Still hauling that Palm Pre around without a care in the world? Sorry to say but there's a nasty surprise coming your way just after the holidays. HP has quietly announced that it'll pull the plug on the catalog and cloud services that support webOS devices from January 15th of next year. That doesn't mean that your hardware will shut down, but living with the gear is going to get considerably harder. Firstly, you won't be able to purchase, download and restore apps, and you won't be able to restore your phone from a backup either. Setting up a new device has also gone the way of all things, and if you lose your password, you won't be getting it back. This is probably the excuse you need to buy a new phone, but don't worry, because as long as we remember webOS in our hearts, it'll never truly die, okay?

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No, that's not a bulk purchasing price. According to the folks at Beijing chip designer NuFront, some Chinese retailers are now selling 7-inch 3G phablets -- powered by NuFront's TL7689 chipset -- to consumers for as low as CN¥330 or about $54 per piece (the prices pictured above are for distributors). That converts to a mere $6 profit for every device sold, which is apparently the norm in the affordable market. On paper, though, it's still a seemingly complete package: you get a 1,024 x 600 LCD screen, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 0.3MP/2MP cameras, a 1,800mAh battery and even HSPA+ connectivity.

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Alcatel One Touch Pop 7

When Vodafone announced its first own-brand LTE tablet, the £125 Smart Tab 4G, earlier this week, it suddenly made EE's £209 Eagle look a little pricey. Knowing that cost is key in the lead-up to Christmas, the UK's biggest carrier isn't resting on its laurels and has shot back a its rival by pricing its latest 4G tablet even lower. At £99, the vibrant Alcatel ONE TOUCH Pop 7S, is the UK's most affordable pay-as-you-go 4G slate, according to EE, and comes with a 7-inch WSVGA 1024 x 600 display, Android 4.3 (Android 4.4 KitKat available via an OTA update), a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8926 processor, 1GB of RAM, 3-megapixel rear and 0.3 front facing cameras, 8GB storage (with microSD support) and a 3240 mAh battery. The operator will also throw in 100MB of free data every month with every 4G tablet bought between now and January 31st, sweetening the deal for parents or bargain hunters looking for a cheap connected tablet.

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Despite being one of the biggest websites today, Reddit didn't have an official app. Instead it relied on the many, many third-party options to satisfy its mobile users. We say "didn't" and "relied," because that's not the case anymore. The social news site just snapped up Alien Blue, its most popular app for iPhones and iPads. The company has been working closely with its sole developer, Jase Morrissey, for years, but they finally made things official. Reddit's head of partnership and strategic development Ellan Pao said in an interview:

We want to be able to have new features from Reddit.com show up on mobile faster and better. With Alien Blue and Jase, it was getting to a point where it was too much work for one person. He was helping us, we were helping him and the fit was really strong.

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Despite the frivolous nature of most social media interactions, Facebook's latest new feature is intended for use only in serious situations. Unveiled today in Japan, Safety Check notifications are pushed to users when a natural disaster hits and area you have listed as your location, where you've checked in on Nearby Friends, or where you recently logged in from. Tech companies like Google and Facebook have worked to connect people after significant disasters in the past, and Facebook says the project is an extension of the Disaster Message Board its Japanese engineers rolled out after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami there. Safety Check is rolling out globally on Android, iOS, feature phones and the desktop -- there's a demo video (embedded after the break) to explain how it all works.

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HTC One M8 for Windows

Eyeing an upgrade to the Droid Turbo? An iPhone 6? Maybe the One M8 for Windows? If you're on Verizon's Edge payment program, you're going to have to be more patient than usual -- or at least, open your wallet a little wider. The carrier has confirmed a Droid-Life leak revealing that Big Red is modifying Edge in a way that makes it harder to upgrade quickly. As of October 16th, payments for new devices will normally be distributed over two years, rather than 20 months; if you can't wait that long to get new gear, you'll have to pay off 75 percent of the hardware price rather than 60 percent. In practice, that means that you'll either be waiting at least 18 months to trade up (instead of 12) or else paying more to accelerate the upgrade process.

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Samsung and Apple may be the two biggest names in smartphones in the western world, but in China it's all about Lenovo and Xiaomi. The two companies are among the most recognizable brands in the region, but Lenovo wants more: it's about to create a new smartphone company for the Chinese market. While the new brand name hasn't been announced, Lenovo says that it will officially open for business in April of 2015, and will focus on branded applications, consumer engagement and, like Xiaomi, selling devices online. The company's core brand isn't out of the running, though -- Lenovo phones will still be available through local carriers and retailers.

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Out of the many different app categories which exist today, dating is certainly among the most popular. Whether it's Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid or Siren, there's definitely something for everyone. And now that "everyone" includes arrogant, rich narcissists. Say hello to Luxy, a dating app that promises to "work just like Tinder," except that it allows you to "weed out the poor and unattractive." It's so absurd you'd assume it's a hoax. The app, which is available for iOS and Android, comes from the same humanoid creatures behind the website MillionaireMatch, where wealthy men and women can find other "successful and attractive" singles. Luxy takes that already questionable concept and races to the bottom with it. The press release even brags that Luxy is "basically Tinder without the poor people... In fact, the average income of male users on LUXY is over $200k and those who are unable to keep up financially are immediately removed from the service."

