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Pre-Black Friday: Walmart deals on electronics available now

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, accessories, audio, iPad

Black Friday sales have gone live at Walmart.com, however if you plan on getting a head start on the deals at your local store, keep in mind they will be opening their doors tonight at 6PM. They are offering 3 different door-buster events, which are outlined below. If you don't want to wait for the door-busters, or would just prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of your own home, we have highlighted a selection of deals that are available now.

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European Parliament confirms wish to break search away from Google

1 hour ago | Posted in: industry

The European Parliament has voted in favor of making Google break apart its search business from the rest of the company. With 384 approving the motion to 174 against with 56 abstentions, the Parliament is indicating to member states and the European Commission it wants something done about Google's power in search, with a separation of search services being the preferred option.

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Current and Black Friday Deals: 5TB HDD, iPads, 4k2k display, more

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, digital imaging, iPhone apps, iPad, iPad apps

While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is only now upon us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.

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Black Friday: Amazon Kindle tablets and e-readers from $49

1 hour ago | Posted in: computers, gadgets

Black Friday deals are on now at Amazon. No need to wait outside in the cold, or battle the hoards of deal-hungry shoppers to get these great prices. To kick things off today they are offering discounts on their line of Kindle tablets and e-readers. The all-new Kindle with touch has been reduced by $30 and can be had for only $49 with special offers that display on the lock screen or $69 without the special offers.

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Giveaway: Civilization: Beyond Earth

2 hours ago | Posted in: computers, gaming

As was mentioned yesterday Civilization: Beyond Earth was released for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store and on GameAgent. Also announced yesterday was that we will be running a giveaway. So, without further ado we are pleased to announce that we have obtained 4 redemption codes for this game to give away to our readers.

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Happy Thanksgiving from MacNN and Electronista

3 hours ago | Posted in:

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US readers from all of us here at MacNN and Electronista! Today and tomorrow are traditionally very slow news days, so there will be reduced coverage through the holiday (except for our Black Friday and other deal-related posts, along with a hearty serving of giveaway goodness, never fear!) so that we can spend time with our families. We want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all of our readers, both long-time and new, for your readership, your comments and suggestions, and your news tips and corrections. We must also thank our sponsors, advertisers and the many developers and companies that help us keep our readers informed on all the latest and greatest in the tech world. We are grateful for your support.

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Hands On: Sproggiwood (Windows, OS X, Linux via Steam)

7 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, software

Because of the accessibility of game design tools, independently-produced games are springing up on every platform. There's certainly no shortage of dungeon crawlers, roguelikes, or turn-based strategy games today. That doesn't mean, though, that Sproggiwood, by Freehold Games, should be overlooked. This turn-based roguelike has the player explore dungeons inspired by Finnish mythology, bringing peace to the land of Sprog.

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WSJ: GoPro plans launch of camera-equipped drones

15 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, digital imaging

GoPro may be supplementing its action camera range with a line of low-cost drones for consumers and business use, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Report sources claim the camera company is developing the multi-rotor flying machines and is planning to ship them for between $500 and $1,000, in order to let sports enthusiasts take advantage of drone photography.

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New Star Wars teaser to debut on iTunes Trailers on Friday

17 hours ago | Posted in: Apple

Apple has confirmed that the first official trailer for next year's new chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens, will debut online on Friday on iTunes. Disney, which now owns the rights to the franchise, had previously said that only 30 cinemas in the US would be screening the trailer on Friday, implying a wider release later. Rumors began shortly afterwards, however, that there would be an online debut as well.

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Government could turn to 225-year-old law to force user decryption

17 hours ago | Posted in: security

In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.

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Home Depot faces 44 civil lawsuits from breach, spent $43M on fallout

21 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security

Home improvement retailer Home Depot is still locked into a battle over the security breach it reported in September that put 56 million credit cards at risk. However, the fight is no longer against cyber criminals, but rather consumers affected by the breach and government agencies. To date, the retailer is involved in "at least 44 civil lawsuits" in the US and Canada.

