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

11/26, 1:32pm

AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans

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.

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

11/26, 1:15pm

iPhone's RAM, storage, and batteries could come from one supplier

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.

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

11/26, 12:57pm

Fire Phone cut to less than a third of original launch price

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.

Briefly: Civilization: Beyond Earth OS X ships, new Geometry Wars 3

11/26, 12:55pm

Civilization: Beyond Earth available for OS X today

Firaxis and Aspyr have announced that Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available later today for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store, and on GameAgent. The game requires OS X 10.9.5 or greater, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of drive space, and at least the Intel HD 4000 with 256MB of VRAM. Civilization: Beyond Earth retails for $50. Look for a MacNN giveaway of the title soon.

Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear

11/26, 12:33pm

Elecronista and MacNN's guide to gifts for the digital audiophile

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.

Union, Rev. Jackson push for better terms for Apple security guards

11/26, 11:34am

USWW looks to unionize guards at Cupertino campus

With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.

Pre Black-Friday Deals: 5TB HDD, iPads, 4k2k display, Steam sale

11/26, 11:22am

The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote!

While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is not yet on 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.

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

11/26, 11:22am

Restructuring of subsidiaries, share acquisition announced by Samsung

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.

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

11/26, 10:40am

Device sits at bottom of iPhone hierarchy

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.

Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks

11/26, 9:32am

Company didn't warn about dangers in Apple contract

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.

Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial

11/26, 9:24am

Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly

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.

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

11/26, 8:53am

Rumored Sony e-paper watch to focus on style, not competing with smartwatches

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.

Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service

11/26, 8:22am

Backup-oriented cloud service offers unmatched prices, options

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.

Hands On: Snoopy's All Star Football (iOS)

11/26, 7:44am

Hit the gridiron with the Peanuts gang

Cupcake Digital is a well known name in the ring of games for elementary age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. Cupcake Digital tackles two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?

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

11/26, 7:25am

Cash, credit payments up to $50 going to early buyers during three month period

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.

Samsung considering leadership change for declining mobile division

11/26, 1:13am

Home appliance, television Co-CEO could take over mobile, Shin might lose CEO role

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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