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The big shopping event is right around the corner.

Don't panic, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not all that far away, and it's time to start getting prepared. We've already started to see some big retailers release ads and begin some deals early, and the team at Thrifter (the one who powers all the great deals you see on CrackBerry) will be covering all of it. These big events can be a bit daunting, everything appears to be on sale and all the retailers are trying to lure you into the store to buy stuff that you may not necessarily need.

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Avoid being duped, and let the Thrifter newsletter help you make sure that this Black Friday and Cyber Monday are your most successful ones yet. Whether you're looking for helpful tips and tricks to maximize your savings on the day, the best place to buy a new TV or computer, or a feed of the best deals during the event, you'll want to be subscribed to this list.

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Tasker will lose SMS and call functionality in January 2019

If you've been using Tasker, one of Android's most popular automation apps, for anything relating to SMS or phone calls on your device, prepare yourself. With Google getting more strict about how apps can access SMS and phone permissions come January 2019, Tasker will lose those options.

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BlackBerry KEY2 LE arrives in Hong Kong starting November 15

BlackBerry Mobile recently celebrated the launch of the BlackBerry KEY2 LE in Hong Kong, and come November 15 the latest in the KEY series will go on sale at 1O1O CSL stores and retailers. The dual-SIM 64GB variant will be available at the suggested retail price of HK$3,888.

BlackBerry rumored to be in talks to acquire cybersecurity company Cylance

BlackBerry has been adding to their cybersecurity offerings for a few years now, and it's starting to look like they might be ready for another leap. According to Business Insider, BlackBerry is currently in talks to acquire the Irvine, California based cybersecurity startup Cylance.

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BlackBerry and Nokia squash patent infringement lawsuit

BlackBerry and Nokia squash patent infringement lawsuit

Back in February of last year, BlackBerry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia alleging Nokia's networking gear, including its Flexi Multiradio base stations, radio network controllers, and Liquid Radio software infringed 11 patents. Now, the two have dropped the suit.

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What are you hoping to see discounted on Black Friday?

We want to hear from you!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rapidly approaching, and this means that holiday shopping is in full swing. Odds are you've already built out some big lists of items that you're looking to pick up, and who doesn't love to save a little money on their holiday shopping? We've already seen some ads surface, so we have a general idea of some things we can expect to see discounted, but we want to hear from you! What are some of the items on your shopping list that you'll be hoping get a discount?

Are you looking for a new set of weights, or an Xbox bundle to wow your significant other? Need a new TV for the house, or want to treat yourself to some new bedroom furniture? It doesn't matter what tops your shopping list, we want to hear about it. We've compiled a quick questionnaire that we hope you'll take a second to fill out so we know where to keep our eyes during the big event.

We do our absolute best to find all the best deals, but there could be some stuff that you're interested in that we aren't covering well. Help us ensure that this is the best Black Friday you've ever had, and let us know what you're looking forward to scoring at a sweet discount.

Participate now

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BlackBerry KEY2 LE will be available in Italy starting November 16

The next stop for the BlackBerry KEY2 LE is Italy. As announced by BlackBerry Mobile, the latest in the KEY series of BlackBerry smartphones is available for pre-order starting today from Amazon Italy, starting with the Champagne Dual-SIM, 64GB variant while the Slate Single-SIM, 32GB variant will be available from Amazon and various other retailers beginning November 19.

Amazon's best early Black Friday deal is four free months of Music Unlimited

Turn Alexa into your personal DJ with this limited-time offer from Amazon

Update: Don't have an Echo Dot yet? You can get one for only $1 right now by signing up for a Music Unlimited membership (starting at $8). Make sure to follow the steps here to activate the deal on your account.

If you're currently an Echo device owner not utilizing the Amazon Music Unlimited service, you're seriously missing out. With a membership, you'll have access to over 50 million songs, including the most beloved classics and current jams, that you can stream wirelessly to any Echo device by simply asking Alexa. The service is available at a more affordable monthly price than its competitors such as Spotify and Apple Music if you have an Amazon Prime membership, and if not, it's on par with what those others charge. This weekend however, Echo owners can start a four-month trial of the service absolutely free thanks to Amazon's early Black Friday offers. This offer is only valid for new users of the service.

