Google Maps Incognito mode starts rolling out for Android users

We’ve known for a while now that Google was bringing the “Incognito mode” concept to Maps, allowing you to run searches and find routes without them automatically being tied to your account history. If you’ve been digging around trying to find the option without any luck, you weren’t just missing it. Though first mentioned back in May at Google I/O, …

8th Wall’s new Cloud Editor helps customers quickly build mobile AR experiences

The world of phone-based AR has involved a lot of promises, but the future that’s developed has so far been more iterative and less platform shift-y. For startups exclusively focused on mobile AR, there’s been some soul-searching to find ways to bring more lightweight experiences to life that don’t require as much friction or commitment from users. 8th Wall is …

For the first time in two years, the smartphone market shows signs of life

All is not lost for smartphone manufacturers. On the heels of two years’ of global stagnation, the category is finally showing some signs of life. Much of the bounce back comes as manufacturers are working to correct for dulled consumer interest. I wouldn’t put too much weight in the numbers right now, as they’re little more than an uptick. Numbers …

Apple Card users can now finance iPhone purchases for 24 months, interest-free

It’s not quite an “Apple Prime” subscription, but it’s compelling. Apple on Wednesday introduced a new program that will allow Apple Card users to finance their iPhone purchases for 24 months, without paying interest. The program aims to appeal to consumers who frequently upgrade their iPhone to the latest model, but often turn to their carrier to finance those purchases. …

Facebook shares rise on strong Q3, users up 2% to 2.45B

Despite ongoing public relations crises, Facebook kept growing in Q3 2019, demonstrating that media backlash does not necessarily equate to poor business performance. Facebook reached 2.45 billion monthly users, up 1.65 percent from 2.41 billion in Q2 2019 when it grew 1.6 percent, and it now has 1.62 billion daily active users, up 2 percent from 1.587 billion last quarter …

Spotify launches a dedicated Kids app for Premium Family subscribers

In a move to boost family subscriptions to its app, Spotify this morning announced the launch of a dedicated Kids application which allows children three and up to listen to their own music, both online and offline, as well as explore playlists and recommendations picked by experts, and more. The music selection is also filtered so songs won’t have explicit …

Samsung teases a clamshell foldable form factor

Last year at its developer conference, Samsung showed off an early glimpse of its upcoming foldable. In hindsight, the Galaxy Fold’s roll out could have gone more smoothly, but sometimes first gen products go that way, I suppose. At very least, it’s clear that the company won’t let a rocky start stand between it and broader foldable phone ambitions. On …

LA-based gaming studio Scopely raises $200M at a $1.7B valuation

The Los Angeles-based mobile game development studio Scopely has become America’s newest unicorn thanks to a $200 million financing, which values the company at a whopping $1.7 billion. Scopely said it would use the capital to continue its strategy of developing and acquiring new games as it looks to continue its run of six consecutive mobile games that will gross …

Facebook staff demand Zuckerberg limit lies in politcal ads

Submit campaign ads to fact checking, limit microtargeting, cap spending, observe silence periods, or at least warn users. These are the solutions Facebook employees put forward in an open letter pleading with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company leadership to address misinformation in political ads. The letter, obtained by the New York Times’ Mike Isaac, insists that “Free speech and paid …

Apple releases iOS 13.2 with Deep Fusion

Apple has released iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 for the iPhone and iPad. This update features the usual bug fixes and security improvements. But Apple is also adding a handful of new features to its operating system. First, iOS 13.2 brings a ton of new emojis. The company now officially supports Unicode 12.0. You can now create all possible combinations …

GameClub offers mobile gaming’s greatest hits for $5 per month

Apple Arcade introduced the idea of all-you-can-eat subscription-based mobile gaming to the mainstream. Google Play Pass soon followed as a way to subscribe to a sizable collection of both apps and games on Android devices. Today, a startup called GameClub is launching in the U.S. to offer an alternative. For $4.99 per month, mobile consumers will be able to access …

Here’s what the Pixel 4’s radar chip looks like

I’ve been tearing my gadgets apart for as long as I can remember. Consoles, phones, printers, whatever — I’ve always needed to see what makes it all work. Sometimes they even work when I put them back together. As soon as Google announced that the new Pixel 4 had friggin’ radar built-in for detecting hand gestures, I needed to see …

Mobile banking app Current raises $20M Series B, tops half a million users

Mobile banking app Current, which began as a teen debit card controlled by parents, expanded to offer personal checking accounts earlier this year. Now the company says it has grown to host over 500,000 accounts on its service and has closed on $20 million in Series B funding to further its growth. The round included new investors Wellington Management Company, …

Netflix launches $4 mobile-only monthly plan in Malaysia

Netflix is ready to take its lower-cost, mobile-only plan beyond India as it looks to expand the reach of its service in other international markets. The American on-demand video streaming giant launched a new price tier for users in Malaysia that would allow people in the nation to access the video service for RM 17 ($4) a month. The new …

OnePlus’ second 5G phone will be a T-Mobile exclusive

OnePlus’ 5G strategy has marked something of a shift for a company that has traditionally prided itself in a slow and steady approach to new features. Following the arrival of the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G this summer, the company is announcing its second 5G device for the U.S. market. This time, it’s opted for its longer-time carrier partner, T-Mobile. Though …

