Mobile

Looking for a new Amazon tablet? Today is a good day for it, provided you’re quick on the draw. As part of its Cyber Monday specials, Amazon is discounting two of its Kindle Fire devices by $50. The 16 GB Kindle Fire HD is $199 while the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX is priced at $179, or $200 less than its larger 8.9-inch cousin. If you can splurge and will do more than just read books, I’d opt for the 7-inch HDX model due to the high-resolution screen — 1920 x 1200 resolution — and faster quad-core processor.

German police are considering the use of a Shazam-like app for identifying neo-Nazi rock music, Der Spiegel reports. The app would identify far-right bands and their songs, apparently sparing police resources and speeding up investigations as they tackle extremist gatherings (and online radio stations, the article suggests). Nazism is illegal in Germany, as is racist hate speech. However, this app is unlikely to enter into use if legal authorities decide it’s a form of acoustic surveillance, which it plainly is.

Facebook may soon buy a Bangalore startup, called Little Eye Labs, that provides performance analysis and optimization tools for Android developers. According to a Monday report in India’s Business Standard, advanced talks are being facilitated by the Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable (iSpirt). This may be connected with Facebook’s quest to better optimize its apps to run on low-end devices and spartan internet connections — like Google, the firm is trying to push further into developing markets. In recent months, Google bought French mobile optimization outfit Flexycore and Facebook picked up data compression specialist Onavo.

Hoping to easily install the CyanogenMod (CM) app to change the software on your Android device? It’s no longer as easy as it used to be: The app was voluntarily removed by the CM team at Google's suggestion as Google said it would eventually have to pull it from the store. The reason? It “encourages users to void their warranty,” which typically happens when a user gains root access to an Android phone or tablet. CM can still be installed through sideloading and is available as a direct download.

A federal judge has thrown out a consumer lawsuit against Apple, which alleged that the gadget-maker betrayed the trust of iPhone and iPad owners by allowing apps to scoop up their data and track them without consent. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh axed the 3-year-old case because none of the plaintiffs could prove they relied on Apple’s privacy policy in the first place. Indeed, as she pointed out, none of them could prove they had even read it – and that’s interesting from a legal perspective, because she rejected the ticking of the “Agree” box on iTunes accounts as evidence of genuinely informed consent.

Even with more powerful phones out on the market, I still consider the Moto X to be among the best Android phones you can buy today. But you don’t want to buy one today; if you can wait until Monday, you’ll save $150. Motorola is holding a special deal on all no-contract Moto X handsets and that includes custom Moto Maker versions and the unlocked Developer Editions. A 16 GB model will cost $349 while $399 will get you a 32 GB version. According to Motorola’s John Rinaldi, the sale starts at 8am on Monday and supply will be limited.

Recent reports indicate the best selling Windows Phone is Nokia’s Lumia 520. If true, it makes sense why Nokia is launching the Lumia 525 as a successor. The only change in this model appears to be a doubling of memory from 512 MB to 1 GB, allowing more apps to run simultaneously. The handset will also support interchangeable covers in different colors. To keep costs down, the handset uses an older but still capable 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 8 GB of internal storage an 800 x 480 resolution 4-inch touchscreen and support for 21 Mbps HSPA+ networks in lieu of LTE.

Acer continues to round out its Chromebook C720 lineup, announcing on Tuesday its new touchscreen model for $299. That’s a far lower price than the other touchscreen Chromebook currently available: Google’s Chromebook Pixel starts at $1,299. Of course, you don’t get the Pixel experience with the C720: It uses an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 resolution screen, for example. Acer says the new C720 touchscreen model runs on the same Intel Celeron as the other C720 devices, meaning it should offer similar battery life of around 7.5 hours. The device, available in early December from Best Buy and Acer directly includes 32 GB of internal flash storage and 2 GB of memory.

In tandem with Monday’s rollout of KitKat for the HTC One Google Play edition, Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Play edition is also getting the software. Google shared the news late Monday evening on its Android Google+ page. With Android 4.4 being the largest upgrade since the sale of Google Play edition phones, the quick release of the software shows a sort of “pecking order” for Android upgrades. Obviously the Nexus phones, which aren’t carrier controlled, get the software first, quickly followed by the Google Play phones, which are largely a pure Android experience. One notable exception is Google’s own Motorola phones; Android updates for the Moto X began last week.

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