Oppo announces 5G and 10x lossless zoom handsets


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Saturday afternoon is a rough time for a press conference — particularly with the official kickoff of Mobile World Congress still a few days away. That said, there are certain advantages to being an early bird. Chief among them is the ability to claim firsts — namely having the first 5G handset of the show.

That might not mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but in a week that’s expected to be dominated by 5G announcements, it’s a way to stand out from the crowd. Of course, like the rest of the promised 5G handsets we’ve heard about so far — with the noble exception of Samsung’s — details are still pretty scarce

What we do know is that the handset — along with so many others set to be announced this week — will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. Fitting, given that we can almost

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Apple confirms its plans to close retail stores in the patent troll-favored Eastern District of Texas


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Apple has confirmed its plans to close retail stores in the Eastern District of Texas — a move that will allow the company to better protect itself from patent infringement lawsuits, according to Apple news sites 9to5Mac and MacRumors, which broke the news of the stores’ closures. Apple says that the impacted retail employees will be offered new jobs with the company as a result of these changes.

The company will shut down its Apple Willow Bend store in Plano, Texas as well as its Apple Stonebriar store in Frisco, Texas, MacRumors reported, and Apple confirmed. These stores will permanently close up shop on Friday, April 12. Customers in the region will instead be served by a new Apple store located at the Galleria Dallas Shopping Mall, which is expected to open April 13.

Apple did not comment on the stores’ dates of closure or the new store’s opening.

However,

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Pinstagram? Instagram code reveals Public Collections feature


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Instagram is threatening to attack Pinterest just as it files to go public the same way the Facebook-owned app did to Snapchat. Code buried in Instagram for Android shows the company has prototyped an option to create public “Collections” to which multiple users can contribute. Instagram launched private Collections two years ago to let you Save and organize your favorite feed posts. But by allowing users to make Collections public, Instagram would become a direct competitor to Pinterest.

Instagram public Collections could spark a new medium of content curation. People could use the feature to bundle together their favorite memes, travel destinations, fashion items or art. That could cut down on unconsented content stealing that’s caused backlash against meme “curators” like F*ckJerry by giving an alternative to screenshotting and reposting other people’s stuff. Instead of just representing yourself with your own content, you could express your identity through the things

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Opera Touch brings website cookie blocking to iOS


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Last fall, Opera introduced Opera Touch for iOS — a solid alternative to Safari on iPhone, optimized for one-handed use. Today, the company is rolling out a notable new feature to this app: cookie blocking. Yes, it can now block those annoying dialogs that ask you to accept the website’s cookies. These are particularly problematic on mobile, where they often entirely interrupt your ability to view the content, as opposed to on many desktop websites where you can (kind of) ignore the pop-up banner that appears at the bottom or the top of the page.

Cookie dialogs have become prevalent across the web as a result of Europe’s GDPR, but many people find them overly intrusive. Today, it takes an extra click to dismiss these prompts, which slows down web browsing — especially for those times you’re on the hunt for a particular piece of information and are visiting

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Orai raises $2.3M to make you a better speaker


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Orai, a startup building communication coaching tools, is announcing that it’s raised $2.3 million in seed funding.

CEO Danish Dhamani said that he co-founded the company with Paritosh Gupta and Aasim Sani to address a need in his own life — the fact that he was “held back personally and professionally” by lackluster “communications skills and public speaking skills.”

Dhamani said he attended Toastmasters International meetings hoping to improve those skills, where he came to a surprising conclusion — that he could build an algorithm to analyze your speaking abilities and give tips on how to improve.

To be clear, Orai isn’t necessarily trying to replace groups like Toastmasters, or individual speaking coaches. However, Dhamani said the “status quo” involves a “one-to-one” approach, where a human coach gives feedback to one person. Orai, on the other hand, can coach “entire IT teams, entire student bodies.”

“I

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Samsung’s foldable phone? Meet the Galaxy Fold


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Samsung’s promised a much better look at its foldable phone at tomorrow’s big S10 event. We already caught a glimpse of the product late last year at the company’s developer conference, but among the many uncertainties with the product is what the hell the company will name the thing.

After all, the device essentially represents an entirely new category for Samsung, so older naming conventions could be out the window. The “Galaxy F” name has been floated, but, well, nobody wants that.

<

p class=”p1″>Perennial leaker Evan Blass (who’s most recently help expose the S10 to the world in recent months) says the handset will be the Galaxy Fold. Not bad, I guess. Probably one to go on — certainly a step up from the Galaxy F, which is, frankly, a bit too easily mocked.

So we have a name — and

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Samsung’s ad for the Galaxy S10 leaks


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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If you think you knew everything there’s to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, the company’s Norwegian ad has now leaked on YouTube. The Verge first spotted the ad — a Verge reader was watching TV and it accidentally aired on commercial TV. It matches up with devices that have already leaked over the past couple of months. But there are some additional features that haven’t been discussed yet.

The most glaring change is that Samsung is opting for a pinhole cutout in the corner of the screen instead of an iPhone-style notch. The S10 will have a rounded hole while the S10+ will get an oblong hole punch with a couple of front-facing camera sensors.

