Amazon running sale on Echo speakers, Fire devices, and more

Amazon Echo Show official

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but that hasn’t stopped Amazon from offering some of its best ever deals on its devices.

Amazon is discounting its Echo hardware, including offering its best yet discounts on the Echo Show and Echo Plus. What’s notable about the deal on the Echo Plus is that it also includes a Philips Hue Bulb to get your smart home setup started.

If you’re looking for a cheaper way to give Amazon’s Alexa assistant a try, both the Amazon Echo (2nd Gen.) and Amazon Echo Dot are on sale as well.

Also on sale is Amazon’s Android-powered Fire tablets. The Fire 7, Fire HD 8, and Fire HD 10 are all being discounted, as are the Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition with their toughened shells.

Speaking of Fire-branded devices, Amazon is offering deals on its All-New Fire TV and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Remote, giving you a couple of options for a new set-top box device.

Some of the other notable device discounts being offered up by Amazon right now include the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite, the Amazon Cloud Cam, and the Amazon Key system that includes a Cloud Cam and a smart lock.

Amazon’s got a full list of the deals that it’s offering on its devices, and you can see it at the link below. 

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Amazon sale offers discounts on Prime Exclusive phones like Nokia 6 and Moto X4

Moto X4 Prime Exclusive

Amazon’s Prime Exclusive phones are already cheaper than their non-Prime Exclusive counterparts, but for a limited time you can save even more money on select models.

Amazon is now running a sale on several of its Prime Exclusive Android phones. These include the Nokia 6, which will be on sale through December 24th, as well as the Moto G5 Plus, Moto X4, LG X Charge, and LG Q6, all of which will be on sale until December 23rd.

The discounts that are on offer vary depending on the phone, but they’re all a significant portion of the device’s normal price. And in the case of the Moto X4, it’s at its lowest price yet, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

All of these Amazon Prime Exclusive phones are sold unlocked. The Moto G5 Plus and Moto X4 are compatible with all four major U.S. carriers while the LG X Charge supports AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The LG Q6 and Nokia 6 both support AT&T and T-Mobile.

Additionally, all of Amazon’s Prime Exclusive phones feature personalized deals and ads on their lock screens as well as preinstalled Amazon apps. Considering the discounts that you’re getting on these phones, though, some folks might not mind the Amazon ads and apps that come with ’em.

You can get a closer look at these five devices at the links below.

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Amazon Prime Video is now on the Apple TV

Apple TV 4K hands-on video

Way back in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Amazon Prime Video would be coming to Apple TV later in 2017. It looks like Apple and Amazon just barely kept their promise.

Amazon Prime Video is now available on Apple TV. The app is available in more than 100 countries and brings original shows like The Big Sick, sports like the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, and more 4K HDR content.

Also of note is that Apple TV users can find Amazon content using the Siri Remote and universal search on the Apple TV. With the addition of Amazon Prime Video content, Siri can search 1.3 million TV episodes and movies on Apple TV.

Amazon Prime Video was one of the major video sources missing from the Apple TV, so it’s good to see the service finally arrive on Apple’s set-top box, making it easier for Apple TV owners to find all of the content they want on that device. If you’ve got an Apple TV, hit up the App Store on your box and grab the Amazon Prime Video app now.

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I hope headphone jacks make a comeback next year

Apple iPhone 6S and 7

When reflecting on smartphones that were released over the year, I feel that things went pretty well. I was impressed with both of LG’s flagships, the G6 and the V30; the Galaxy Note’s reputation didn’t suffer irreparable damage and seems to be doing well; Apple knocked it out of the park with the iPhone X; I could spend all day talking about if I were to list them all, but I can’t, so overall I’d say things were good this year.

But despite all the good that came of this year, there were some downsides that occurred, one of the worst being that companies haven’t figured out that headphone jacks are still a useful feature and continue to inexplicably strip them from new smartphones.

I’m going to start off by using Apple as an example. They weren’t the first to do it, but I think they were the most influential by doing so. The thing is, it’s easy for Apple to do things because they control the entirety of iOS. If you don’t like the changes they make, tough cookies. You take it or leave it. If you’re heavily invested in iOS already, or simply prefer iOS to Android, then you have to decide whether a headphone jack is really worth leaving an entire platform for. Will people do that? Sometimes. But I think the majority of people are just going to learn to live without it, even if it’s not necessarily as convenient as simply having a headphone jack.

I’m more concerned about Android devices. Although not all of them have nixed the headphone jack, I am surprised at the amount of manufacturers who quickly followed suit. HTC, Razer, Essential and Google are all the brands I can think of off the top of my head that followed Apple and Moto, who omitted the feature last year. While the list may not be that long, it worries me that more joined this year – especially Google, who made it a very specific point to keep the headphone jack last year. Suddenly the headphone jack totally sucks, but oh, look! Pixel Buds have come to save the day! How convenient.

As 2017 comes to an end and CES is only a month away, I wonder whether 2018 will continue the trend, or if the headphone jack will make a comeback like the microSD card did.

Either scenario seems possible. I could see it making a comeback because many of the phones who omitted it aren’t doing so great. The Pixel 2 XL keeps making headlines, and usually not in a great way. HTC is still having trouble finding its mojo. Although the HTC U 11 had decent days after its release, long-term market shares for the company continue to decline. Essential Phone was unfortunately a flop, although it seems worth checking out now that the price is $ 499, and Razer Phone seems like a very niche device directed towards a very specific subset of smartphone users. In the end, none of the phones are exactly flying off the shelves (save for the Pixel 2 XL, though they are experiencing a high rate of return for unrelated reasons).

On the other hand, maybe headphone jacks will continue to fade year over year. As much as I personally appreciate headphone jacks, the future of smartphones appears to be as wireless as possible, so why prolong the inevitable? Wireless charging and wireless headsets very well might be the norm eventually, but the problem right now is that phones are prematurely trying to replace the solid state of the headphone jack with the not-very-solid Bluetooth, or worse, trying to make it seem as if USB-C or Lightning offer significantly higher quality audio. If they do, I can’t tell. I’d argue that most people can’t. What people do notice, however, is that their once convenient headphone jack is now missing, and although it’s probably not annoying enough to completely replace the phone the first, second, or even third time they realize they forgot their dongle/special headphones at home, it might be annoying enough to consider a smartphone with a headphone jack the next time they upgrade.

It’s hard to say what next year will bring, but I do hope that it brings more headphone jacks and not less.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the headphone jack? We’ve had a little over a year to warm up to the idea now – have you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Huawei Nova 2s shown in leaked image with tall display, small bezels

Huawei logo

One day after Honor kicked off pre-orders for its new Honor 7X smartphone, details on a new device from Honor parent company Huawei have surfaced.

The Huawei Nova 2s has leaked out. An image of the front of the device has been shared by Evan Blass that shows a smartphone with a tall display and small bezels. It’s got what looks to be a slim fingerprint reader below the screen and what may be a pair of front-facing cameras above the display.

Meanwhile, a report from GSMArena claims to have some spec details for this Huawei Nova 2s. It’s said that this device is packing a Kirin 960 processor, 6-inch 2160×1080 display with 18:9 display, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a microSD card slot.

The Nova 2s reportedly features a dual rear camera setup with 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel sensors while the front of the phone is home to 20-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensors. Rounding out the phone’s rumored feature set is Android 8.0 Oreo.

It’s expected that Huawei will introduce the Nova 2s tomorrow, December 7th, so we may not have to wait long for all of the details to come out.

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