Instagram still doesn’t age-check kids. That must change.

Instagram dodges child safety laws. By not asking users their age upon signup, it can feign ignorance about how old they are. That way, it can’t be held liable for $40,000 per violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. The law bans online services from collecting personally identifiable information about kids under 13 without parental consent. Yet Instagram is …

Verizon and AWS announce 5G Edge computing partnership

Just as Qualcomm was starting to highlight its 5G plans for the coming years, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg hit the stage at AWS re:Invent to discuss the carrier’s team up with the cloud computing giant. As part of Verizon’s (TechCrunch’s parent company, disclosure, disclosure, disclosure) upcoming focus on 5G edge computing, the carrier will be the first to use the …

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 865 and 765 platforms

This morning at its annual Snapdragon summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm offered a glimpse at two new Snapdragon chips. You know how this works: the chipmaker offers some insight into the components that will power the vast majority of Android flagships over the course of the coming year. The two headliners for the even are the flagship-level Snapdragon 865 and the …

T-Mobile opens pre-orders on two 5G phones as low-band network goes live

The 5G question has long been carts and horses. The next-generation wireless network has always been an inevitability, of course, but the rollout has always felt a bit piecemeal. T-Mobile, to its credit, is looking to flip the switch all at once (kind of), launching a “nationwide” deployment of 5G to a coverage area it says will reach 200 million …

Cellphone plans get up to 40% costlier in India

India has long been a wonderland for cellphone users. At a time when most telecom operators across the globe charge anywhere between $5 to $10 for a gigabyte of mobile data, telcos in India deliver that for just a few cents. Spare another $2 to the same telecom operator and you get a gigabyte of mobile data everyday for a …

Pixpay is a challenger bank for teens focused on pocket money

Meet Pixpay, a French startup that wants to replace cash when you’re handing out pocket money to your kids. Anybody who is older than 10 years old can create a Pixpay account, get a debit card and manage pocket money. Challenger banks are nothing new, but they’re still mostly targeted towards adults. If you want to create an N26 or …

Revolut supports direct debits in the UK

Fintech startup Revolut is adding a key feature for users who want to replace their traditional bank account altogether. You can now pay with GBP direct debits. Revolut already added EUR direct debits last year. While most people use cards to pay for goods and services in the U.K., some businesses require you to pay with direct debit. It can …

Android’s Ambient Mode will soon come to ‘select devices’

You’ve probably heard murmurs about Google’s forthcoming Ambient Mode for Android . The company first announced this feature, which essentially turns an Android device into a smart display while it’s charging, in September. Now, in a Twitter post, Google confirmed that it will launch soon, starting with a number of select devices that run Android 8.0 or later. At the …

New smartphone figures highlight continued struggles to grow market

In some corners, the smartphone market is showing its first signs of life in some time. Recent figures from Canalys indicate a small but notable uptick in the European market as shipments grew 3%, year-over-year in Q3. The analyst firm put global growth at 1% globally in another recent report. Generally, such numbers wouldn’t warrant much celebration, but the way …

Omni storage & rentals fails, shutters, sells engineers to Coinbase

$35 million-funded Omni is packing up and shutting down after struggling to make the economics of equipment rentals and physical on-demand storage work out. It’s another victim of a venture capital-subsidized business offering a convenient service at an unsustainable price. The startup fought for a second wind after selling off its physical storage operations to competitor Clutter in May. Then …

European smartphone shipments grew in Q3, driven by Samsung

Europe bucked global smartphone stagnation in the third quarter, marking an 8% year over year growth in device shipments. That number, provided by Canalys, puts the region at the top of smartphone growth figures, beating out Asia/Pacific’s six percent. Once again, Samsung was the biggest winner here. The Korean manufacturer saw a healthy 26%, year over year growth. As noted …

More than 1 million T-Mobile customers exposed by breach

T-Mobile has confirmed a data breach affecting more than a million of its customers, whose personal data (but no financial or password data) was exposed to a malicious actor. The company alerted the affected customers but did not provide many details in its official account of the hack. The company said in its disclosure to affected users that its security …

