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  1. No SmartPhone For Nearly A Year

    No SmartPhone For Nearly A YearA Elana Mugdan, a 29-year-old fiction writer from Queens, New York, has gone more than 8 months without a smartphone. Instead she uses an old-style Nokia flip-phone to send text messages or make phones. But that's all. No YouTube videos, Facebook feed or Instagramming for her. If she is still smartphone free in February 2020, she will win $100,000 from Vitaminwater, for her troubles.

    In December, Vitaminwater chose Mugdan from a pool of more than 100,000 applicants for their "Scroll Free for a Year" challenge. If she can go an entire year without using a smartphone or tablet, she gets the money....

    Nearly eight months into the challenge — and still going strong — Mugdan says it's been one of the best adventures of her life.
    "Getting away from the smartphone has been freeing, and it has opened my eyes and made me more aware of some of my other bad health habits." Mugdan told CNN.
    "Now I'm working on turning my life around, slowly but surely, day by day."
    You can read more of Mugdan's interview with CNN right here.
    We're interested in knowing what it would take for you to go an entire year without a smartphone. Could you even do it? Tell us in the Comments below.
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  2. Surface Neo with 18" of Foldable Screen!

    Surface Neo with 18" of Foldable Screen!From apparently out of nowhere Microsoft this week announced some really cool and unexpectedly new smartphone hardware: the Surface Neo and Surface Duo.

    Nobody was expecting Microsoft to drop these new phones, and they represent a big shift if smartphone tech for the company which has until now mostly played it safe.

    “This is industry-pushing technology, and it’s technology pushing possibilities,” said Panay while revealing the gadgets.

    The Surface Neo features a pair of 9-inch screens and a 360-degree hinge that allows you to fold it around completely or close it like a book. It’s sleek, silver, and looks like a shrunken Surface Book when closed. The hinge lets the Neo assume multiple positions, similar to other 360-degree laptops....

    ...The Surface Duo and Neo are both slated for release next year as Microsoft works with developers to create software for the devices. It’s too early to tell whether Microsoft’s adoption of Android for the upcoming Duo will end better than the company’s previous attempt with Windows Phone, but the adoption of Android could make the device more appealing to developers already familiar with the platform.


    Fortunately for us, Yahoo! has the scoop on the new devices in this fabulous article.

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  3. A+ Rating For iPhone 11 Pro Super Retina XDR display

    A+ Rating For iPhone 11 Pro Super Retina XDR displayFor those of you who are wondering just what's so special about the iPhone 11, how about the best display in the industry? Is that special enough for you?

    Apple had been crowing about these new displays because it's the result of years of engineering work to create an enhanced display in a smaller space that uses less energy. And it seems they may have achieved it.

    Apple touted that the iPhone 11 Pro features the best display it has ever produced, the Super Retina XDR display, that sets new records for smartphones. Now DisplayMate is out today with its highly detailed review and has given Apple’s Super Retina XDR its “highest ever A+ grade” and given it the “Best Smartphone Display Award.”

    The award for the iPhone 11 Pro comes after Apple won the same with its iPhone XS. This year, the display improvements coming with the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max include new brightness level records giving users up to 1,200 nits and more.

    There's a great story with lots of details in the complete article from 9to5Mac.

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  4. IPhone 11 - What iPhone 11?

    IPhone 11 - What iPhone 11?Just a week after Apple unveiled the most sought-after (By die-hard Apple Fans, at least) iPhone 11. The latest iteration of its iconic iPhone devices.

    The newest iPhone will ship later this month and come with levitating jets to lift users up in the sky when they are lost...or something. Essentially, the iPhone 11 appears to be little more than just a slightly improved iPhone X.

    The real news breaking this week (if the gossip mill is any judge) concern the latest Google Pixel (coming in October) and the latest Huawei Mate series smartphone coming just a day before Apple is scheduled to start shipping the iPhone 11.


    Here's what ArsTechnica had to say about the Pixel:

    Key features of the Pixel 4 include a 90Hz OLED display (just like the OnePlus 7 Pro), two rear cameras and a time-of-flight sensor (the first multi-rear camera setup for a Pixel phone), and a thick top bezel packed with sensors for things like face recognition (apparently the only supported form of biometrics) and air gestures. Air gestures—which requires you to wave your hand above the phone screen to control it—have been tried on phones before, usually with poor results. For the Pixel 4 though, Google is using a "Soli" radar sensor that it developed in house, which will hopefully make the feature more useful.


