Snapchat will shut down Snapcash, forfeiting to Venmo

Snapcash ended up as a way to pay adult performers for private content over Snapchat, not just a way to split bills with friends. But Snapchat will abandon the peer-to-peer payment space on August 30th. Code buried in Snapchat’s Android app includes a “Snapcash deprecation message” that displays “Snapcash will no longer be available after %s [date]”. Shutting down the feature will bring an end to Snapchat’s four-year partnership with Square to power the feature for sending people money. Snapcash may have become more of a liability than a utility. With apps like Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, and Square Cash itself, there were plenty of other ways to pay back friends for drinks or Ubers, so Snapcash may have seen low legitimate usage. Meanwhile, a quick Twitter search for “Snapcash” surfaced plenty of offers of erotic content in exchange for payments through the feature. It may have been safer for Snapchat
Continue reading "Snapchat will shut down Snapcash, forfeiting to Venmo"

Here are some of the movie and TV trailers to come out of San Diego Comic-Con 2018

Over the course of a weekend we got a glimpse at some of the coming seasons and movies for various sci-fi, superhero, and other types of highly-anticipated fan-favorite franchises from the San Diego Comic-Con this year. Here’s a quick selection of some of the ones shown over the weekend:

Aquaman

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Godzilla: King of Monsters

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Disenchantment

Arrow: Season 7

Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2

Doctor Who

Nightflyers

Titans

The Walking Dead: Season 9

Black Lightning

Young Justice

Legacies

Star Trek: Discovery — Season 2

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

The Flash

Supergirl

Glass

Shazam

The Gifted

Legacies

Wilson is like Longreads for podcasts

Meet Wilson, a new iPhone app that plans to change the way you discover and listen to podcasts. The company describes the app as a podcast magazine. It has the same vibe as Longreads, the curated selection of longform articles. With its minimalistic design and opinionated typography, Wilson looks like no other podcasting app. On an iPhone X, the black background looks perfectly black thanks to the OLED display. It feels like an intimate experience. Every week, the team selects a handful of podcast episodes all tied together by the same topic. Those topics can be the Supreme Court, the LGBTQ community, loneliness, dads, the World Cup… Each issue has a cover art and a short description. And the team also tells you why each specific podcast episode is interesting. In other words, Wilson isn’t just an audio experience. You can listen to episodes in the app or
Continue reading "Wilson is like Longreads for podcasts"

The World Cup led to a record-breaking number of app downloads and consumer spend in Q2

The second quarter of 2018 was another record-breaker for mobile app downloads and revenue. According to a new report this week from App Annie, there were over 28.4 billion app downloads worldwide across both iOS and Google Play in the quarter, up 15 percent year-over-year. That number is even more remarkable because it doesn’t include reinstalls or updates – only new app downloads. In addition, consumer spending in apps was up 20 percent year-over-year to reach $18.5 billion across iOS and Google Play combined. This is the most money spent in apps compared with any other quarter before, the report notes, topping the prior quarter’s record-breaking $18.4 billion in app revenue, and 27.5 billion downloads. Much of the download activity in Q2 came from Google Play. On its app marketplace alone, global downloads topped 20 billion, up 20 percent year-over-year and widening the gap between itself
Continue reading "The World Cup led to a record-breaking number of app downloads and consumer spend in Q2"

Dish is the first TV provider to offer support for Apple’s Business Chat

Dish today announced it’s becoming the first TV provider to offer customer support over Apple’s Business Chat. Launched earlier this year, Business Chat allows companies to communicate with their customers over iMessage in order to answer questions, provide customer service, or even enable purchases. In Dish’s case, the TV provider says its customers can use Business Chat to reach a live agent with their questions, make account changes, schedule an appointment, and more. They can even use their credit card in Business Chat to order a pay-per-view movie or sporting event, then watch it within minutes of confirming the purchase, Dish says. This feature takes advantage of Apple Pay, which lets you quickly make purchases using your stored payment information without having to leave the iMessage conversation. Business Chat is as secure as placing a call, where customers would have had to provide information to identify themselves as the account
Continue reading "Dish is the first TV provider to offer support for Apple’s Business Chat"