Whether you have an Echo, the Echo Dot, the Echo Spot, or even one of the Echo Dot Kids Edition speakers, you'll be able to stream your favorite songs straight to it once your membership is activated. Then you'll be able to use voice commands like "Alexa, play the song that goes 'the years start coming and they don't stop coming" and have your speaker begin playing Smash Mouth's smash hit from 1999, All Star. You can also give Alexa free-reign to start playing music for you, set your favorite song or playlist to wake you up as an alarm in the morning, and more.

Amazon Music Unlimited can also be accessed using your computer, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV devices and the Fire TV Stick, and even Roku devices, which means you'll be able to rock out even when your Echo device isn't nearby. Other smart speakers can stream music from the service too.

After your free four months is up, your membership will continue unless you turn off auto-renew beforehand in your account settings. If you decide to keep listening, you'll be charged $7.99 per month, or $9.99 if you don't have a Prime membership. Amazon also has a Single Device plan which could open access to the service on a single Echo or Fire TV device for $3.99 monthly. This weekend's trial offer is for the Individual account, so you'd have to switch plans after it expires if you're interested in the Single Device option.

These days, there are so many good music streaming services, it can be tough to know which to pick. Maybe you want to know more about YouTube Music or wonder about Spotify's benefits in comparison to Amazon Music. Luckily, today's offer can give you a lot of insight into whether Amazon Music Unlimited is the right service for you or not. It expires on November 11, so be sure to start your trial before then.

See at Amazon

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BlackBerry Launcher and Power Center updated with stability improvements

Fresh builds of the BlackBerry Launcher and Power Center have now started rolling out through the Google Play store, and while there are no huge changes noted, minor enhancements and stability fixes are covered this time around.

Google introduces In-app Updates API that allows Android apps to update while you're using them

Keeping your Android apps updated is going to get a little bit easier in the near future due to a new API announced by Google at their Android Dev Summit. The new In-app Updates API, offers developers two new ways to update apps while you're actively using them.

In-app Updates API

We've heard that you'd like more controls to ensure that users are running the latest and greatest version of your app. To address this, we're launching an In-app Updates API. We're testing the API with early access partners and will be launching it to all developers soon.

You'll have two options with this API; the first is a full-screen experience for critical updates when you expect the user to wait for the update to be applied immediately. The second option is a flexible update, which means the user can keep using the app while the update is downloaded. You can completely customize the update flow so it feels like part of your app.

Many apps already check to see if you're using the latest version and advise you to update if you're using an older version but with this addition, they'll now be able to offer you an update right from within the app while you're using it. Plus, when there are crucial updates needed, you'll know right away.

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Amazon is giving everyone free shipping on everything for the holidays

Get your ship together.

If you're lacking in the Prime membership department, this year you won't have to sigh wistfully whilst looking in the windows of Amazon's free shipping department. Starting today, for a limited time, Amazon is offering all customers free shipping with no minimum purchase required.

This offer applies to hundreds of millions of items, and it'll work on orders that will arrive in time for Christmas. So if you're ordering something with a massive shipping delay, this promotion may not apply, but basically everything else is fair game. Pair the shipping offer with some choice Thrifter deals and you'll have yourself a recipe for success this holiday season.

Amazon isn't the only merchant slashing shipping fees. Both Target and Best Buy are offering similar promotions. We haven't heard anything yet from Walmart, but it's safe to assume at this point that we will.

While this offer will undoubtedly come in handy on Black Friday, you can start taking advantage of it now. Check out Amazon's Early Black Friday deals, and get inspired with Amazon Holiday gift guides.

Of course, if you want more benefits, like free videos, music streaming, books, and guaranteed shipping speeds, you may want to try out a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

See at Amazon

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AT&T BlackBerry KEYone owners can now download software update ABI975

KEYone System Update

To go along with ABI087 being rolled out to unlocked devices, AT&T has now pushed their security update for BlackBerry KEYone owners. This release is noted as being build ABI975 and features the same October security updates offered on the unlocked variants.

BlackBerry KEYone and Motion now receiving ABI087 software update

KEYone and Motion

Although the ABI087 software update has made its way to several KEYone and Motion variants already, another round has now started rolling out today largely within North America. If you're not already on ABI087 and are using a KEYone or a Motion, you'll undoubtedly want to go ahead and check for updates.