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StealthGenie spyware app creator pleads guilty, fined $500,000

23 hours ago | Posted in: software

A seller of mobile phone spyware has pleaded guilty to federal charges, the Department of Justice has revealed. Danish citizen Hammad Akbar has been fined $500,000 for the advertisement and sale of the StealthGenie app, which can be used to monitor the calls, texts, and other messaging systems with few in the way of signs to the target that they are being watched.

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AT&T responds to FCC over 'frozen' fiber build, calls agency mistaken

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, networking

Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's Net Neutrality and Title II regulation discussion.

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Apple may lean heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6, Apple Watch parts

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.

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Amazon cuts Fire Phone price a second time to $199 unlocked

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

Amazon has dramatically cut the price of its Fire Phone for a second time, and not as part of a holiday sale or other promotion. The retailer has brought the smartphone down in cost to $199 off-contract from an earlier $0.99 price on a two-year AT&T contract or $449 off-contract, itself a cut from the original launch price of $199 on-contract or $650 unlocked.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: computers, peripherals, accessories, audio

Audio enthusiasts might be some of the easiest to select gifts for during the holidays, if for nothing else than the wealth of choices available. From Bluetooth speakers, headphones, audio amplifiers and radio options, it can be overwhelming to pick something. Here at Electronista and MacNN, we're attempting to give shoppers some directions for the music lovers in their lives, compiling some of the best audio gear for the year in our annual gift guides.

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Samsung plans $2B share buyback, sale of defense and chemical assets

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Samsung is preparing to buy back $2 billion in shares, the first scheme of its kind since 2007, the electronics manufacturer has announced. At the same time, reports claim the company has also revealed it will be drastically changing its holdings, selling stakes in its defense and chemical subsidiaries to raise funds for new investments, among other costs.

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iPhone 5c production to halt in mid-2015, report says

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone

Two Apple suppliers, Foxconn and Wistron, will stop their production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of 2015, says Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. The 5c was originally launched in 2013 alongside the iPhone 5s, and like its sibling, made available in several different models. It has since become the lowest-end iPhone however, and is currently relegated to an 8GB model free on contract, or $450 unlocked.

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Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.

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Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, Apple

Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.

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Sony reportedly working on smartwatch with e-paper screen, band

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets

Sony may be working on a smartwatch using e-paper for release next year, according to a report. Said to be part of a "venture-style approach" to product creation by Bloomberg, the electronics company is apparently making the device in preparation for a release sometime next year, though it may not offer the same level of functionality as Sony's existing smartwatch offerings.

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Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: security, software, iPhone apps, iPad apps

There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.

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Analysis: Sony's PlayStation Vita settlement could cost up to $28.7M

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: industry, gaming

In a release from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier today, the agency announced that Sony Computer Entertainment America would be paying out settlements to those that were misled by a PlayStation Vita advertising campaign that started before the handheld console released in February 2012. Under the settlement, Sony will pay out $25 in cash or $50 in merchandise credit for select games and services -- but what sort of impact will this cause for Sony? Electronista dives into the numbers to look at the potential $28.7 million the company will need to pay out.

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Samsung considering leadership change for declining mobile division

Wed November 26, 2014 | Posted in: industry

The sharp decline in smartphone sales appears to be taking its toll on Samsung, as sources say the South Korean company is considering a management shake-up at the very top. A plan under consideration would see current head of the mobile division Jong-Kyun Shin replaced, and possibly losing his co-CEO role within Samsung.

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OnePlus One heading to Amazon in India, OnePlus store opening in China

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in:

OnePlus is seemingly trying to make acquiring its smartphone and accessories easier to acquire in some markets, both online and offline. The company is apparently planning to allow OnePlus One invitation holders in India to buy the smartphone through Amazon's Indian operation, while OnePlus' first offline retail store is opening in China.

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Apple gadgets, accessories dominate Time's top 10 for 2014

Tue November 25, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, gadgets, accessories, Apple, iPad

Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.

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