FCC bans spending on Huawei, ZTE and other ‘national security threats’

The FCC has finally put the seal of approval on its plan to cut funding going to equipment from companies it deems a “national security threat,” currently an exclusive club of two: Huawei and ZTE. No money from the FCC’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund, used to subsidize purchases to support the rollout of communications infrastructure, will be spent on …

Camp Grounded Digital Detox returns after founder’s death

Summer camp for adults and beloved tech-free weekend getaway Camp Grounded ground to a halt in 2017. Its big-hearted founder Levi Felix who’d espoused the joys of trading screens for nature walks was tragically killed by brain cancer at just age 32. Left in his wake was mourning community who’d lost their digital detox rally just as everyone was realizing …

The top 1% of app store publishers drive 80% of new downloads

The current app store ecosystem doesn’t favor the indie developer. According to new data from Sensor Tower, the top 1% of publishers globally accounted for a whopping 80% of the total 29.6 billion app downloads in the third quarter of 2019. That means just 20%, or 6 billion, downloads are left for the rest of the publishers. This bottom 99%, …

Bandit opens a ‘mobile-only’ coffee shop in New York

If you wander into the Bandit coffee shop in Midtown New York, you won’t be able to just walk up to the counter and order something. Instead, you’ll need to download a mobile app. I experienced it for myself yesterday afternoon, when I — along with several other customers — pulled my phone out, downloaded the Bandit app, then used …

Email app Spark receives update with new design

Spark, the popular email app from Readdle, has been redesigned on iOS and Android. The interface has always been a bit busy in the mobile app. That’s why the updated app now features a cleaner design and a handful of new features. On the design front, Spark now uses simple headers to separate smart sections, such as newsletters, notifications and …

Google Assistant introduces personalized playlists of audio news

Starting today, when you say “Hey Google, play me the news” to a Google Assistant-enabled phone or smart speaker, you’ll get a tailored playlist of the day’s big headlines and stories. That’s probably what many of us are hoping for when we listen to a news radio station or a daily news podcast during the morning commute. But those come …

SocialRank sells biz to Trufan, pivots to a mobile LinkedIn

What do you do when your startup idea doesn’t prove big enough? Run it as a scrawny but profitable lifestyle business? Or sell it to a competitor and take another swing at the fences? Social audience analytics and ad targeting startup SocialRank chose the latter and is going for glory. Today, SocialRank announced it’s sold its business, brand, assets, and …

SmartNews raises $92M at a $1.2B valuation

Looks like there’s still money to be made in news aggregation — at least according to the investors backing the news app SmartNews. The company is announcing the close of a $92 million round of funding at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The funding was led by Japan Post Capital Co. and ACA Investments, with participation from Globis Capital Partners …

Salesforce, Apple partnership begins to come to life

Last year at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s enormous annual customer conference, Apple and Salesforce announced the beginnings of a partnership where the two organizations would work together to enhance Salesforce products running on Apple devices. Today, the companies announced the fruits of that labor with general availability of two new tools that were first announced at last year’s event. For starters, Apple …

Daily Crunch: TikTok starts experimenting with commerce

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. TikTok tests social commerce The short-form video app said it’s allowing some users to add links to e-commerce sites (or any other destination) to their profile, …

Spotify confirms it’s testing real-time lyrics synced to music

With the launch of iOS 13, Apple added perfectly timed live lyrics to its Apple Music app. Now Spotify may do the same. Several users in international markets are now seeing a similar synced lyrics feature in their Spotify mobile app, where lyrics scroll by in time with the music. The feature is powered by Musixmatch, according to the screenshots. …

Facebook quietly built “Popular Photos”, an in-app Instagram

Facebook is copying Instagram while simultaneously invading its acquisition with branding and links back to the mothership. TechCrunch has spotted Facebook testing a feature called Popular Photos, which affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected pics from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience that feels like the Instagram …