Category Archives: Mobile

Instagram’s IGTV copies TikTok’s AI, Snapchat’s design

Instagram conquered Stories, but it’s losing the battle for the next video formats. TikTok is blowing up with an algorithmically suggested vertical one-at-a-time feed featuring videos of users remixing each other’s clips. Snapchat Discover’s 2 x infinity grid has grown into a canvas for multi-media magazines, themed video collections and premium mobile TV shows. Instagram’s IGTV…feels like a flop in comparison. Launched a year ago, it’s full of crudely cropped and imported viral trash from around the web. The long-form video hub that lives inside both a […]

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India’s ride-hailing firm Ola is now in the credit card business, too

A day after India’s largest wallet app Paytm entered the credit card business, local ride-hailing giant Ola is following suit. Ola has inked a deal with state-run SBI and Visa to issue as many as 10 million credit cards in the next three and a half years, it said today. The move will help Visa and SBI (State Bank of India) acquire more customers in India, where most transactions are still bandied out over cash. For Ola, which rivals Uber in India, the foray into credit cards […]

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India’s most popular services are becoming super apps

Truecaller, an app that helps users screen strangers and robocallers, will soon allow users in India, its largest market, to borrow up to a few hundred dollars. The crediting option will be the fourth feature the nine-year-old app adds to its service in the last two years. So far it has added to the service the ability to text, record phone calls and mobile payment features, some of which are only available to users in India. Of the 140 million daily active users of Truecaller, 100 million […]

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OnePlus CEO Pete Lau will discuss the future of mobile at Disrupt SF

Founded in late 2013, OnePlus did the impossible, coming seemingly out of nowhere to take on some of the biggest players in mobile. The company has made a name by embracing a fawning fanbase and offering premium smartphone features at budget pricing, even as the likes of Samsung and Apple routinely crack the $1,000 barrier on their own flagships. OnePlus’ history is awash with clever promotions and fan service, all while exceeding expectations in markets like the U.S., where fellow Chinese smartphone makers have run afoul of […]

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Journey launches its real-time group ‘Peloton For Meditation’

Sitting silently with your eyes closed isn’t fun but it’s good for you…so you probably don’t meditate as often as you’d like. In that sense it’s quite similar to exercise. But people do show up when prodded by the urgency and peer pressure of scheduled group cycling or aerobics classes. What’s still in the way is actually hauling your lazy butt to the gym, hence the rise of Peloton’s in-home stationary bike with attached screen streaming live and on-demand classes. My butt is particularly lazy, but I’ve […]

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Nine lessons on how Niantic reached a $4B valuation

We’ve captured much of Niantic’s ongoing story in the first three parts of our EC-1, from its beginnings as an “entrepreneurial lab” within Google, to its spin-out as an independent company and the launch of Pokémon GO, to its ongoing focus on becoming a platform for others to build augmented reality products upon. The Niantic EC-1 It’s not an origin story that serves as an easily replicable blueprint — but if we zoom out a bit, what’s to be learned? A few key themes stuck with me […]

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Acast launches Acast Access to make paywalled podcasts available on any player

Podcast monetization company Acast is launching a new way for publishers to put their podcasts behind a paywall. Until now, podcasts have not been well-suited to subscription paywalls, due to the fact that they’re distributed via RSS feeds that can be accessed by any podcast player. So instead we’ve seen workarounds like Substack building a web-based audio player and TechCrunch releasing all our podcasts free while putting transcripts behind the Extra Crunch paywall. And then there’s Luminary, the subscription podcast app that’s faced serious backlash for including unaffiliated […]

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Sean Parker’s Brigade/Causes acquired by govtech app Countable

Causes grew to a jaw-dropping 200 million users as one of the first 10 Facebook platform apps. Started by Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, it was meant to turn a generation into activists and philanthropists. Causes acquired Votizen to augment shallow clicktivism with a way to remind friends to vote. But after Facebook went mobile and the web platform waned, Parker arranged Causes’ sale to his newer civic tech effort Brigade, for which he’d led a $9.3 million Series A and later fed more money. Brigade’s ballot guide […]

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SeatGeek names former Tumblr and NYT exec Brian Murphy as CTO

Ticketing startup SeatGeek has a new CTO. Brian Murphy previously held the same position at Tumblr (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon Media) and has also served as vice president of engineering at The New York Times and senior director of technology at Condé Nast. “Brian is an incredible leader and team-builder who has overseen engineering teams for some remarkable companies,” said SeatGeek co-founder and CEO Jack Groetzinger in a statement. “He is a perfect fit for this role at SeatGeek and embodies the values we […]

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Old Facebook finally wants you to ‘Meet New Friends’

Facebook’s social graph is aging, full of long-lost acquaintances and hometown friends you don’t care much about seeing in the News Feed any more. But Facebook is now testing a pivot away from its core identity of connecting you with existing friends so it can revitalize the social graph and keep people coming back. Facebook’s “Meet New Friends” lets you browse people from shared communities such as your school, workplace or city who’ve also opted in to the feature. Announced today at Facebook’s F8 conference, Meet New […]

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