronics) and two, previous Oppo phones—the R11, R11s and R15—have designs virtually identical to the OnePlus 5, 5T and 6. Google those Oppos if you don't believe me.

    I don't think the fingerprint reader is going to make it over to the 6T, and that's not necessarily a bad thing; it likely wouldn't be as lighting-quick as what OnePlus users currently enjoy. But if that smaller notch shows up on the 6T then my patience in holding out for it will have been justified.

    Oh, and fast wireless charging would also be acceptable.

    Sources: Android Authority, Deccan Chronicle

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    by Published on 08-10-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    If you thought that every Google Play-enabled Android phone and tablet could play YouTube videos you're not wrong; in a move that reeks of a pointless branding exercise Google has decided to publish a shortlist of recommended "signature devices" for their video-streaming service.

    Here's their criteria for making the list:

    These smartphones can deliver the best-in-class YouTube experience by combining next generation technologies, video performance, and reliability. With a Signature Device, you can enjoy vivid HDR videos, immersive 360° video, and fast video load times—all while using less bandwidth.

    To qualify as a Signature Device, a phone must support high dynamic range, high frame rate, reliable DRM performance, 4K decoding, and use next generation video codecs. We’ve worked with manufacturers to verify these devices meet or exceed our performance expectations.
    And here are the 19 anointed "signature" devices:

    Google Pixel 2
    Google Pixel 2 XL
    Huawei Mate 10 Pro
    HTC U12+
    LG G7 ThinQ
    LG V30
    Nokia 8 Sirroco
    OnePlus 6
    Samsung Galaxy Note8
    Samsung Galaxy Note9
    Samsung Galaxy S8
    Samsung Galaxy S8+
    Samsung Galaxy S9
    Samsung Galaxy S9+
    Sony Xperia XZ2
    Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium
    Xiaomi Mi 8
    Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

    If you own an Android device that's not on this list—or any iPhone, for that matter—you can go ahead and throw it in the garbage now. That, or switch to Vimeo.

    Source: YouTube Device Report via The Verge

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    by Published on 08-09-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Way back in the long long ago my trusty sidearm was a Handspring Treo 270, a forebear to the circa-2003 Palm Treo 600 that you're seeing above. We smartphone users take such things for granted now, but back then having a PDA, mobile phone and Internet connection in a single device was nothing short of amazing. My Treo didn't even have a camera.

    That was, of course, some sixteen years ago—ancient history by mobile tech standards. So it's with some bewilderment that I report to you today on a 2018 Palm-branded device which has just stopped by the FCC and WiFi Alliance.

    The Palm PVG100 was spotted by Android Police this week. PVG apparently stands for Palm Ventures Group; it turns out that TCL, which acquired BlackBerry's handset business in 2016, owns the rights to another storied PDA phone brand as well. And as BlackBerry has migrated to Android this new Palm device will likewise be powered by the world's dominant OS.

    If TCL is really going for the whole nostalgia experience here I'd be very interested in seeing what kind of skin this thing ships with.

    Source: Android Police

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    by Published on 08-08-2018 01:01 PM
    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. 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.

    Still, Bluetooth isn’t a perfect solution. I won’t cover all of them here, but for us the 3 biggest shortcomings are the range, support for multiple users or lack thereof, and the fact that the Bluetooth speaker will playback everything that’s playing on your phone including alerts.

    In terms of range, our phones will only stream reliably while we’re in the same room. This is inconvenient if we need to leave the room temporarily with our phone.

    However, the bigger problem is the lack of multiple users. When you turn a Bluetooth speaker on, it usually tries to connect to the last device that was using it. This is fine if I’m the only person trying to use the speaker. However, what happens when I’m around and my wife wants to use it? Switching users can be a hassle.

    Then there’s the fact that Bluetooth speakers playback alerts from your phone. It can get quite irritating when you get a bunch of alerts during your favorite song.