    Here's what BGR has to say about the latest Mate 30 phone:

    The Mate 20 Pro delivered a bunch of features that were not available on other Android devices last fall, including a 7nm chip that would only arrive on other Android handsets this year. The Mate 30 Pro will do something similar this year, packing a brand new Kirin 990 chip built on 7nm EUV tech just like the A13 Bionic that powers all three iPhone 11 phones. But the 990 comes in 4G and 5G versions, something that Apple can’t offer...But even so, the Mate 30 Pro will be more interesting, having a few advantages over Samsung’s best phone, including a more daring curved display design, 3D face recognition support, and an improved quad-lens rear camera.


    we're curious: Which smartphone are you most excited about? Tell us in the Comments below.

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  5. Pop-Up Cameras Are Back!

    Pop-Up Cameras Are Back!There have been rumors about pop-up cameras on smartphones for years, but thus far, nobody has done.

    But now Motorola appears ready to take plunge into the nostalgia-verse with a new smartphone design whose camera lens pop-ups from inside the body of the phone.

    GSM Arena grabbed the photos and wrote a nice article:

    One of the photos confirms that the smartphone will have a pop-up camera elevating from the right side of the top bezel. And the other image, showing off small bezels on the top and the sides, tells us that the smartphone will run Motorola's version of Android instead of stock Android.


    It's hard to know when the phone might be ready for release, or even what else it might offer aside from the pop-up camera, but there plenty of rumors. Suffice to say it is only a matter of time until Motorola takes the wrap off their new design and shows it off to the world!


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  6. Apple Event Next Week: What To Expect?

    Apple Event, Apple Watch, iPhone 11,We've heard the rumors--they've been circulating the chat rooms and forums and newsrooms for months--but although much has been said, nobody really knows what to expect at next week's annual Apple Event.

    A new iPhone? Seems likely. An update to iOS? Maybe. What about Apple watch--there's a possibility there, sure. And will we get new MacBooks?

    The answer is--nobody knows for sure except Tim Cook and a handful of Apple engineers and assorted employees, all sworn to secrecy.

    Good thing for those of us who "need to know right now" what's going to be announced next week, CNET has rounded up and sorted through all the rumors to give us a pretty decent idea what Apple might announce on September 10.

    Apple is expected to launch three new iPhone models in 2019, similar to last year's lineup. This year's iPhone XS, XS Max sequels are rumored to be called the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, adding yet another element to Apple's already complicated naming scheme. The cheaper iPhone XR sequel, on the other hand, is set to be called the iPhone 11, with no additional letters, numbers or Roman numerals.

    In terms of design, the three phones will apparently look almost identical to the 2018 lineup, at least from the front. The 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are said to have 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED screens, while the 11 will have a 6.1-inch LCD screen with the same size notch at the top on all three models. Many of Apple's competitors, including Samsung, have eliminated the notch.


    But CNET doesn't stop with iPhone possibilities. Their story also includes the most-likely-to-be-true rumors about the Apple Watch, iPads, AirPods, MacBook Pro and Apple TV.

    Check out the full CNET story here.


    Which new Apple product update has you most excited? Tell us the Comment section below!

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  7. Keep Your Smartphone Battery In Good Health

    Keep Your Smartphone Battery In Good HealthToday's smartphones do a whole lot more than make calls. Texts, email, social media, apps, smarthome control -- there seems to be no end to what your smartphone can do, provided it has enough charge to last.

    There have been repeated warnings from smartphone manufacturers about the dangers of charging your smartphone for too long. But did you know letting it run down to zero is also not the best idea? Wireless charging versus traditional plugged-in charging: is one worse or better than the other? Meanwhile manufacturers are offering software updates that promise to increase battery life. But do they work?

    Up, down and around and around. Smartphone battery care can be almost as confusing as the smartphone itself.

    Fortunately, there is lots of useable information available for consumers who want to get the most life out of their smartphone battery.


    Like the tips in this article from Wired:

    Managing battery life is a delicate operation, and it's something that iOS and Android are gradually getting better at. You shouldn't really need another reason to keep the software on your phone up to date, but if you do, this is it.

    Thanks to lots of proactive nudging by manufacturers, it's getting increasingly difficult to keep your phone out of date for long. Which is great, not just battery life but the security of your device, compatibility with other apps and hardware, and so much more. In fact, you should go ahead and turn on auto-updates everywhere you can.