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Smartphones are getting bigger with every generation, every new model. Even Apple, champion of the small screen, has finally caved to the trend. Over the past few years, however, some of the major smartphone players have taken to creating "mini" versions of their top handsets to satisfy those who still crave a smaller device. While these petite imitations benefit from shared design and branding, their hardware specifications are usually no match for the flagships they mimic. Sony does things a little differently, though, shunning the "mini" moniker and preserving as many high-end features as possible in its smaller devices. Case in point: the new Xperia Z3 Compact, which crams the best of the 5.2-inch Z3 into a 4.6-inch body, and is basically everything you could want in a smaller smartphone.

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Well, this is a bit unlike Apple -- the company appears to have accidentally spilled the beans about the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which are expected to be announced tomorrow. Representations of both devices showed up in a screenshot of the iPad User Guide for iOS 8.1, which we're also expecting new details about tomorrow. We can't tell much from the image, but it does confirm that Cupertino's tablets will be getting Touch ID. A later screenshot also details burst shooting mode, which will be coming to the iPad Air 2, but not the mini 3, according to the document. However, downloading the book didn't reveal any additional info. In fact, there's no trace of the content leaked via the preview screenshots at all.

While the leak may seem like a careless mistake, the more cynical out there will note that this happened just moments after Google announced its latest Nexus devices. It might be a coincidence, or the notoriously media savvy company might be trying to push the competition out of the news cycle as fast as possible.

[Image via 9to5Mac]

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Google has just revealed that the next major version of Android, 5.0, will be known as Lollipop. After months of teasing the OS, the search giant is finally taking what was previously known as Android "L" into the mainstream, with the first set of the devices expected to arrive early next month. Speaking of which, Android Lollipop will make its debut on the new Nexus 6, a big-screen smartphone from Motorola; the Nexus 9, an 8.9-inch tablet made by HTC; and the Nexus Player, a $99 media-streaming box with Android TV, the first one with Google's novel home entertainment platform. What's more, the company confirmed that Lollipop is coming to the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, as well as Google Play edition devices, in the coming weeks.

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Today's the day Google fans have been waiting for: the announcement of this fall's Nexus lineup. It's essentially an annual tradition at this point, since the last few Nexus devices have arrived at the same time of year. Along with a 6-inch smartphone and a media streamer called the Nexus Player, Google's introduced an 8.9-inch tablet built by HTC aptly called the Nexus 9. This slate, which is available for pre-order this Friday and in stores on November 9th, starts at $399 for the base 16GB WiFi model; $479 for the 32GB WiFi; and $599 for a 32GB LTE variant that comes packed with penta-band HSPA+, quad-band GSM/EDGE and CDMA. As is often the case with brand-new Nexus phones and tablets, the 9 is among the first to get the latest version of Android -- in this case, it's Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Nexus 9 will be the first in the lineup to come with 64-bit support, thanks to the dual-core 2.3GHz NVIDIA K1 chipset inside. You'll also get 2GB of RAM; an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, BSI and f/2.4 aperture; a 1.6MP selfie camera; dual-band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; and a 6,700mAh battery. HTC was also able to slide in its signature BoomSound stereo speakers, which have been impressive on its flagship devices. Sadly, wireless charging isn't included. The 7.9mm-thick slate will be available in black and white and weighs in at 425g (436g for LTE).

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Forget the pomp and circumstance that comes with a formal launch event -- Google just outed the new Nexus 6 on its official Android blog, and it's just about everything the rumor mill said the Motorola-made device would be. The Nexus 6 is the first phone to run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and while it might look like a super-sized version of this year's Moto X -- down to the dual speaker grilles and the lock button/volume rocker placement along the phone's edge -- it packs plenty of notable improvements over its smaller, non-Nexus cousin.

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TV-Emmy Predictions

If you've been pining for HBO without having to splurge for a cable subscription, you may soon be in luck. At a Time Warner investor meeting today, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced that the company would flip the switch on a web-based streaming service next year. The over-the-top option will leverage HBO's current partners and offer access to its content without the need for a full cable package. During his remarks, Plepler mentioned that there are 10 million homes that only pay for internet rather than a bundle, and the figure is only expected to grow. Of course, there's no word on pricing or any of the finer details right now, but we expect to hear much more in the months to come. If you'll recall, reports indicate that ESPN is also working on an NBA streaming option, serving up a slate of live regular-season games to folks who don't pay for cable service.

[Photo credit: AP Photo/HBO, Michele K. Short]

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Fairphone

While big smartphone makers, like Apple, are actively trying to reduce the amount of conflict materials used in their devices, others pride themselves on being 100 percent ethical. Fairphone is a prime example. After a successful crowdfunding campaign allowed it to develop a new smartphone that meets both ethical and environmental standards, the company is bringing the device to the UK. It'll be exclusively offered by The Phone Co-op, the UK's only consumer-owned mobile carrier, starting at £22 per month with no upfront cost or £250 to buy outright. The Fairphone itself features a quad-core Mediatek 6589 chipset, Android 4.2 (with a custom Fairphone launcher), 8-megapixel rear and 1.3-megapixel front cameras, 16GB internal storage, and a 4.3-inch qHD display protected by scratch-resistant Dragontrail glass. While it's not going to win awards for the best smartphone, it'll meet the requirements of most users. Although it might be impossible to be totally conflict-free, Fairphone works with manufacturers to ensure better working conditions and fairer wages. It also donates three euros from each phone sold to a program that attempts to reduce electronic waste in Ghana.

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