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Android app deals abound from Amazon for Christmas

5 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones

You've no doubt seen some of our picks for discounted iOS apps, and our "beyond-the-last-minute" Gift Guide, but we've been poking around the Android side of things as well. The biggest deal going for Android users is a special offer from Amazon's app store currently has $220 worth of normally for-pay apps available for free. Read on to discover just a sampling of what Santa-zon has in store for you.

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Merry Christmas from Electronista and MacNN!

15 hours ago | Posted in:

Merry Christmas Eve, Electronista and MacNN readers! Large portions of the US and Canada are dealing with some pretty nasty travel weather, so if you're reading us from there, please be careful! Otherwise, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

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Embattled Sony Pictures 'The Interview' given wide online release

15 hours ago | Posted in: industry, security

Sony and others have unveiled a massive effort to make the Sony Pictures title The Interview available online. Google's YouTube Movies paid service paved the way with its announcement a bit earlier today, with Google Play, Xbox Videos, and a special Sony website all having declared that the movie would be available at 1PM Eastern Time. The picture will cost $6 to rent, and $15 to own in HD.

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Samsung closes one of ten Samsung Experience stores in UK

17 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

One of the ten Samsung Experience stores run by Carphone Warehouse has closed. London's location, in the Westfield Stratford City mall has shuttered with little warning to customers or employees. Today, a sign posted on the entry of the store directs shoppers to a Samsung support center in the nearby Surrey Quays shopping district, or a similar Experience store.

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Hands On: Scrolls (OS X, Windows, Android)

18 hours ago | Posted in:

Scrolls has finally been released to the adulation of gamers everywhere. The game was created by Mojang, the developers behind Minecraft, and written by Jerry Holkins, the writer of Penny Arcade. Scrolls feels similar to a traditional two-player board game like checkers or chess, as well as a player versus player card game, like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. We spent a bit of time with Scrolls to see how it stacks up against similar titles.

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ZTE Speed, Zinger budget smartphones ship on Boost Mobile, T-Mobile

19 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones

Two new budget-targeted ZTE smartphones have launched in the United States, heading to two different carriers. The ZTE Speed for Boost Mobile and the ZTE Zinger for T-Mobile are prepaid mobile devices, with each offering entry-level specification lists and running Android 4.4, both being backed by a still-respectable 1.2GHz processor.

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Uber indicted in South Korea for breaking local transportation laws

20 hours ago | Posted in: industry

South Korea has become the latest country to fight against the rise of ride-hailing service Uber, by indicting the local subsidiary and CEO Travis Kalanick shortly after launch. The company is said to be "violating a law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licenses from providing or facilitating transport services," a legal challenge previously arising in a number of other markets around the world.

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The Beyond-Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

21 hours ago | Posted in: software, audio, iPhone apps, Apple, iPad apps

We're some 40 years overdue for flying cars, teleportation and printers that can output copies of our dreams, but there are a few methods by which the chronic procrastinators of this world can still swoop in with a last-minute gift for someone at Christmas they'll actually like. While Amazon has closed the doors to physical delivery of any products at this point -- even for Prime members - by the 25th, you still have perhaps a few hours left to send a Boxing Day present, or get in now to ensure a timely New Year's gift. Or you can read on for more suggestions.

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Briefly: PlayStation Now on Samsung TVs, Free apps from Amazon

22 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, gadgets, software

Sony's PlayStation Now is heading to new Samsung smart televisions. The game streaming service, which allows gamers to play hundreds of PlayStation 3 games without the console, will be available on "select" Samsung TVs arriving in the first half of 2015. Samsung has yet to state which sets will receive PlayStation Now, but more details are likely to surface during CES next month.

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Exploding LG G3 battery melts through mattress, user claims

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, mobile phones

A Reddit user's younger sister had her LG G3 battery explode as it sat charging on her bed, according to photos and a report from Reddit Android group contributor "s-blade." The heat from the explosion appears to have been so intense that it caused the phone to melt through the mattress, only lightly scorching the sheets as it sank into the bed. The report mentions that the battery and charger involved were original equipment, and not cheap knock-offs or counterfeit low-cost replacements that have a track record of serious problems.

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PNAS study shows e-readers, tablets negatively impacting sleep quality

Wed December 24, 2014 | Posted in: iPad

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America has published a study entitled Evening use of light-emitting e-readers negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. The study compared e-readers with screens that project light, versus those that don't, as well as printed books read under reflected light.

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FCC petitioned by hotels to allow disrupting guest-created hotspots

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: security, networking

The FCC has been petitioned by Marriott and an association of hotel owners to allow the jamming of Wi-Fi hotspots, usually set up by guests, on their premises for reasons of "managing Wi-Fi networks and security." The petition is possibly in response to when Marriott International and Marriott Hotel Services was fined $600,000 by the FCC for knocking guests off their own Wi-Fi networks (provided by hot spots and tethering to cell phones), forcing them to pay for the hotel's Wi-Fi access.

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Obama wants stronger cyber-security laws in 2015

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security, hacks

Last Friday, at President Barak Obama's year-end press conference, Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico asked the first question. Her inquiry was whether Sony had done the right thing in canceling the release of the Seth Rogan comedy The Interview, and what a "proportional" US response to the North Korean-led cyber-attack on Sony would look like. While discussing the answers to those questions, President Obama called on Congress to help create stronger cyber-security laws.