As you can see in the ad, Samsung has integrated the fingerprint sensor in the display. It’s still unclear whether you’ll be able to touch any part of the screen, but the ad shows that

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TCL leaks foretell a weird future for foldable phones


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Foldables are going to get weird. And I’m here for it. Just check out these leaked TCL renders from CNET. All manner of strange and wonderful folding devices — two tablets and three smartphones, including one that flips all the way around into a Futurama-style bracelet. There are renders for tablets and phones that fold both in and out.

Granted, few if any will actually come to fruition, but if this first wave of foldables opens up smartphone design in new and interesting ways like these, the industry will be all the better for it. Of course, we’re still in the early stages of all of this — and the first wave of foldables have yet to prove themselves of interest to the smartphone-buying audience beyond simple novelties.

We’ll be seeing a fair bit more of the space week at Mobile World Congress, along with Wednesday’s Samsung event, which is

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Instagram’s fundraiser stickers could lure credit card numbers


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that commerce is a huge part of the 2019 road map for Facebook’s family of apps. But before people can easily buy things from Instagram etc., Facebook needs their credit card info on file. That’s a potentially lucrative side effect of Instagram’s plan to launch a Fundraiser sticker in 2019. Facebook’s own Donate buttons have raised $1 billion, and bringing them to Instagram’s 1 billion users could do a lot of good while furthering Facebook’s commerce strategy.

New code and imagery dug out of Instagram’s Android app reveals how the Fundraiser stickers will allow you to search for nonprofits and add a Donate button for them to your Instagram Story. After you’ve donated to something once, Instagram could offer instant checkout on stuff you want to buy using the same payment details.

Back in 2013 when Facebook launched its Donate button, I suggested that it

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Apple could be looking for its next big revenue model


This post is by Ron Miller from TechCrunch


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Apple has always been an evolving company. While it never really invented any product categories, it always seemed to make those product categories work better and smarter. It also found a way to make us want them, even when they were more expensive. Today, the WSJ reports, Apple is trying to find its way to a future without the iPhone at the center of its revenue model.

This shift happens as Apple reported lower revenue for the first time in years against a backdrop of flagging iPhone demand. Part of the problem is a shifting Chinese market, but it’s also due to people simply taking longer to refresh their phones. As that happens, and the price of iPhones soared to more than $1,000, there has been a decline in sales.

With iPhone sales down 15 percent, this was not a typical Apple earnings report, but it was something the company

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The Convergence Of The Phone And Laptop


This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC


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The Gotham Gal wanted to get a new laptop. Her late 2015 Macbook has started to fade on her.

So yesterday we made a visit to the local Apple Store and checked out the options. We looked at the Macbooks, the Macbook Airs, and we also looked at the iPad Pros. We debated the choice and she ended up deciding to go for the iPad Pro. We work with a few people who have iPad Pros and love them. And she noticed how much I am using and enjoying my Pixel Slate.

One of the most interesting things about these hybrid tablet/laptop devices is that they run operating systems that are designed for the tablet or phone. They are touch devices like our phones vs mouse devices like our laptops.

A good example of this is how I do email on my Pixel Slate. I could run Gmail in the

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ChargedUp picks up £1.2M seed to grow its mobile charging network across UK


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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ChargedUp, a U.K. startup that offers a mobile charging network that takes inspiration from bike-sharing, has closed £1.2 million in seed investment. Leading the round is Sir John Hegarty’s fund The Garage, and the ex-Innocent Smoothie founders fund JamJar. The funding will be used to grow the offering across the U.K. and for international expansion.

Founded by Hugo Tilmouth, Charlie Baron, Hakeem Buge and Forrest Skerman Stevenson, ChargedUp has set out to solve the dead mobile phone battery problem with a charging network. However, rather than offer fixed charging points, the team has developed a solution that lets you rent a mobile charging pack from one destination and return it at different location if needed. That way, mobile phone use remains mobile.

“It’s annoying and inconvenient to be out and about with a dying phone battery,” says CEO Hugo Tilmouth. We’ve all been there and I

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TikTok spotted testing native video ads


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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TikTok is testing a new ad product: a sponsored video ad that directs users to the advertiser’s website. The test was spotted in the U.S. TikTok app, where a video labeled “Sponsored” from the bike retailer Specialized is showing up in the main feed, along with a blue “Lean More” button that directs users to tap to get more information.

Presumably, this button could be customized to send users to the advertiser’s website or any other web address, but for the time being it only opened the Specialized Bikes (@specializedbikes) profile page within the TikTok app.

However, the profile page itself also sported a few new features, including what appeared to be a tweaked version of the verified account badge.

Below the @specializedbikes username was “Specialized Bikes Page” and a blue checkmark (see below). On other social networks, checkmarks like this usually indicate a user whose account has gone

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Wattpad’s latest deal will turn its stories into TV shows and movies in Korea


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Wattpad’s ambitions to grow beyond a storytelling community for young adults took another leap forward today with the announcement of a new partnership that will help expand its reach in Asia. The company has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, who will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies will co-produce content sourced from Wattpad’s community, as it’s adapted for film, TV and other digital media projects in the country.

