Dell Streak

It's safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones -- they've become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn't happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We've rounded up 10 of the most important examples -- head on over to our gallery see how enormous became the new normal.

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MIT can turn your smartphone into a different kind of second screen

Sure, we've seen apps that let you easily share files between your phone and PC. No biggie there. But the demo we're about to show you is a tad more sophisticated than that. Over at MIT, two teams of researchers have developed a smartphone system called THAW, which allows you to share files and use the phone as a game controller -- all by pressing the handset against your computer's display. As you can see in the below demo video, for instance, it's possible to transfer files onto the phone simply by dragging them where the phone is, as if it were just another folder on your desktop. Similar to what you can already do with NFC, you can press the phone against the screen, and walk away with whatever web page you had been looking at. (To be fair, iOS 8's Continuity feature does that automatically.)

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AT&T isn't the only carrier not getting WiFi calling until 2015 -- a certain red-branded network's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus won't, either. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo said that his company has some back-end work to finish up before the feature goes live. This is something he predicts should happen around halfway through next year. What's more, he said that WiFi calling was never a top priority, either, as spotted by FierceWireless.

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Google Maps can now tell more people whether to turn left or right at the next intersection, now that the Navigation feature has arrived in 20 more countries. The expansion makes turn-by-turn navigation available to more African, Caribbean and South American nations, along with Sri Lanka and Nepal in Asia. It also looks like they're getting the whole enchilada, including bus, taxi and walking/biking routes. Of course, those who've been usign Navigation regularly know its instructions aren't always right (say aye if it's led you to the middle of nowhere before), but it's still a free and decent option. Check out the list of countries the service now supports, as spotted by Android Police on its support page, after the break.

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The best thing about iOS 8 isn't continuity texting or a liberated keyboard -- it's that it'll give you rock hard abs. Which is exactly what you need if you're going to pull off any of Under Armour's skin-tight clothing. The sports brand wants to help you along with that, and has just updated its suite of apps (the popular MapMy... franchise it bought) to include unified activity tracking. This means if you have compatible hardware (like Jawbone's UP, or a Withings Pulse) or an iPhone with an M7/M8 chip in it, you can fold all your activity data into the one MapMyFitness app. This also means you won't get dupes any more if you were already tracking with the app and a tracker separately. Already working on those biceps by lifting your fancy new iPhone 6 Plus? Good, because the apps have also been given a digital nip and tuck to look extra buff on the new larger displays.

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Not bothered about the new iPhones? After something with a big screen and Android at its heart? Well, that's what Samsung's Galaxy Note family is all about, and the company has announced the latest member of the clan will be hitting the UK October 10th, a week before the US. The super-sized Galaxy Note 4, with its 5.7-inch Quad HD display and high-end specs all around, is now up for preorder, but only at Samsung's "Experience" stores. Carriers and retailers will be able to open up reservations from September 26th, with Samsung specifically naming Three and Carphone Warehouse as guaranteed partners. We haven't got any juicy pricing information to share with you just yet, but should be able to let you know where the best deals lie nearer the time. Spoiler: it's unlikely to be at Phones4u.

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Starbucks Life!.

Love Starbucks but hate feeling left out of the shake-to-pay fun because the device in your pocket is running Android instead of iOS? Those days are over, my caffeine-craving friend. An updated version of the titular app has hit Google Play and it's packing the aforementioned payment option as well as digital tipping. The coffee juggernaut's rewards system is now on the payment screen too -- all in time for the Seattle outfit's declaration that autumn is officially here.

[Image credit: pgneto/Flickr]

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Do you hate emojis? Too bad, because they're everywhere: they've even arrived on Pebble and Pebble Steel via the smartwatches' latest firmware. The software upgrade allows emoticons to show up on Pebble's monochrome screen -- sure, they're not yellow or animated, but they're better than those blank boxes that typically take their place. More importantly for Apple users, though, this firmware brings iOS 8 compatibility and a really neat notification management feature to their watches. Now, when they dismiss an alert from their Pebbles, it also disappears from their phones' notification centers. (Hey, Android users, the company says it's working on a version for your devices, as well!) Other than these, the firmware also enables the watch's built-in compass and adds a fun Domo-kun watchface to your collection.

