Tech

Alcatel’s $100 Android Go phone hits the U.S. next week
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At MWC, ZTE promised that its Tempo Go would be the first device to bring Android Oreo (Go Edition) to the States. But, well, stuff happened, and the company’s had a lot bigger things to deal with in the intervening months. Alcatel, however, is on the case with the 1X.  TCL announced this morning that the budget device will be hitting Amazon some time next week, priced at an extremely affordable $100, unlocked. It will also be arriving at Best Buy and Walmart soon after, no doubt taking advantage of the fact that it’s the only Android Go handset available in the U.S. for the time being. The specs are unsurprisingly uninspiring. There’s a 960 x 480 5.3-inch screen, a MediaTek chip and 1GB of RAM. The good news, however, is that the new, lightweight version of Google’s mobile operat [...]
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Google Fi adds support for the Moto G6, LG’s G7 and V35 phones
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Project Fi, Google’s wireless service, is getting support for a number of new phones today. Until now, if you wanted to switch to Fi, the only officially supported phones were Google’s own Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, the Nexus 5X and 6P, as well as the Moto X4 and its Android One variant. Today, Google is adding the Moto G6, as well as LG’s G7 ThinQ and V35 ThinQ phones to this list. Since Google’s network is a bit different from its competitors, thanks to Fi’s ability to switch between the networks of T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular to provide users access to the strongest signal in a given area, the company has always taken a very strict approach as to which phones it officially supported. If you want to make the switch to Fi, which also recently introduc [...]
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Plex adds support for podcasts, debuts personalized mobile apps
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At CES in January, TechCrunch broke the news that media software maker Plex was planning to expand its service with the addition of new media content, starting with podcasts. Today, it’s making good on that promise by launching support for podcasts into beta, along with a whole new look and more customization options for its Plex mobile apps. While Plex got its start as a software application for organizing people’s home media collections, it’s been expanding over the past couple of years to add new features in support of cord cutters who want to watch TV via their antenna, and record those shows. It also acquired the streaming news startup Watchup in order to add a dedicated news hub within its app. Earlier this year, the company spoke of its ambitions to continue addi [...]
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Apple is releasing iOS 11.4 with support for Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2 and more
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Apple this afternoon will officially release the latest version of its iOS software for your iPhone and iPad, iOS 11.4, which at last adds support for Messages in iCloud, along with other new features, including most notably, AirPlay 2 and an update that allows two HomePod speakers to work together as a stereo pair. Messages in iCloud was first announced a year ago at WWDC 2017 as a way of keeping conversations up-to-date across all your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. Its introduction means you’ll now be able to access your entire Messages history when you set up a new Apple device, and, when you delete a message from one device, that change syncs to all your devices. In addition to the benefit of being able to access your entire conversation history, Me [...]
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Dog-sitting startup Rover just raised $155M
techcrunch.com
Rover, a dog-walking and dog-boarding service that merged with DogVacay around this time last year, is now the second of such startups this year to raise a massive new round of funding with its announcement of a $155 million financing round. While competitor Wag has become a juggernaut, there seems to be room for both a second player and the potential to outmaneuver Wag even with its massive influx of capital. Both DogVacay and Rover had a very similar model and eventually merged in an all-stock deal, creating a more substantial competitor for Wag. The round consisted of $125 million in equity financing led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, with a $30 million credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the round values Rov [...]
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Andy Rubin’s Essential is reportedly up for sale and has cancelled work on its next smartphone
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Essential, the smartphone company helmed by Android co-creator Andy Rubin, is trying to sell itself and has cancelled development of its next phone, Bloomberg reports. The report states that Essential has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise them on potentially selling itself. The company raised $330 million from investors, including Rubin’s own Playground Global, Tencent Holdings and the Amazon Alexa Fund. The news of a potential sale accompanies news that the company has ended development on its next smartphone, a major blow for a company aimed to challenge companies like Apple and Samsung with a device that it hoped would hold its own. “We always have multiple products in development at the same time and we embrace canceling some in favor of the ones we think will be bigg [...]
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Some low-cost Android phones shipped with malware built in
techcrunch.com
Avast has found that many low-cost, non-Google-certifed Android phones shipped with a strain of malware built in that could send users to download apps they didn’t intend to access. The malware, called called Cosiloon, overlays advertisements over the operating system in order to promote apps or even trick users into downloading apps. Devices effected shipped from ZTE, Archos and myPhone. The app consists of a dropper and a payload. “The dropper is a small application with no obfuscation, located on the /system partition of affected devices. The app is completely passive, only visible to the user in the list of system applications under ‘settings.’ We have seen the dropper with two different names, ‘CrashService’ and ‘ImeMess,'” wrote Avast. [...]
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Mobility startups: Apply to exhibit for free as a TC Top Pick at Disrupt SF ‘18
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Mobility is one of the most rapidly advancing technologies going, and we’re searching for the rising stars of early-stage mobility startups to apply as a TC Top Pick for Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7 at Moscone Center West. It’s a competitive application process, but if TechCrunch editors designate your company as a Top Pick, you get to exhibit for free in Startup Alley — the show floor and heartbeat of every Disrupt event. Besides, who doesn’t love free? Mobile tech is on the cusp of a revolution, and we’re interested in startups focused on everything it entails — autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones, security — or something else altogether. Flying cars, anyone? Exhibiting in Startup Alley will expose your startup to more than 10,000 attendees, including potent [...]
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