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So, the 2012 Presidential elections are officially over, and regardless of who you voted for, it's time for America to get back to the business at hand. And what better way to do that than with a budget-priced Windows Phone 8 device? If the iPhone still hasn't lured you with its siren song, Nokia and AT&T are hoping to pull you in Microsoft's direction with some rock-bottom pricing on its latest generation of smartphones.
Nokia finally broke months of silence on the pricing and availability of its new Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia handsets with the announcement Tuesday that the devices will be landing on AT&T this Friday, November 9. The flagship Lumia 920 will go for an extremely wallet-friendly $99.99 with two-year commitment, while the slightly less powerful Lumia 820 is even cheaper at $49.99. Apparently, Nokia is taking no prisoners this time around, because the devices are also available at pretty amazing no-commitment prices as well, with the 920 only $449.99 for those who don't want to mess with their existing contract. Nokia and AT&T are even tossing a free wireless charging plate in with the higher-end Lumia, so here's hoping consumers respond by giving the platform a chance this time around. Can't wait to get one? AT&T is accepting preorders for the devices online starting today.
The Verge reported Monday that Microsoft indeed appears to be building its own gaming-centric seven-inch tablet which could be sold under the Xbox Surface name. "The Xbox Surface will likely include a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks," the report notes. "Microsoft's Xbox Surface won't run a full version of Windows, rather this 7-inch tablet will run a custom Windows kernel. Messaging and other tablet functions may be supported, but the focus is on gaming." The move might help explain why Microsoft doesn't seem too worried about its Surface with Windows RT tablet taking on the iPad directly, since Redmond may be more focused on a cheaper tablet aimed at stealing some of Apple's mobile gaming thunder.
First noted by Hacking Netflix on Tuesday, it appears e-tailer Amazon.com is ramping up its streaming video war with Netflix by making Amazon Prime available for $7.99 per month -- the very same price charged by both Netflix and Hulu Plus for their respective services. Amazon Prime usually costs $79 per year, and although $7.99 each month works out to more than $79 over 12 months, it might just make the service more enticing to those on a budget -- especially when it includes free two-day shipping on items purchased from Amazon.com and a free Kindle Owners' Lending Library title each month, which neither Netflix nor Hulu Plus can offer for the same dough.
Skype's The Big Blog confirmed the rumors on Tuesday: The service will be "coming together" with Windows Live Messenger as Microsoft plans to retire the aging IM service worldwide in the first quarter of next year, with the exception of China, where Messenger will continue to be available. "This effort started with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago, which allows you to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account," Skype CEO Tony Bates writes. "Now Messenger users just need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and their Messenger contacts will be there." The move makes a lot of sense, given the more powerful feature set of the VoIP service. Will you miss the artist formerly known as MSN Messenger?
Sometimes, a report is so obvious that we almost hesitate to scribble it up for our readers. Such is the case with a 9to5Mac report on Tuesday which claims an Intel-powered OS X 10.9 operating system has turned up on the website's analytics logs from IP addresses in the San Francisco Bay area as well as Apple's home turf in Cupertino. While the site notes these are easily faked, they're more than likely the real thing, especially considering Apple has already announced its intention for OS X to be updated on an annual basis like iOS. That means a developer preview of OS X 10.9 is likely only a few months away, just as we're all getting so comfortable with OS X Mountain Lion.
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