mobile

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 a 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 log in 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 u...

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...

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 pla...

Netflix is falling off a cliff

Netflix didn’t add as many subscribers as a bunch of people on Wall Street that on a quarterly basis govern whether or not it’ll be more valuable than Comcast, and that is probably a bad thing since it’s one of the primary indicators of its future potential for said finance folk. While it’s still adding subscribers (a lot of them), it fell below the forecasts it set for itself during the second quarter. This comes amid a spending spree by the company, which is looking to create a ton of original content in order to attract a wider audience and lock them into that Netflix ecosystem. That could include shows like Glow, Jessica Jones, 3%, or even feature films. But it’s still a tricky situation because it needs to be able to convert shows from that kind of crazy spend schedule into actual sub...

Apple’s App Store revenue nearly double that of Google Play in first half of 2018

Apple’s App Store continues to outpace Google Play on revenue. In the first half of the year, the App Store generated nearly double the revenue of Google Play on half the downloads, according to a new report from Sensor Tower out today. In terms of dollars and cents, that’s $22.6 billion in worldwide gross app revenue on the App Store versus $11.8 billion for Google Play – or, 1.9 times more spent on the App Store compared with what was spent on Google Play. This trend is not new. Apple’s iOS store has consistently generated more revenue than its Android counterpart for years due to a number of factors – including the fact that Android users historically have spent less on apps than iOS users, as well as the fact that there are other Android app stores consumer can shop – like the Amazon A...

Apple emoji will soon include people with curly hair, white hair and superpowers

In honor of World Emoji Day (yes, that’s a thing), Apple is previewing some of its upcoming emoji. Later this year, Apple’s emoji set will feature people with a variety of hairstyles and colors, including curly hair, red hair and white hair. What you’re about to see are simply Apple’s take on emoji that were previously approved by the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee. Folks with curly hair, rejoice! Let’s hear it for the redheads Like white on rice No hair? No problem Other fun emoji include a freezing face, peacock, mango, lobster, nazar amulet, superheroes and kangaroo. Back in March, Apple proposed new emojis to represent people with disabilities in Unicode’s next batch of emoji. Then in May, Unicode announced some of the draft candidates for its next emoji release in Q1 2019 to ...

Kapwing is Adobe for the meme generation

Need to resize a video for IGTV? Add subtitles for Twitter? Throw in sound effects for YouTube? Or collage it with other clips for the Instagram feed? Kapwing lets you do all that and more for free from a mobile browser or website. This scrappy new startup is building the vertical video era’s creative suite full of editing tools for every occasion. Pronounced “Ka-pwing,” like the sound of a ricocheted bullet, the company was founded by two former Google Image Search staffers. Now after six months of quiet bootstrapping, it’s announcing a $1.7 million seed round led by Kleiner Perkins. Kapwing hopes to rapidly adapt to shifting memescape and its fragmented media formats, seizing on opportunities like creators needing to turn their long-form landscape videos vertical for Instagram’s recently...

Moment Pro Camera app brings big camera controls to your phone

Moment, the company that brought you the best glass for your mobile device, now gives you DSLR-like controls with their Pro Camera app. Features include full manual adjustment over ISO, shutter speed, white balance, image format and more. It should be noted that if you don’t have a shiny new device you won’t be able to use the app to its full potential as some of its key features include 3D touch, dual lens control, RAW image format, 120 and 240 fps and 4K resolution. Moment says the app is for “anyone looking for pro, manual controls on their phone.” Being one of TechCrunch’s resident image makers, I figured I should take the app out for a spin and pit it against the stock camera app. I enlisted my photogenic friend, Jackie, to be my muse. Scrolling through the manual settings was very ea...

HTC’s blockchain phone is real, and it’s arriving later this year

HTC isn’t gone just yet. Granted, it’s closer than it’s ever been before, with a headcount of fewer than 5,000 employees worldwide — that’s down from 19,000 in 2013. But in spite of those “market competition, product mix, pricing, and recognized inventory write-downs,” the company’s still trucking on. And while its claim to being “the leading innovator in smart phone devices,” is up for debate, the Taiwanese manufacturer has never shied away from a compelling gimmick. Announced earlier this year, the Exodus definitely fits the bill. The “world’s first major blockchain phone” is still shrouded in mystery, though the company did reveal a couple of key details this week at RISE in Hong Kong intended to keep folks interested while it irons out the rest of the product’s hiccups. Chief among the...

Toast raises $115M at a $1.4B valuation to create a one-stop management tool for restaurants

While massive restaurant chains might have resources to build out their own management systems or integrate with larger point-of-sale providers, Toast — a provider of tools for restaurants to manage their business — is raising a big round of funding to go after everyone else. Now Toast is a business valued at $1.4 billion thanks to a fresh infusion of $115 million in its latest round of funding. At its core, Toast is a point-of-sale for restaurants, though over time it’s added more and more services on top of that. Now the goal is to be not just a point of sale, but offer a whole system to help restaurants operate efficiently. That can range from the actual point of sale all the way to loyalty programs and reporting on that information. The round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, with p...

With Lime teaming up Uber, can rival Bird afford to go it alone?

Yesterday, we learned that 18-month-old, Bay Area-based electric scooter rental company Lime is joining forces with the ride-hailing giant Uber, which is both investing in the company as part of a $335 million round and planning promote Lime in its mobile app. According to Bloomberg, Uber also plans to plaster its logo on Lime’s scooters. Lime isn’t being acquired outright, in short, but it looks like it will be. At least, Uber struck a similar arrangement with the electric bike company JUMP bikes before spending $200 million to acquire the company in spring. There are as many questions raised by this kind of tie-up as answered, but the biggest may be what the pact means for Lime’s fiercest rival in the e-scooter wars, 15-month-old L.A.-based Bird, who several sources tell us also discusse...

Google Pay rolls out support for peer-to-peer payments and mobile ticketing

Google is making several updates to Google Pay, its recently-rebranded service for all its different payments tools. Most of these updates were announced earlier this year, but now, Google says they’re actually going live in the app. One of the additions is peer-to-peer payments. You could already pay or request money from a friend through Google Pay Send, but as of today, you can also do it into the main Google Pay app. Gerardo Capiel, Director of Product Management at Google Pay, noted that this makes it easier to split the bill with your friends — if you bought something with Google Pay, you can tap on the purchase and then request payment from up to five people. Since Google is basically combining two apps,  it sounds like Google Pay Send isn’t long for this world — as Capiel put it, “...