Huawei reportedly got by with a lot of help from the Chinese government

For those following Huawei’s substantial rise over the past several years, it’ll come as no surprise that the Chinese government played an important role in fostering the hardware maker. Even so, the actual numbers behind the ascent are still a bit jaw dropping. Huawei reportedly had “access to as much as $75 billion in state support,” according to a piece …

Cosmo and Google create a mobile Watch Party for the new season of ‘You’

The second season of the Penn Badgley romantic murder drama “You” launches on Netflix today — and along with it, a new project called Cosmopolitan Watch Party. You can hit play on the Watch Party website at the same time as you hit play on each episode, kicking off an experience that runs alongside the show. Watch Party will show you …

Daily Crunch: Travis Kalanick is leaving Uber’s board

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. Uber founder Travis Kalanick is leaving the company’s board of directors Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick will officially resign from the board as of …

A false start for foldables in 2019

A year from now, this is likely to have all blown over. A year from now, the Samsung Galaxy Fold’s turbulent takeoff may well be a footnote in the largest story of foldables. For now, however, it’s an important caveat that will come up in every conversation about the nascent product category. How history remembers this particular debacle will depend …

Robocall-crushing TRACED act passes Senate and heads to Oval Office

Somehow during all the partisan furor of the last few days, the Senate found a moment to vote some bipartisan legislation into law — presuming of course it survives the President’s desk. The TRACED act pushes carriers to kill robocalls before they ring, and gives the FCC some extra juice to pursue the wicked ones perpetrating them. “We’re delighted the …

Facebook is building an operating system so it can ditch Android

Facebook doesn’t want its hardware like Oculus and Portal to be at the mercy of Google because they rely on its Android operating system. That’s why Facebook has tasked a co-author of Microsoft’s Windows NT named Mark Lucovsky with building the social network an operating system from scratch, according the The Information’s Alex Heath. “We really want to make sure …

Huawei set to debut a new, improved Mate X

When we met up with Huawei at their Shenzhen headquarters earlier this year, details on the Mate X were hazy, at best. We did have the opportunity to play around with the forthcoming handset a bit over lunch, but the unit looked largely unchanged from what we’d seen at MWC earlier in the year. Release plans, too, were vague. There …

Spotify prototypes Tastebuds to revive social music discovery

Spotify is prototyping a new way to see what friends have been listening to, called “Tastebuds”. Despite how discovering music is inherently social, Spotify has no features for directly interacting with friends within its mobile app after axing its own inbox in 2017 and keeping its Friend Activity ticker restricted to desktop. It seemed like Spotify was purposefully restricting social …

Instagram hides false content behind warnings, except for politicians

Instagram is giving politicians the same free rein to spread misinformation as its parent company Facebook. Instagram is expanding its limited fact checking test in the US from May and will now work with 45 third-party organizations to assess the truthfulness of photo and video content on its app. Material rated as false will be hidden from the Explore and …

Verizon’s 5G comes to (parts of) Los Angeles

The clock is ticking on Verizon’s plans to bring 5G to 30 cities. Short of an actual Christmas miracle, things are looking rough. On the upside, the carrier (and, disclosure, parent of TechCrunch) just brought the next-gen technology to a 19th city. And it’s a doozy. Verizon announced this morning that it’s flipped the switch on 5G in Los Angeles. …

The top mobile apps and games of 2019

Mobile consumers worldwide will have downloaded a record 120 billion apps from Apple’s App Store and Google Play by the end of 2019, according to App Annie’s year-end report on app trends. This represents a 5% increase from 2018 — a notable achievement given that the number doesn’t include re-installations or app updates. Consumer spending on apps, meanwhile, approached $90 …

RCS messaging has rolled out to Android users in the US

Here’s a nice little surprise for Android users this weekend. It seems that Google’s pans to roll out Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging is slightly ahead of schedule. The company announced in November that it would be making the feature available for all Android users in the country by year-end. A tweet from Android Messages product manager Sanaz Ahari confirms …

Let’s talk Samsung Galaxy S11

We’ve officially entered the mid-December hardware doldrums. Obviously no major hardware maker in its right mind is going to be announcing anything major in the next few weeks, for fear of preemptively cannibalizing holiday sales. Things will, however, heat up immediately after the new year with the kick off of CES. Then, a little over a month later, comes MWC. …

Pandora launches interactive voice ads

Pandora has begun to test a new type of advertising format that allows listeners to respond to the ad by speaking aloud. In the new ads, listeners are prompted to say “yes” after the ad asks a question and a tone plays. The ads will then offer more information about the product or brand in question. Debut advertisers testing the …