Facebook, Google and more unite to let you transfer data between apps

The Data Transfer Project is a new team-up between tech giants to let you move your content, contacts, and more across apps. Founded by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft, the DTP today revealed its plans for an open source data portability platform any online service can join. While many companies already let you download your information, that’s not very helpful if you can’t easily upload and use it elsewhere — whether you want to evacuate a social network you hate, back up your data somewhere different, or bring your digital identity along when you try a new app. The DTP’s tool isn’t ready for use yet, but the group today laid out a white paper for how it will work. Creating an industry standard for data portability could force companies to compete on utility instead of being protected by data lock-in that traps users because it’s tough to switch services.
Continue reading "Facebook, Google and more unite to let you transfer data between apps"

WhatsApp limits message forwarding in bid to reduce spam and misinformation

In a bid to cut down on the spread of false information and spam, WhatsApp recently added labels that indicate when a message has been forwarded. Now the company is sharpening that strategy by imposing limits on how many groups a message can be sent on to. Originally, users could forward messages on to multiple groups, but a new trial will see that forwarding limited to 20 groups worldwide. In India, however, which is WhatsApp’s largest market with 200 million users, the limit will be just five. In addition, a ‘quick forward’ option that allowed users to pass on images and videos to others rapidly is being removed from India. “We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” the company said in a blog post. The changes are designed to help
Continue reading "WhatsApp limits message forwarding in bid to reduce spam and misinformation"

Samsung and Xiaomi had record smartphone shipments in India

India has quickly become ground zero for the smartphone wars. Last year, the country surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s No. 1 smartphone market, and manufacturers are falling over themselves to plant a flag.

Samsung and Xiaomi have been the two biggest winners in recent quarters, battling it out for the top spot. Earlier this year, the latter edged out the former, but the battle has remained neck and neck for the huge — and growing — market. According to new numbers from Canalys, both companies shipped 9.9 million smartphones for Q2 2018.

Xiaomi held onto the top spot — though just barely, with Samsung growing 47 percent year-over-year. That’s the Korean manufacturer’s biggest growth spurt in the country since late-2015. Look, here’s a graph.

Combined, the two manufacturers comprise 60 percent of shipments in India for the quarter. Vivo and Oppo round out the top

Continue reading "Samsung and Xiaomi had record smartphone shipments in India"

Amazon’s new AR Part Finder helps you shop for those odd nuts and bolts

Got an odd screw, nut, bolt, washer or fastener you need to buy more of, but have no idea to how to find the right one? Amazon’s AR “Part Finder” can help. The company has rolled out a new feature on mobile that lets you point your camera at the item in question, so Amazon can scan it, measure it, then direct you to matching items from its product catalog. The company didn’t announce the feature’s launch, but confirmed to us it was rolled out to all users a couple of weeks ago. The feature takes advantage of the iPhone’s camera and its augmented reality capabilities to measure the object in question – a process it walks you through when you first launch “Part Finder” by tapping the Camera button next to the search box in the Amazon app. This is the area where Amazon has added a number of
Continue reading "Amazon’s new AR Part Finder helps you shop for those odd nuts and bolts"

Trump just noticed Europe’s $5BN antitrust fine for Google

In other news bears shit in the woods. In today’s second day Trump news: President ‘The Donald’ has seized, belatedly, on the European Commission’s announcement yesterday that it had found Google guilty of three types of illegal antitrust behavior with its Android OS since 2011 and was fining the company $5 billion; a record breaking penalty the Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said reflects the length and gravity of the company’s competition infringements. Trump is not! at all! convinced! though! “I told you so!” he has tweeted triumphantly just now. “The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google . They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!”