BlackBerry KEY2 now officially available in Russia!

KEY2 Russia

While there has been plenty of KEY2 LE announcements lately, BlackBerry Mobile has also continued to roll out the BlackBerry KEY2 to new areas and the latest is Russia. Starting today, Russian BlackBerry fans will be able to pick up the black Dual-SIM KEY2 with 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage with special Cyrillic keyboard details specifically built-in for the Russian market.

Spotify giving US family plan subscribers a free Google Home Mini

Spotify giving US family plan subscribers a free Google Home Mini

As part of a new partnership between Spotify and Google, Spotify has now announced a limited time offerfor Spotify Premium for Family plan subscribers in the U.S. where Spotify will hook you up with a free Google Home Mini.

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BlackBerry KEY2 LE now back in stock again at Amazon

KEY2 LE Slate

If you had a pre-order for the BlackBerry KEY2 LE from Amazon or are just looking to pick up a KEY2 LE from there, good news! Amazon has loaded up their storefront and now once again has the KEY2 LE in slate in stock and ready to ship out to you! The KEY2 LE at Amazon is priced at $449.99 and in addition to being compatible with GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile will also work on Verizon.

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BlackBerry KEY2 LE now available through the BlackBerry Mobile EU store!

The BlackBerry Mobile EU store delivers all across Europe, and if you're looking to pick up a new KEY2 LE along with accessories, it's a one-stop shop. Right now, the KEY2 LE is available from there in QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard formats with the slate color option shipping now and pre-orders for the champagne being taken for delivery on November 12th.

Enter BlackBerry Mobile's spooky Halloween sweepstakes to win a BlackBerry KEY2

For me, Halloween is all about costumes and candy but for BlackBerry Mobile, they've added contests as well. Right now, until November 1st, you can enter to win a BlackBerry KEY2 in their spooky Halloween sweepstakes. All you have to do is follow the instructions on their Instagram post.

Take the BlackBerry Mobile device owner survey and make your voice heard!

Take the BlackBerry Mobile device owner survey and make your voice heard!

This is your chance to provide invaluable feedback and shape future plans!

Every day, new posts appear in the CrackBerry forums with great suggestions, ideas, and feedback for BlackBerry Mobile and that's awesome, but nothing beats taking your suggestions right to the people who can make changes. With that in mind, BlackBerry Mobile has now kicked off a new BlackBerry Mobile device owner survey for owners of BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2, and KEY2 LE. Here are all the details, if you have time to participate!

Attention #TeamBlackBerry: We Want To Hear From You!

As regular visitors to CrackBerry are no doubt aware, last August we posted our very first BlackBerry KEYone Owner Survey. We got some great responses and learned a ton about what brings people over to #TeamBlackBerry. That's why this time around, we're branching out.

Open to owners of the BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2, and KEY2 LE, the BlackBerry Mobile Device Owner Survey is your chance to really make your voice heard! We want to know how you use your BlackBerry, and why. We want to know what stands out for you about the BlackBerry Mobile brand.

But more importantly, this survey is as much about you as it is your choice of phone. We want to get to know you better. What you do. And ultimately, how we can your BlackBerry smartphone experience truly exceptional.

Survey Time: It should take you 8 to 30 minutes to complete this survey, depending on how detailed you want to get with some of your responses to the open feedback questions. Note that like our previous survey, this one's fairly in-depth - we want to paint as complete a picture as possible with the results, so feel free to really tell us what you think!

Survey Requirements: This survey is open to owners of the BlackBerry KEYone, BlackBerry Motion, BlackBerry KEY2, and BlackBerry KEY2 LE.

With the survey being longer, you'll want to set aside some time to go through it, but I encourage everyone to take part. Surveys such as this one are a great way to really lay things out for BlackBerry Mobile, and as they note, they really want to know what you think so let them hear it.

Take the survey

Google carves out some spooky Halloween deals on Google Play!

Just in time for Halloween, the Google Play Store has now been updated to highlight some spooky deals on movies, TV shows, books, audiobooks and more! The selections cover everything from the insanely scary to family-friendly frights, so you're sure to find something.

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