    With these problems in mind we figured we’d try out a Sonos. Sonos has been around for a while, so they have a fairly mature lineup of speakers. I’ve actually wanted to try one for a while but various issues with them me from trying it. ...
    by Published on 07-31-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Over the weekend Digital Trends published their findings from tests on the battery life of five high-powered Android devices, plus the iPhone X. The tests included extended sessions with the following activities:

    Facebook
    Gaming
    Google Maps
    Instagram Explore
    SoundCloud
    Video recording
    YouTube

    And here are the results:

    1st place: Huawei P20 Pro (4,000 mAh)
    2nd place: OnePlus 6 (3,300 mAh)
    3rd place: Galaxy S9 Plus (3,500 mAh)
    4th place: iPhone X (2,716 mAh)
    5th place: Pixel 2 XL (3,520 mAh)
    6th place: LG G7 (3,000 mAh)

    With the largest battery of the bunch, it's no surprise that the Huawei P20 Pro lasted the longest. But it's interesting that the OnePlus 6 outlasted the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Pixel 2 XL, which itself was beat by the relatively tiny battery in the iPhone X.

    For more on the testing methodology, and also a video summary, see the link immediately below.

    Source: Digital Trends

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



    XDA Forums member dr.guru says:

    I present you some pictures of the pixel 3 xl in white, taken by me. Unfortunately the phone doesn't boot because it was remotely erased by google.


    Despite all the redacted info Android Police deems the photos to be legit, and that this is indeed an engineering prototype Pixel 3 XL in Clearly White. The display notch, signature front-firing speakers and dual selfie cams are consistent with what we've already seen—that is, the leaked CAD renders and screen protectors posted here previously.

    The Pixel 3 XL's code name is apparently "crosshatch", and the variant shown in these photos is the SKU with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Additional photos of the leaked device are available through the links immediately below.

    Source: XDA via Android Police

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    by Published on 07-27-2018 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    If you've ever wondered how Google employees protect their online security (and yours), it's with these in-house hardware security keys—USB for desktop and laptop computers and Bluetooth, which can additionally be used with Android devices. Google has branded this pair of products "Titan" and, as CNET reports, will soon be selling them in their online store for $25 USD each or $50 for both.

    It's the Bluetooth key in particular that seems a bit contentious. On the one hand you've got security key competitor Yubico, already throwing shade:

    While Yubico previously initiated development of a BLE security key, and contributed to the BLE U2F standards work, we decided not to launch the product as it does not meet our standards for security, usability and durability. BLE does not provide the security assurance levels of NFC and USB, and requires batteries and pairing that offer a poor user experience.
    And on the other you've got CNET itself, which wonders why multi-factor-authentication via Bluetooth can't just be embedded into a Wear OS device.

    There will inevitably be some compromise between safety and security. I can't imagine a world where smartphone users have hardware keys dangling from their USB or Lightning ports, so I guess Bluetooth is better than nothing.

    Source: CNET (1) (2), Yubico

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    by Published on 07-26-2018 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    While Fitbit repurposes old stock for children, Xiaomi has gone in the other direction, releasing the rather bonkers Mi Bunny 3. For CNY 599, the equivalent of about $90 USD, here's what you get:

    1.41 inch 320 x 360 pixel AMOLED display, Gorilla Glass 2.5D
    2 megapixel camera with HD video capture
    Nano SIM slot with LTE support
    GPS / A-GPS
    IPX7 water resistance
    Blue or pink band, 140-220 mm

    Battery capacity is not known, but should last up to 30 hours between charges, similar to a typical Wear OS device. You can also get up to 11 hours of service from just a 10-minute charge. That service includes standalone voice and (I think) video calling; when paired to a smartphone, an app can be used with the watch's camera to identify plants and other real-world objects.

    All this comes with the requisite kid-tracking ability, at least until the kid takes off the watch and leaves it somewhere. Given everything that this particular watch can do, I somehow don't think that's going to be a concern.

    Source: Xiaomi via GSM Arena, Wareable

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    by Published on 07-25-2018 07:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    In case you missed this in yesterday's news round-up, Evan Blass has leaked no less than three press images of the next Note on Twitter. And here they are:







    Note that the fingerprint sensor is in a more sensible spot, directly below the camera assembly instead of within it, as on the current Note 8.

    Other details about Samsung's forthcoming phablet remain elusive. It will almost certainly have a 3.5 mm audio jack, will probably have a variable-aperture lens on at least one of its cameras, and there might be a SKU with 512 MB of RAM and a 4,000 mAh battery. We'll know for sure when the Note 9 is officially unveiled on August 9th.

    Source: @evleaks via Android Police

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    by Published on 07-24-2018 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Bloomberg dug through the latest report from Ookla and came up with an interesting conclusion, that high-end Android handsets enjoy faster download speeds than the latest iPhones from Apple. There isn't a huge difference in numbers, but in this age of the $1,000 USD smartphone it's certainly something to consider.