Europe updates its predatory pricing investigation against Qualcomm over UMTS baseband chips

On the heels of Google getting served a $5 billion fine by the EU over monopolistic practices related to its Android operating system, the European Commission today resurfaced another ongoing case in the world of large U.S. tech companies. The EC said that it has added to its investigation into Qualcomm and its predatory pricing of UMTS baseband chips. Specifically, today the Commission has sent more details relating to elements of the “price cost” test that it had applied to measure just how much below cost Qualcomm was selling UMTS baseband chips to edge out competitors. If the case is decided against Qualcomm, the company could face an additional fine of up to 10 percent of its worldwide revenues. In 2009, these were $10.4 billion, while in 2017, global turnover was over $22 billion. The original, 2015 case was based on a complaint filed by Icera —
Continue reading "Europe updates its predatory pricing investigation against Qualcomm over UMTS baseband chips"

And now, here’s a ‘Trumpy Cat’ augmented reality app from George Takei

Anyone who follows George Takei on Twitter can tell you that Star Trek‘s original Sulu is not a fan of President Donald Trump. But he’s found a new way to express that criticism — not just in tweets, interviews and op-eds, but also in an augmented reality app called House of Cats. The app was built in partnership with Montreal-based development company BMAD, and it allows users to interact animated animal characters like Trumpy Cat, Meowlania, Vladdy Putin and Lil’ Rocket Pug. They can add their own voice recordings, superimpose the animals on real environments and take photos with them — Takei suggested including Trumpy Cat in photos of real-world protests. When I asked where the idea came from, Takei had a simple explanation : “The Internet loves the combination of politics and cats.” While the app looks pretty silly, Takei made the by-now-commonplace observation that satire is having
Continue reading "And now, here’s a ‘Trumpy Cat’ augmented reality app from George Takei"

The Galaxy Note 9 is leaking out all over the place

The Galaxy Note 9 won’t be announced until August. You wouldn’t know it by reading the internet, however. Every nook and cranny of the upcoming phablet has been bared for the world, in a series of leaks over the past several weeks.

Sure, not all of them will pan out, but plenty have come from leakers with established track records, and enough of the details line up so as to paint a wholly believable portrait of the phone we’ll finally get an official look at early next month.

And then there’s this:

That’s a picture of Samsung CEO DJ Koh using what appears to be the Note 9 at a media event. The differences are subtle, but they’re there in the camera housing, which is among a few small visible changes to the upcoming device. Like, good on DJ Koh for using the company’s products, S Pen and all,

Continue reading "The Galaxy Note 9 is leaking out all over the place"

Apple releases third iOS 12 beta to everyone

Apple just released the third version of the iOS 12 beta as part of the public beta program. It means that everyone can now install a development build of iOS 12, the next major version of the operating system for iPhone and iPad. Don’t forget this is still a beta version. Things will crash, things won’t work. Don’t be surprised if you lose data in your Photos, Notes or Messages apps for instance. But if you have an iPhone or iPad that you don’t use every day, you can get a glimpse of the future of iOS right now. While the final version of iOS 12 should be released near the end of September, Apple is going to release beta versions every few weeks over the summer. Before installing the beta, don’t forget to back up your device to iCloud and/or your computer using iTunes. You can then head over
Continue reading "Apple releases third iOS 12 beta to everyone"

Samsung rumored to be releasing a folding screen smartphone in early-2019

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Samsung’s working on phone with a folding screen. And it’s arriving soonish. You’d be entirely forgiven if you rolled your eyes at that one, or at the very least took the whole thing with a sufficiently massive grain of salt.

This particular rumor has been floating around for about as long as Samsung’s been in the smartphone game, but The Wall Street Journal appears to have it on good authority that such a device may finally come to fruition early next year.

What’s more, those “people familiar with the matter” say the seven-inch handset is currently sporting the codename “Winner,” which sounds a bit like something Donald Trump would nickname his smartphone.