Development deals like this are not new to Wattpad at this point.

In the U.S., the storytelling app made headlines for bringing the teen hit “The Kissing Booth” to Netflix, which shot up to become the No. 4 movie on IMDb for a time.

Wattpad also recently announced a 2nd season for “Light as a Feather,” which it produces with AwesomenessTV and Grammnet for Hulu.

It additionally works with eOne, Sony,

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Daily Crunch: Apple’s subscription fix


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple’s iOS update makes it easier to get to your subscriptions

Moving the Manage Subscriptions menu so that it’s just one click away from your App Store profile might seem like a minor change, but it was needed: As more mobile apps have adopted subscriptions as a means of generating revenue, it’s become critical to ensure consumers know how to turn off their subscriptions.

Plus, Apple is expected to launch some subscriptions of its own, namely for its streaming video and news services.

2. Instagram confirms that a bug is causing follower counts to change

Don’t panic! Instagram says it’s “aware of an issue that is causing a change in account follower numbers for some people

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Audio tech supplier to Rolls Royce and Xiaomi secures another $13.2M in funding


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


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As autonomous driving eventually transforms cars from transportation devices to mobile theaters or conference rooms we will need better audio inside them. And we’ve already seen that VCs like Andreessen Horowitz say ‘audio is the future.’

So it’s interesting that Swedish sound pioneer Dirac has completed a new $13.2 million round of financing led by current investors. Previous investors included Swedish Angel network Club Network Investments, Erik Ejerhed and Staffan Persson.

Dirac makes sophisticated audio technology for customers including BMW, OnePlus, Rolls Royce, Volvo, and Xiaomi .

Its platform is used by those firms for everything from capture to playback – regardless of device size or form factor.

“As consumer devices decrease in size and expand in complexity, digital signal processing is
the key to unlocking their full audio potential and creating premium sound experiences,” says
Dirac CEO Mathias Johansson. “With this new funding, we can take our

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Apple’s iOS update makes it easier to get to your subscriptions


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Apple has made a small but important change to iOS that will allow users an easier way to manage their app subscriptions. In the latest release of the mobile operating system (iOS 12.1.4 and 12.2 beta), the company has relocated the “Manage Subscriptions” setting so it’s only one click away when you tap on your profile in the App Store, instead of being buried more deeply within the settings.

This may seem like a minor change, but it was a much-needed one.

As more mobile apps have adopted subscriptions as a means of generating revenue, it’s become critical to ensure consumers knew how to turn their subscriptions off. And, based on a reading of many angry App Store app reviews, many people don’t know how to do this. Most assume that they should reach out to the developer to have their subscription disabled – after all, it’s

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Instagram is now testing a web version of Direct messages


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Insta-chat addicts, rejoice. You could soon be trading memes and emojis from your computer. Instagram is internally testing a web version of Instagram Direct messaging that lets people chat without the app. If, or more likely, when this rolls out publicly, users on a desktop or laptop PC or Mac, a non-Android or iPhone, or that access Instagram via a mobile web browser will be able to privately message other Instagrammers.

Instagram web DMs was one of the features I called for in a product wishlist I published in December alongside a See More Like This button for the feed and an upload quality indicator so your Stories don’t look crappy if you’re on a slow connection.

A web version could make Instagram Direct a more full-fledged SMS alternative rather than just a tacked-on feature for discussing the photo and video app’s content. Messages are a massive driver of engagement

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Facebook and Google still offer the best value for mobile advertisers (Singular report)


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Among mobile ad networks, Facebook and Google remain the best bet for advertisers, according to the latest ROI Index from marketing startup Singular.

To pull together this year’s index, Singular says it sampled $1.5 billion in ad spending (from the $10 billion in spending that the company optimizes annually) and measured which networks are delivering the best return on investment. It also kept an eye out for ad fraud, apparently deleting a record 15 companies from the rankings because of “excessive” fraud.

So yes, Facebook followed by Google topped the list. As the report puts it, “Savvy marketers know they need more than just two media partners, but Google and Facebook are in virtually every mobile marketer’s game plan for good reason: they deliver.”

Singular ROI Index 2019 — iOS-AndroidAt the same time, Singular noted that Snap improved its rankings on virtually all the lists, and is now the No. 3 network

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Apple fails to block porn & gambling “Enterprise” apps


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Facebook and Google were far from the only developers openly abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program meant for companies offering employee-only apps. A TechCrunch investigation uncovered a dozen hardcore pornography apps and a dozen real-money gambling apps that escaped Apple’s oversight. The developers passed Apple’s weak Enterprise Certificate screening process or piggybacked on a legitimate approval, allowing them to sidestep the App Store and Cupertino’s traditional safeguards designed to keep iOS family friendly. Without proper oversight, they were able to operate these vice apps that blatantly flaunt Apple’s content policies.

The situation shows further evidence that Apple has been neglecting its responsibility to police the Enterprise Certificate program, leading to its exploitation to circumvent App Store rules and forbidden categories. For a company whose CEO Tim Cook frequently criticizes its competitors for data misuse and policy fiascos like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica, Apple’s failure to catch and block these porn and gambling

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