    There's a whole lot more smartphone battery care tips in that Wired article. You can read them all right here.

    In the meantime, what special steps do you take to care for your smartphone battery? Let us know in the comments below!

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  8. 5G Is Coming Sooner Than Thought

    5G Is Coming Sooner Than ThoughtCan't wait until next year to get your hands on a suped-up 5G capable smartphone?

    One-Plus feels your pain, and so its announced new 5G smartphones coming in 2019. (That's this year for those of you without a calendar.)


    From a recent Forbes article:

    One-Plus CELO Pete Lau confirmed the details in an interview with the Financial Times. XDA Developers’ Jeff McIntire has the details:

    "OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed his company is preparing to manufacture a second 5G phone before the end of 2019, this time being 5G-capable globally… This device should pick up the mantle from its predecessor OnePlus 7 Pro, the company’s first 5G-capable phone."

    The news comes as a surprise to many and a relief to early adopters who weren't satisfied with 5G hardware stuffed into a smartphone model that was 'same old, same old.' They want something new and spiffy to show off not only the blazing fast speed of 5G but also the latest smartphone design.

    So if you've been itching to get your hands on a new 5G capable smartphone, you might want to keep your eye on OnePlus. Or wait until next year to see what Apple may (or may not) be releasing next.

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  9. Microsoft and Samsung Galaxy Partner-Up

    Microsoft and Samsung Galaxy Partner-UpWhile Mac users had iPhones that easily paired with their laptop or desktop models, Microsoft Windows users struggled to find an easy way to do things like transfer a photo from their phone to their computer. Oh, sure, it was possible, just not as easy as it is for Apple users.

    All that may be about to change with the latest pairing of Microsoft and Samsung Galaxy phones. What does it mean for the estimated 1 billion Windows users in the world? It means they have a simpler solution to do some of the things that Apple users already find easy. And, according to this article in GeekWire, this is hardly the first time Microsoft and Samsung have teamed-up:


    Samsung and Microsoft have partnered on PCs for many years, and on smartphones and tablets in a more limited capacity. But the expanded partnership marks “a profound shift in how we interact with the many devices in our lives,” vowed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who made a surprise appearance at Samsung’s event in New York City.

    “For years, applications have been purpose-built for single devices, whether it’s the phone, the PC, the TV or even your watch,” Nadella said. “But in a world of 5G, cloud and AI, we get to rethink it all and reimagine it.”


    GeekWire also breaks down exactly what the partnerships means for consumers by listing the specific features users can expect to exploit.

    How long will the partnership actually last? That's anybody's guess. But as long as it works for both companies, the people who use Windows PCs now have a solution when it comes to doing things Apple users have been able to do for quite some time.



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  10. Are iPhone Prices About To Increase? Not So Fast

    Are iPhone Prices About To Increase? Not So FastThere's currently a trade war between the United States and China, which normally would go unnoticed by most consumers, except most of the stuff we consume these days is built in China. So does the latest round of U.S. tariffs on good manufactured in China mean iPhone prices are about to increase? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Some economists have predicted prices for iPhones will go up about $100 after this latest round of tariffs. But others are saying no, that's very unlikely because Apple will simply move production outside China to avoid the tariffs:


    Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that any tariffs implemented by the US won't impact Apple's pricing because of supply chain moves implemented by Apple CEO Tim Cook, and because of that pre-planning, there won't be any impact to Apple's shipments.

    Read more of what Ming-Chi Kuo has to say on the matter right here.


    Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone on record saying that the company has no plans (or capacity) to take iPhone production outside of China but some of their parts suppliers are already making moves:


    We’ve already seen reports of some iPhone exports from the country, confirming expectations that Indian production won’t be limited to domestic sales, though only on a very small scale to date.

    There have also been reports of MacBook and iPad production in Indonesia, Pegatron building production lines in India and Vietnam and AirPods contract manufacturer GoerTek beginning test production in Vietnam.

    You can read more about these production moves in this article by 9to5 Mac.


    For now, the Apple says it intends to absorb the cost of the import taxes rather than immediately pass them on to consumers.

    But how long can the company keep that up? No way good way to tell. Apple is certainly flush with capital at the moment, so theoretically they could keep it up for quite some time. But it seems as if, sooner or later, something will have to give. Either the tariffs or the production in China. Or maybe Apple will simply stop paying the fees themselves and just pass them on to consumers.

    So far, nobody really knows what the future will hold.


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