The design sounds more like a classic clamshell handset than the novel — though not particularly practical — dual-screen ZTE Axon M that arrived late last year. To be fair,

Continue reading "Samsung rumored to be releasing a folding screen smartphone in early-2019"

Google gets slapped $5BN by EU for Android antitrust abuse

Google has been fined a record breaking €4.34 billion (~$5BN) by European antitrust regulators for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has tweeted to confirm the penalty ahead of a press conference about to take place now. Stay tuned for more detail as we get it.

This story is developing… refresh for updates…  The fine is the second major penalty for the ad tech giant for breaching EU competition rules in just over a year — and the highest ever issued by the

Continue reading "Google gets slapped $5BN by EU for Android antitrust abuse"

EU’s Google Android antitrust decision incoming…

A decision in a long running EU antitrust probe of Google’s Android OS is due to land shortly. European Commission officials are trailing a press conference with competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager — to announce an “antitrust decision” at 1pm CET, with a link to watch the event streamed live.

Bloomberg is reporting the EU’s fine for Android will be in the region of $5BN — which would be the largest ever antitrust penalty handed down by the Commission. The case focuses on whether Google has abused its market dominance and crowded out rivals by taking steps to ensure its own-brand apps and services are pre-loaded on Android devices. In April, Reuters reported on a 2016 document it had reviewed which said the Commission

Continue reading "EU’s Google Android antitrust decision incoming…"

Instagram is building non-SMS 2-factor auth to thwart SIM hackers

Hackers can steal your phone number by reassigning it to a different SIM card, use it to reset your passwords, steal your Instagram and other accounts, and sell them for Bitcoin. As detailed in a harrowing Motherboard article today, Instagram accounts are especially vulnerable because the app only offers two-factor authentication through SMS that delivers a password reset or login code via text message. But now Instagram has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s building non-SMS two-factor authentication system that works with security apps like Google Authenticator or Duo. They generate a special code that you need to login that can’t be generated on a different phone in case your number is ported to a hacker’s SIM card. Buried in the Instagram Android app’s APK code is a prototype of the upgraded 2FA feature, discovered by frequent TechCrunch tipster Jane Manchun Wong. Her work has led to confirmed TechCrunch scoops on
Continue reading "Instagram is building non-SMS 2-factor auth to thwart SIM hackers"

Sharecuts is creating a community for sharing Siri Shortcuts

With the upcoming release of iOS 12, Apple is introducing a new app called Shortcuts that will allow users to build custom voice commands for Siri that can be used to kick off a variety of actions in apps. While some apps will directly prompt users to add a Shortcut to Siri, the new Shortcuts app will offer more shortcut suggestions to try, plus the ability to create your own shortcuts and workflows. Now, there’s a new resource for shortcut fans, too – Sharecuts, a directory of shortcuts created and shared by the community. The site is still very much in the early stages. Plus, iOS 12 is still in beta testing itself, and the Shortcuts app can only be installed by developers who request access via an invite. But by the time iOS 12 releases to the public later this fall, Sharecuts’ directory will be filled out and a
😎
Continue reading "Sharecuts is creating a community for sharing Siri Shortcuts"

An app that uses AI to help you improve your basketball shot just raised $4 million

Let’s be real: you are most certainly never going to be as good as Steve Nash, Chris Paul, James Harden — or really any professional NBA player. But it probably won’t stop you from trying to practice or model your game around your favorite players, and spend hours upon hours figuring out how to get better. And while there are going to be plenty of attempts to smash image recognition and AI into that problem, a company called NEX Team is hoping to soften the blow a bit by helping casual players figure out their game, rather than trying to be as good as a professional NBA player. Using phone cameras and image recognition on the back end, its primary app HomeCourt will measure a variety of variables like shot trajectory, jump height, and body position, and help understand how to improve a player’s shooting form. It’s not designed to
Continue reading "An app that uses AI to help you improve your basketball shot just raised $4 million"