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Sony SmartEyeWear

As Sony's smartphone division continues to struggle, the company is working out what it needs to return to profitability. Does it concentrate on the high-end market dominated by Apple and Samsung, or does it try to appeal to customers looking to get their very first smartphone? One thing you might not expect is for the company to push forward with the release its own smart eyewear, a Google Glass clone of sorts, that connects to its devices to superimpose images, videos and text into the wearers view. "SmartEyeglass," as it's known, looks like a bulky pair of 3D glasses that have been modified to include a 3-megapixel camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, brightness sensor, a microphone and a pretty large battery pack.

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Need something to make today's wait for your new iPhone easier? Watching the crew at iFixit go at a brand new iPhone 6 Plus with their screwdrivers, spudgers and iSclacks probably won't help, but at least it will pass the time. They're in the middle of pulling Apple's XL-sized phone apart, and while there's not a lot new to report (it's a phone, and it has 1GB of RAM) the pics are always entertaining. The 6 Plus' 5.5-inch display also leaves room for a larger battery, and now we know that it's a 2915 mAh unit. That's about twice the size of the one in the iPhone 5s, slightly bigger than the battery in the Galaxy S 5, but smaller than the swappable 3,220mAh unit slotted inside the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4.

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If (for some reason) you absolutely hate how profiles look on Twitter for the iPhone, you may want to fire up the App Store and download the latest update. It comes with a brand new design for profiles, which brings your bio front and center (no more swiping needed to see it) and adds separate timelines for your uploaded photos/inevitable GIFs) and favorite tweets. This new profile will show up for both iOS 7 and iOS 8 users, so you can already enjoy it even if you don't want to delete apps and make room for Apple's new mobile platform just yet. You do, however, get something extra if you've already upgraded: the power to retweet, follow and favorite posts right from the notification center.

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Apple isn't the only one that's making its software a lot more secure, and erm, fed-proof -- Google's upcoming Android platform will apparently be encrypted by default, according to The Washington Post. The publication didn't clarify whether it's Android's full-disk encryption, which Google first rolled out in 2011, but it did say that nobody can access the encrypted device (not even the company), unless they know its four-digit pin. Does that mean users will be forced to nominate a passcode upon setup? We don't know for sure, but with encryption in place, Mountain View (just like Apple) won't be able to assist authorities in searching your phone, so long as you keep your passcode a secret.

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Smartwatches may be the most popular wearable products right now, but facewear is certainly on the up and up. Devices like Samsung's Gear VR and the Epson Moverio glasses are either already on the market or will be coming in the very near future, but what good are these devices if developers have limited access to them? Qualcomm's working on a solution of its own by releasing a developer kit for digital eyewear, and companies like Samsung, Epson and others are on board. The new platform, called the Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear, is supposed to aid developers in building hybrid virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) apps that are capable of recognizing objects and images that are within your field of view; the company hopes this ability to lay interactive 3D content over the rest of the world will result in handy apps for gaming, education and shopping. The kit will be available this fall as a beta that will only be available to a small group of developers, and the company hasn't specified when it'll be open to everyone else.

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Since EE is somewhat responsible for the reason Phones4u can no longer honour iPhone 6 or 6 Plus preorders, the network's trying to make it right, at least for some of you. The carrier's just told us that when Apple's latest handsets launch tomorrow, anyone that preordered on an EE plan through Phones4u can walk into a store and pick one up. If you're still keen on getting a day-one device, then take along a copy of the Phones4u preorder confirmation to get hooked up. EE's putting aside as many handsets as preorders it received via the troubled retailer, but you'll have to take out one of the network's own contract options, rather than whatever you may've opted for originally. Reserved iPhones will be spread out across the carrier's many stores, however, so there's always a chance you won't be successful at the first location you visit, but we guess that depends on how many went elsewhere when Phones4u folded. Sure, this is a bit of clever PR on EE's part, but if you helps you get the handset you want when you want it, then so be it.

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Dice App Screenshots

While you might own every single release your favourite band has put out, nothing beats going to see them live. If that's something you do regularly, you know that you'll not only have to fight it out with any number of like-minded fans to get your ticket, but you'll also have to run the gauntlet of booking via one of the major ticketing providers, which often includes submitting captchas, paying any number of booking fees or printing fees and running the risk that you won't come away with what you actually wanted.

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