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Apple making deals to improve utility of NFC chips in iPhones

10/27, 11:40am

Apple is hunting for new partnerships that will let it diversify the use of the NFC chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a new report claims. At the moment the chip is meant exclusively for retail Apple Pay transactions, particularly since the related API hasn't been opened to third-party developers. Apple is allegedly negotiating with companies like HID Global and Cubic regarding purposes such as building security and public transit ticketing.

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Fitbit reveals Charge, Charge HR, Surge fitness trackers

10/27, 11:09am

Fitbit has revealed three new devices in its fitness tracker range, including one which did not leak prematurely. The Charge and Charge HR appear to be reworked versions of the Fitbit Force, while the Surge has a larger display and a built-in GPS, with the device set to provide more smartwatch-style functionality on top of its existing fitness-related data collection activities.

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Lenovo SW-B100 Smartband fitness tracker quietly surfaces on website

10/27, 6:58am

Lenovo has quietly launched its first fitness tracker for iOS and Android devices, one which leaked earlier this month via an FCC filing. The SW-B100 Smartband is said on the Lenovo website to possess the usual traits of a fitness tracker, though it will also apparently allow the wearer to automatically unlock and log into a PC without needing to manually type in a password.

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Nest acquires Revolv, immediately halts sales of smart hub solution

10/26, 1:59pm

Nest Labs is investing further into home automation market with an acquisition announced last week. Revolv, a company that makes a smart hub to tie together Internet of Things (IoT) devices, said that it was purchased by the Google-owned connected device company. As a result, the team is folded into Nest for future product development, and sales of the Revolv hub are ending.

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Sprint adds 12-month option to 'iPhone for Life' leasing plan

10/24, 4:58pm

Sprint is making changes to its iPhone for Life rental plan, just over a month after launch. The carrier is adjusting the plan to allow customers the ability to lease an iPhone and upgrade it after 12 months, though the existing 24-month period between upgrades will continue to be offered to users at a lower cost compared to the new plan option.

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MetroPCS adds data plans for tablets, sells Alcatel Onetouch Pop 7

10/24, 3:21pm

MetroPCS is offering tablets on its service for the first time, and has introduced a new set of data-only price plans for the mobile devices at the same time. The first tablet offered by T-Mobile's prepaid brand, usable on the new tariffs, is the Alcatel Onetouch Pop 7, a mid-ranged Android tablet with a 7-inch 1024x600 TFT display.

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WSJ says iTunes Stores sales down 13-14 percent in 2014

10/24, 2:56pm

Sales at Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent in 2014 so far, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. That represents a steepening decline, coming in the wake of a 2.1 percent dip in 2013. The trend is believed to be connected to the music industry's overall swing away from downloads, and towards streaming subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.

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Giveaway: Tomb Raider

10/24, 2:10pm

For nearly two decades, the Tomb Raider franchise has been keeping adventure-seekers entertained for countless hours all around the world. Since the release of the first game in 1996, there have been a number of sequels to the game, a series of box office motion pictures, novels, and even theme park rides. The most recent chapter in the Lara Croft saga was released last year, and recently the staff here at Electronista got a chance to dig in to the action to see if it lives up to our expectations. We also secured five redemption codes to give away to our readers.

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Editorial: In defense of the new $499 Mac mini

10/24, 1:58pm

After its release, we came out pretty strongly against Apple's new $499 Mac mini. We thought it to be underpowered, and despite some minor improvements, generally a step backwards. Time has passed, tempers have cooled a bit, and we've given it a second thought. While we're not saying that its a must-buy, there are some good use cases for it, and in some instances it trumps the 2012 model.

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Deezer acquires Stitcher, will keep iOS, Android apps alive

10/24, 1:42pm

Paris-based streaming music service Deezer has acquired Stitcher, the company has announced. The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, will allow Deezer to take control of the personalized Internet talk radio service, which currently provides access to eight out of the top ten US terrestrial radio programs to users, as well as a collection of around 35,000 radio programs and podcasts.

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Sprint increases Family Share Pack range with 1GB plan for $20

10/24, 8:08am

Sprint is attempting to beat Verizon and AT&T by offering more data to customers on a low-cost subscription. In a continuation of earlier "double data" promotional plans, Sprint has introduced a new $20 Family Share Pack which is claimed to offer double the data of similarly-priced plans from Verizon, and three times the data of similar plans from AT&T.

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LG reveals Nuclun octa-core processor, confirms G3 Screen smartphone

10/24, 6:32am

LG has finally unveiled its first self-produced processor for smartphones, one which has been rumored for some time under the "Odin" codename. Called Nuclun, the chip will be making its first appearance in a variant of the G3 called the G3 Screen, a smartphone which will be making its initial appearance as a South Korea-only release.

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Review: Sound Blaster Roar Bluetooth speaker

10/24, 4:00am

There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bringing a heap of features for music enjoyment to a powerful speaker, the company introduced the Roar earlier this year. With the crowded market for Bluetooth speakers, is it possible that a company like Sound Blaster could release a device that topples some of the big names in audio? Find out in our review.

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Facebook unleashes Rooms, brings communities back to chat rooms

10/23, 7:55pm

Facebook's Creative Labs team is bringing a new, yet old way to socialize over the Internet to users through its application Rooms. The free iOS app lets users create custom chat rooms on a topic, without requiring any special log in or connection to a Facebook account. Instead, users can select whatever user name they like and chat in virtual anonymity.

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Google adds GPS support, music storage option to Android Wear

10/23, 5:35pm

Google's first major update to Android Wear will be preparing the operating system for use on standalone smartwatches. The software update adds support for GPS sensors built into devices, as well as the ability to store music on a smartwatch instead of a smartphone, with audio able to be played through a paired set of Bluetooth headphones.

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