India to spend $6 billion to revive telecom operators BSNL and MTNL

India said on Wednesday it plans to spend nearly $6 billion to revive loss-making state-funded telecom operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). In a press conference, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today the Narendra Modi government has given its in-principle approval to the merger of BSNL and MTNL and infuse billions of dollars …

Streaming service Quibi sells out of its $150M in first-year ad inventory

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-only streaming service Quibi hasn’t even launched, but it’s already sold out of its $150 million first-year advertising inventory, the company announced this morning. The service, which officially debuts in April 2020, added new advertisers Discover, General Mills, T-Mobile, and Taco Bell, who join Quibi’s existing lineup of ad partners, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, ABInBev, Walmart, Progressive, and …

Huawei’s foldable Mate X is launching in China next month

Huawei was understandably cautious in the lead to the Mate X. Watching Samsung’s Galaxy problems unfolding in what seemed like slow motion caused the company to rethink its strategy. Shortly after the Fold went back to the drawing board, Huawei announced it would be doing the same in order to dot all of its Is and cross its Xs. After …

Snapchat beats in Q3, adding 7M users & revenue up 50%

The Snap-back continues. Snapchat blew past earnings expectations for a big beat in Q3, as it added 7 million daily active users this quarter to hit 210 million, up 13% year-over-year. Snap also beat on revenue, notching $446 million, which is up a whopping 50% year-over-year, at a loss of $0.04 EPS. That flew past Bloomberg’s consensus of Wall Street …

Todoist releases major update to simplify task management

Bootstrapped tech company Doist, the company behind popular task management Todoist, is releasing a major update called Todoist Foundations — the update should be rolled out over the next 24 hours. As the name suggests, it lays foundations for many new features down the road. But there are already some interesting improvements. Task lists in Todoist don’t have to be …

Daily Crunch: We review the Pixel 4

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. Pixel 4 review: Google ups its camera game Brian Heater was impressed by the improvements in Google’s latest smartphone, including camera upgrades and the Recorder app. …

YouTube founder secretly building sports fan game GreenPark

Chad Hurley is hunting for what comes after fantasy sports. He envisions a new way for fans to play by watching live and cheering for the athletes they love. Beyond a few scraps of info the YouTube co-founder would share and his new startup’s job listings revealed, we don’t know what Hurley’s game will feel like. But the company is …

Apple’s control over the App Store is no longer sustainable

Last week, Apple caved to the Chinese government and pulled an app called HKmap.live that was being used by Hong Kong protestors to crowdsource the location of police forces. While Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s stance, the move is a reminder that Apple is the only judge and jury regarding what’s acceptable in the App Store — but as …

Pixel 4 review: Google ups its camera game

Google’s first-party hardware has always been a drop in the bucket of global smartphone sales. Pixel devices have managed to crack the top five in the U.S. and Western Europe, but otherwise represent less than 1% of the overall market. It’s true, of course, that the company got a late start, largely watching on the sidelines as companies like Samsung …

MediaLab acquires messaging app Kik, expanding its app portfolio

Popular messaging app Kik is, indeed, “here to stay” following an acquisition by the Los Angeles-based multimedia holding company, MediaLab. It echoes the same message from Kik’s chief executive Tim Livingston last week when he rebuffed earlier reports that the company would shut down amid an ongoing battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Livingston had tweeted that Kik had …

The new iPhone is ugly

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to phones. Everyone scoffs at my iPhone SE, but the truth is it’s the best phone Apple ever made — a beautiful, well designed object in just about every way. But damn is the iPhone 11 Pro ugly. And so are the newest phones from Samsung …

HTC releases a cheaper blockchain phone

Whatever you might say about HTC (and believe me, there’s plenty to say), at least the company takes some fascinating chance. As newly minted CEO Yves Maitre admitted to me at Disrupt a couple of weeks back, the once mighty smartphone giant has lost the thread in recent years. But if nothing else, the Exodus project marks a glimpse at …

Tilting Point acquires game monetization startup Gondola

Tilting Point announced yesterday that it has acquired Gondola, a company that aims to increase to improve game monetization by optimizing in-game offers and video ads. Tilting Point CEO Kevin Segalla described his company’s model as “progressive publishing” — usually, mobile game developers starting working with Tilting Point because they need help with user acquisition, and then develop a deeper …

T-Mobile partners with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service Quibi

On the heels of getting the FCC’s proposal to merge with Sprint, T-Mobile announced a plan to partner with the Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi. According to statements provided to the L.A. Times, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman specifically called out T-Mobile’s “impressive 5G road map” as a good fit for the soon-to-launch streaming service. The partnership will give T-Mobile’s …

The Information will launch Ticker, a tech news app that costs $29 per year

Since it was founded by journalist Jessica Lessin in 2013, The Information has stood out in the tech news landscape for its focus on an ad-free, subscription-driven business model (a focus that seems increasingly prescient). Now, the upcoming launch of an app called Ticker suggests that the company is looking to expand its audience while maintaining that subscription model. The …