    Here are the ranked average download speeds for current flagship devices across the USA:

    Samsung Galaxy S9 - 38.9 Mbps
    Samsung Galaxy S9+ - 38.4 Mbps
    Google Pixel 2 - 34.4 Mbps
    Google Pixel 2 XL - 33.9 Mbps
    iPhone X - 29.7 Mbps
    iPhone 8 Plus - 29.4 Mbps
    iPhone 8 - 28.6 Mbps

    It's especially interesting that the data comes from Ookla and their Speedtest app. Unlike OpenSignal, which uses a content distribution network (CDN) to indicate typical network speeds, Ookla uses servers as close as possible to the end user, and is thus more likely to skew network numbers towards their very best.

    Another factor which might be affecting the results is sample size. Bloomberg admits to a disparity in the test pools between Apple and Samsung—over six hundred thousand samples from the iPhone X were collected, compared to less than two hundred thousand tests each for the two variants of the Galaxy S9.

    Source: Bloomberg via iPhone in Canada

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    by Published on 07-18-2018 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    Blancco Technology Group, apparent specialists in mobile device diagnostics, have released a report naming and shaming the least reliable smartphones and smartphone brands. The report includes both Android and Apple devices, and all results are based on data collected during the last quarter of 2017.

    Top 10 Android Models by Failure Rate

    Xiaomi Redmi 4 (9%)
    Moto G5 Plus (6%)
    Lenovo K8 Note (5%)
    Nokia 6 (4%)
    Samsung Galaxy S7 (3%)
    Samsung Galaxy S8+ (3%)
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Active (3%)
    Xiaomi Redmi Y1 (2%)
    Samsung Galaxy S6 (2%)
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (2%)

    Top 10 Android OEMs by Failure Rate

    Samsung (34%)
    Xiaomi (13%)
    Motorola (9%)
    LG (7%)
    Lenovo (6%)
    InFocus (4%)
    Nokia (4%)
    Huawei (4%)
    OnePlus (3%)
    ZTE (2%)

    Keep in mind that the top two offenders also have the lion's share of the global Android market.

    Top 5 Android Issues Worldwide

    Performance (27%)
    Camera (5%)
    Microphone (4%)
    Headset (4%)
    Speaker (3%)

    Top 10 iPhone Models by Failure Rate

    iPhone 6 (26%)
    iPhone 6S (14%)
    iPhone 6S Plus (9%)
    iPhone 7 Plus (9%)
    iPhone 6 Plus (9%)
    iPhone 7 (8%)
    iPhone 5s (6%)
    iPhone SE (6%)
    iPhone 8 Plus (2%)
    iPhone 5 (2%)

    It's unclear from the report whether Apple's failure rates are compared against just other iPhones, or all devices tested.

    Top 5 iOS Issues Worldwide

    Bluetooth (3%)
    WiFi (3%)
    Headset (2%)
    Mobile Data (2%)
    Reception (1%)

    Failure Rates by Market

    Asia
    Apple (26%)
    Android (21%)

    Europe
    Android (40%)
    Apple (36%)

    North America
    Apple (12%)
    Android (9%)

    Feel free to add your own anecdotal observations below!

    Source: Blancco PDF via TechSpot

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    by Published on 07-17-2018 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. How-To



    In honour of the continuing Prime Day festivities, Brad Linder of Liliputing has put together a helpful guide to making that cheap and cheerful Android-powered Amazon tablet a bit more useful. Take it away, Brad:

    In a nutshell you can root the Amazon Fire HD 10, but not the latest Fire HD 8 or Fire 7 models. But you can install the Google Play Store and/or alternate app launchers on any of Amazon’s current tablets.
    Further to that, the Fire HD 10 isn't actually available to Canada—so if, like me, you're a Canadian who wants a rooted Fire tablet I'm afraid you're out of luck. There's still some neat tricks you can pull on the HD 8 or 7 model, though... Brad posted a separate guide on how to get Google Play on the HD 8 (which also works on the HD 10); for the Fire 7 there's either a sketchy-looking Windows tool or a more straightforward collection of downloads from the reputable APKMirror, run by Android Police.

    As for the Fire HD 10 there are at least two known exploits tested by XDA. Unfortunately none of Amazon's tablets have unlockable bootloaders like the Nexus tablets of days gone by. Anyway, all the links you need are in the post directly below. Happy modding, and be careful!

    Source: Liliputing

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