Amazon launches Audible Suno free app featuring short-stories in India

Amazon is having another go at expanding its reach to listeners in India. The company, which launched pay-to-use Audible in the country last year, today introduced a new service called Audible Suno that offers free access to “hundreds of hours of audio entertainment, enlightenment and learning.” And it’s banking on major Indian celebrities to draw the listeners. Audible Suno, which …

Robinhood lets you invest as little as 1 cent in any stock

One share of Amazon stock costs over $1700, locking out less wealthy investors. So to continue its quest to democratize stock trading, Robinhood is launching fractional share trading this week. This lets you buy 0.000001 shares, rounded to the nearest penny, or just $1 of any stock with zero fee. The ability to buy by millionth of a share lets …

Daily Crunch: Apple adds new iPhone parental controls

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. The iPhone’s new parental controls can limit who kids can call, text and FaceTime and when With the release of iOS 13.3, parents will for the …

BMW says ‘ja’ to Android Auto

BMW today announced that it is finally bringing Android Auto to its vehicles, starting in July 2020. With that, it will join Apple’s CarPlay in the company’s vehicles. The first live demo of Android Auto in a BMW will happen at CES 2020 next month and after that, it will become available as an update to drivers in 20 countries …

The vast majority of US consumers aren’t spending $1,000+ on phones

Pricing in the smartphone wars has taken a sharp turn in recent years on the premium end of the spectrum. Ever since the arrival of the iPhone X, flagship devices have often arrived in excess of $1,000, as company push toward more premium components in order to remain competitive. Likely surprising no one, most consumers aren’t spending that much on …

Google’s Pixels get a ‘feature drop’ with call screen and camera enhancements

Google this morning announced the arrival of its first “feature drop.” The new offering will continue the company’s regular feature enhancements, now arriving every month, like clockwork. This first one brings a whole bunch of upgrades, including a few already noted by some eagle eye views. The call screen update is probably the biggest of the bunch. This one drops …

Snapchat Cameo edits your face into videos

Snapchat is preparing to launch a big new feature that uses your selfies to replace the faces of people in videos you can then share. It’s essentially a simplified way to Deepfake you into GIFs. Cameos are an alternative to Bitmoji for quickly conveying an emotion, reaction, or silly situation in Snapchat messages. Some French users received a test version …

Daily Crunch: Uber reveals sexual assault numbers

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. Uber reveals thousands of sexual assault reports last year Uber just released its first-ever safety report, stating that it received 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault …

Netflix earmarks $420M to fight Disney in India

Netflix may still not have a million subscribers in India, but it continues to invest big bucks in the nation, where Disney’s Hotstar currently dominates the video streaming market. Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, said on Friday that the company is on track to spend 30,000 million Indian rupees, or $420.5 million, on producing and licensing content in …

Daily Crunch: Imgur launches an app for gaming memes

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. 300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app Melee, the company’s first app beyond its flagship product, lets users subscribe to the games from which they …

Future iPhones could drop charging ports altogether

Here’s a little early Christmas present for you. Apple analyst extraordinaire Ming-Chi Kuo is out with his latest Apple opus. Per usual, it’s got a lot of fascinating nuggets, this time projecting as far as 2021 in its look at iPhones to come. Let’s skip right to that bit, shall we? It seems that 2021 may be the year Apple …

What we know about Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 865 and 765 chips

Qualcomm’s holding its big annual get-together this week in Hawaii, portioning off Snapdragon news, piece by piece. Yesterday’s event was the big unveiling of the Snapdragon 865 and 765, the chips that will power most of next year’s premium and mid-tier handsets, respectively. Today, the components came into sharper focus. Expect more from both tomorrow, as well, as the company …

Finally, an official Craigslist app

Fancy websites and services come and go, but Craigslist endures. And now one of its main shortcomings is fixed: there’s an official app. Currently available for iOS and in beta for Android, the app provides a true-to-form Craigslist experience: useful, unfussy, and anonymous. There isn’t much to say about the app beyond that it faithfully replicates the website, down to …

Android’s ‘Focus Mode’ exits beta, adds new scheduling features

Google is expanding its suite of “Digital Wellbeing” tools for Android devices with a new feature, Focus Mode, launching today. This feature allows users to turn off distractions — like social media updates or email notifications — for a period of time, so you can get things done without interruption. Focus Mode was first announced at Google’s I/O developer conference …

Lessons from M-Pesa for Africa’s new VC-rich fintech startups

In African fintech, the fourth quarter of 2019 brought big money to new entrants. Chinese investors put $220 million into OPay and PalmPay — two fledgling startups with plans to scale in Nigeria and the broader continent. Several sources told me the big bucks had created anxiety for more than few payments ventures in Nigeria with similar strategies and smaller …