Friday's tech news roundup is bracing for the mini-tablet price war:
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UPDATE: Amazon has had a change of heart over the weekend and reversed its stance on lock-screen ads. Find the follow-up report on Monday's Update.
Amazon's new generation of Kindle Fire tablets will have Special Offers and Sponsored Screensavers on the home lock-screen, and you won't be able to pay extra to take it off. For the e-ink readers, Amazon has offered ways to pay a small fee, about $20, to take the ads off. But these ads are not coming off the new tablets. It's one reason why Amazon's tablets can be priced so low. The new Fire HD starts at $200, that's the same as the Google Nexus 7. The revamped original Kindle Fire is even less, at $160.
At these prices, it appears that Amazon and Google are not making much profit off the sale of these tablets. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said he'd rather see Amazon make money from the media and items you buy when using the Kindle, than from you buying the Kindle. Seems a bit anti-Apple in that philosophy, but it'll be interesting to see the price Apple sets for its rumored iPad Mini that may be announced next week.
Apple may be working on its own music streaming service, similar to Pandora. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is talking with record companies to license music so you can create a streaming station based around a song or artist.
Don't expect to see the iPhone 3GS on sale after Wednesday. Apple will likely drop the 3GS from its lineup after announcing a new iPhone, since it usually only carries three phone generations at a time.
LinkedIn is rolling out new notification alerts, similar to Facebook. A new flag icon will indicate new activity, including users liking your posts, viewing your profile or accepting your invitations.
AT&T is currently testing a text-to-911 service across Tennessee. Verizon also said it wants to roll out this service to some call centers next year.
There's a new way to send money to friends in the form of a generic digital gift card. The iOS app Giftly lets you create your own virtual gift card, but merchants are not involved in the process. You chose the amount and make up what you'd like the gift to be used for, like a movie night or ice cream. You could even use the map to suggest a specific place. The receiver gets a text or Facebook wall post, and the money is credited to a charge card. It's more thoughtful than sending cash, and it can be a cute way to pay someone back. But each gift you send cost an extra $1 for a transaction fee.