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iPhone hard hit as global smartphone shipments continue nosedive

The smartphone industry is in rough shape. Sundar Pichai used the word “headwinds” to discuss the company’s difficulties moving Pixel 3 units, but Canalys’ latest report is far more blunt, describing the situation as a “freefall.”

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.

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.

Spotify’s leanback instant listening app Stations hits iOS

Spotify has launched its instant listening app Stations on iOS, but only in Australia for the time being. The release comes nearly a year and a half after the Stations app first arrived on the market, initially for Android users in Australia. Dubbed an “experiment,” the app allows users to jump right into streaming instead of having to curate their own playlists or stations, or save favorite music to their library.

Proof of Capital is a new $50M blockchain fund that’s backed by HTC

It’s often said that the dramatic fall of crypto prices last year ushered in a new era for technology-focused startups in the blockchain space, and the same argument can be made for the venture capitalists who fund them. Proof of Capital is the latest fund to emerge after it officially announced a maiden $50 million fund today.

Foursnap? Snapchat tries ‘Status’ location check-ins

Today’s teens missed the Foursquare era, so Snapchat is giving them another shot with a new feature to aid in-person meetups. Snapchat is now testing Status, an option to share to the Snap Map a Bitmoji depicting what you’re up to at a certain place. You could show your little avatar playing video games, watching TV, asking friends to hit you up and more. And Snapchat will compile these into a private diary of what you’ve been doing, called Passport

Torch takes $10M to teach empathy to executives

When everyone always tells you “yes,” you can become a monster. Leaders especially need honest feedback to grow. “If you look at rich people like Donald Trump and you neglect them, you get more Donald Trumps,” says Torch co-founder and CEO Cameron Yarbrough about our gruff president. His app wants to make executive coaching (a polite word for therapy) part of even the busiest executive’s schedule. Torch conducts a 360-degree interview with a client and their employees to assess weaknesses, lays out improvement goals and provides one-on-one video chat sessions with trained counselors.

T-Mobile’s mobile TV service to include Viacom channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central &...

T-Mobile and Viacom this morning announced a deal that will bring Viacom’s TV channels — like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount and others — to T-Mobile’s new mobile video service planned for later this year. The agreement will allow T-Mobile to offer live, linear feeds of the Viacom channels as well as on-demand viewing.

Verizon flips on 5G for phones in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis

Verizon (which owns the company that owns TechCrunch) announced today that it has activated its 5G Ultra Wideband Network in parts of Minneapolis and Chicago. The news is the first step for the carrier’s plan to bring the technology to north of 30 U.S. cities at some point this year.

Snapchat launches Scan, its AR utility platform

Point and shoot? No, point and interact. Snapchat can now help with your homework. The app’s camera is becoming the foundation of an augmented reality developer platform known as “Scan”. Snap today announced partnerships with Photomath to add the ability to solve math problems, and Giphy for detecting objects which then spawn related GIFs on screen. Scan will roll out to all Snapchat users soon, and developers interested in joining the platform can contact Snap.

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