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Report: one neglected server caused JP Morgan Chase data leak

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security, hacks

Back in July, five bank networks were hacked, the most notable of which was JP Morgan Chase, which resulted in more than 76 million households' information being leaked. At first, it was suspected that a "zero-day" exploit had been utilized to gain access, but an unidentified source has indicated the real story is somewhat more mundane.

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Apple tops poll of Xmas gadget hopes for college students

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, audio, Apple, iPad

A new survey of college students contains lots of good news for Apple, with the company clearly the most-desired brand for holiday gifts in all the categories Apple competes in. Cash and gift cards are still king, followed by clothing, but electronics was the third most-popular category of gift, reaching second most-popular among males. The overall second-place finish of clothing was due to a strong preference compared to electronics by women rather than men. Apple and its new Beats brand, however, did well with everyone.

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Samsung starts mass production of 8Gb LPDDR4 RAM chips

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

Samsung is paving the way for smartphones to have higher capacities of RAM, by starting the mass production of 8-gigabit low-power DDR4 (LPDDR4) mobile DRAM. Originally hinted at by the manufacturer this time last year, the new mobile DRAM production is being used for the creation of mobile DRAM modules of up to 4GB in capacity.

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Previous News

Sony Pictures threatens Twitter leaks, will release 'The Interview'

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in:

Sony Pictures has threatened Twitter with a lawsuit, if it does not block accounts used to share leaks. At the same time, the movie studio has reportedly decided to go against an earlier decision it made over contentious film The Interview, and will be showing the movie at a number of cinema chains on December 25, the movie's original release date.

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Hands On: RimWorld (OS X, Windows, Linux)

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: gaming

If a player finds themselves longing for a game that requires both long-term planning and quick thinking, simulation games are often the way to go. If a player is looking for an in-depth resource-management game, they should check out RimWorld by Ludeon Studios. One part The Sims and one part Minecraft, RimWorld requires players to not only colonize the alien land around them, but also manage the health and happiness of their colonists. The game plays very similarly to older SimCity-esque games, and largely boils down to properly allocating resources and disaster control.

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RPX buys patent assets controlled by Apple-led Rockstar Consortium

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

(Updated with correct purchase price, lawsuit settlements) A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google. "The RPX Clearinghouse syndicate includes a broad range of software and media providers, semi-conductor manufacturers, wireless carriers and wireline network operators, Multiple System Operators (MSOs), and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)," the announcement reads.

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LG teases new Music Flow networked speakers ahead of CES

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: audio

LG has revealed more details for new speakers joining its Music Flow networked speaker collection, competing against similar systems from Samsung and Sonos. Set to be shown off at CES, the new items consist of a portable speaker, two sound bars, and a streaming 3D Blu-ray player, all of which will be compatible with Android and iOS devices.

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Samsung reportedly plans Tizen smartphone launch for January 18

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

The rumors of a Tizen-powered Samsung smartphone launch continue, with reports suggesting another attempt at a launch is impending. The manufacturer is said to be preparing an entry-level device for an unveiling in January, with Samsung apparently aiming to fend off Xiaomi, a major competitor of the company who is dominating the budget smartphone market in some regions.

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Huawei ships mid-range Ascend GX1 smartphone in China

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

Huawei has added another smartphone in its Ascend device range, one which is destined for sale on the Chinese market. The Ascend GX1 is a mid-ranged Android KitKat smartphone with a six-inch 720p IPS display, with the combination of its large display and slim body giving the device a high screen-to-body ratio of 80.5 percent.

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HP upgrades display of Chromebook 14 to 1080p touch-enabled version

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: computers

HP has quietly upgraded its recently-overhauled Chromebook 14, adding a touch-enabled display alongside upgraded specifications. The HP Chromebook 14-x050nr Touch employs a 14-inch WLED-backlit touchscreen with a resolution of 1,920x1,080, backed by an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor alongside a Kepler GPU with 192 Nvidia Cuda cores.

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LG exec grounded in washing machine scandal

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: gadgets

Samsung and rival Korean-based electronics manufacturer LG have clashed in the past over patents, and engaged in attempts at tarnishing each other's brands. This past September, an LG executive supposedly vandalized four Samsung washing machines in a Berlin mall. As a result, the head of LG's Home Appliance and Air Solution division has now been grounded by the South Korean government, potentially preventing him from attending next month's Consumer Electronics Show.

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T-Mobile CEO releases mildly NSFW holiday greetings video

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Earlier today, T-Mobile CEO John Legere -- with typical modesty and reserve -- tweeted that he would be using his "soothing voice" to tell the best holiday story of all time. The tweet linked to a video on T-Mobile's YouTube channel -- in which a pipe-sporting Legere, bedecked in a maroon smoking jacket and pink Batman shirt, sits in a big wing-back chair and reads from an oversized story book in front of a roaring fire, with almost none of his characteristic frank language, but still offering a big bag of coal for his competitors.

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Follow up: North Korean Internet back online

Tue December 23, 2014 | Posted in: security

North Korea's connection to the rest of the Internet, which had been knocked offline this weekend, has been restored according to a new report. Over the weekend, Internet service in the country dwindled to nothing, after DDoS attacks against its Internet infrastructure increased.

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