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Sony’s new Xperia flagship shoots 4K HDR videos

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:52 PM PST

 Sony always had an odd sort of relationship with the smartphone. Sure, it’s one of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies, but it’s never really cracked the code with its Xperia devices. Really, the company’s phones tend to feel more like a showcase for its latest camera technologies than truly competitive devices. The XZ2 is unlikely to change any of that,… Read More

Tencent and JD.com each take minority stakes in Chinese retail group Better Life

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:45 PM PST

 Long-time collaborators Tencent Holdings and JD.com have each bought minority stakes in Better Life, a Chinese retail conglomerate. According to a filing made on Friday by Better Life, which is traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Tencent paid 886.9 million RMB (about $140 million) for a 6% stake, while JD.com took a 5% stake for 739.1 million RMB ($117 million). Read More

Revolut broke even in December, now has 1.5 million customers

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:01 PM PST

 Fintech startup Revolut can’t stop and won’t stop growing. The company has had an amazing month of December with a huge increase in the total volume of transactions and signups. Because of that, Revolut broke even in December for the first time ever. The company told me that it wasn’t just a lucky month and January is looking good as well. Revolut announced that it had reached… Read More

Congress should close the loophole allowing warrantless digital car searches

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:10 PM PST

 As “connected cars” become increasingly linked to people’s digital identities, there is a risk that police will use this exception to conduct digital searches without warrants. Congress should close this loophole. Read More

Nokia acquires Unium, a mesh WiFi startup that works with Google Fiber, as part of big home WiFi push

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:46 AM PST

 While Nokia’s former handset business forges ahead with its new device strategy under licensee HMD, Nokia itself has taken one more step to build out its business with carriers in a new wave of services. To coincide with MWC in Barcelona and a bigger step into the WiFi business, the company today announced that it has acquired Unium, a startup out of Seattle that builds technology for… Read More

The rise and rise of supergiant rounds

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:00 AM PST

 With more money flowing into a shrinking number of deals, the average startup funding round is getting bigger. And it’s not by a small margin, either. Supergiant funding rounds are coming to dominate the funding landscape at all stages. Here we take a look at this growing phenomenon, what it means and what might be happening “under the hood” in supergiant seed rounds. Read More

Samsung’s AR Emoji taps creepy avatars and Disney characters to compete with Animoji

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:43 AM PST

 We’ve known for a while that Samsung’s been planning an Animoji competitor for its latest handset. Now that we’ve actually seen (the admittedly clunkily named) AR Emoji in action, we can testify to the fact that it’s some combination of compelling and creepy. That last part first. Like the iPhone X, the Galaxy S9 takes advantage of its on-board face scanning technology… Read More

A ‘Black Panther’ moment

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:21 AM PST

 This week we’re bringing you a special edition of CTRL+T, the podcast that examines TechCrunch stories through a cultural lens. You might have heard that Marvel released a film called Black Panther last week and it saw near-record crowds descend on theaters all over the world. The CTRL+T podcast team was among them. We headed to Oakland on an unseasonably cold-for-California evening… Read More

Samsung’s DeX docking station gets revamped, turning a smartphone into a trackpad

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:00 AM PST

 If you were having any doubts about Samsung’s commitment to its DeX, consider them assuaged. The company introduced its smartphone docking hardware with the Galaxy S8 and has talked up a new version for every big phone release since then — and today’s big Galaxy S9 reveal is no different. We were pretty lukewarm on the idea — or at least skeptical of how big a niche such… Read More

With the Galaxy S9, Samsung put the fingerprint sensor where it belongs

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:00 AM PST

 The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a beautiful phone with a critical flaw. The fingerprint sensor is in the wrong damn spot. A phone is only as good as its usability and, to me, the S8 is crippled with its fingerprint sensor located off center. It drives me mad but Samsung finally righted the wrong with the S9. Samsung just announced the latest Galaxy phone and we spent some time with it. It’s… Read More

The Samsung Galaxy S9 arrives March 16 for $720, with AR emojis, real-time translation and a better camera

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:00 AM PST

 Samsung didn’t leave too much up to the imagination this time out. The hardware giant took a little wind out of its own sails back at CES when it announced it would be launching its latest flagship sometime this month. And then, of course, the invites went out, bearing a giant number “9.” Read More

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 wants to turn the camera into a new home screen

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:00 AM PST

 The Galaxy S8 and S8+ already had one of the better smartphone cameras in the industry, and the Galaxy S9 and S9+ both seem to be top contenders to secure Samsung a place among the best options out there in 2018, too. But the most interesting thing about the camera might just be how central it is to the S9 and its launch. A home away from home(screen) Samsung is fully aware that people spend a… Read More

Samsung MWC 2018 Liveblog

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 08:17 AM PST

 Mobile World Congress isn’t always a huge show for Samsung (last year we got a couple of tablets and some vague 5G news), but this year the company’s not messing around. Between the many teasers and seemingly endless deluge of leaks, the Galaxy S9 is all but announced at this point. Even so, once of the nice things about the company is that it always seems to have a little… Read More

Watch Samsung’s MWC conference live right here

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 08:08 AM PST

 Samsung’s press conference at MWC in Barcelona is happening today. The conference starts at 6 PM CET (5 PM GMT, 12 PM EST, 9 AM PST). You can also check out our liveblog to get our commentary on Samsung’s news. And of course, everybody is waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. Details about the company’s new flagship devices already leaked, but we don’t know much… Read More

HMD unveils its new slate of Nokia Android smartphones starting at $85

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:29 AM PST

 Nokia — in its newest iteration as a licensed brand of HMD — is a long way off from its glory days, the years when it not only set the pace for innovation in the mobile phone market, but also led it as the world’s biggest handset maker. Today, the company took its latest step in rebuilding itself as it unveiled a slate of Android-powered smartphones — the Nokia 1, the… Read More

HMD/Nokia’s smartphones join Google’s Android One program ‘leading the charge’

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:18 AM PST

 Alongside HMD’s big bet on reviving the legendary Nokia brand and business through a licensing deal and a new wave of handsets that it is unveiling today at MWC in Barcelona, the company also announced another interesting piece of news: it has entered a new partnership with Google, where HMD/Nokia is now a leading participant in Google’s Android One — a program where Google… Read More

Nokia 8110’s slider ‘Matrix’ feature phone returns with 4G and a €79 price tag

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:08 AM PST

 Nokia’s 8110 — the distinctive ‘candy bar’ feature phone with a slider opening — was once the phone that everyone wanted but no one could afford, made popular through the Matrix film franchise. Now HMD, the company that has the license to make Nokia phones, is hoping for a hit by bringing it back. Today, at MWC in Barcelona, Nokia officially took the wraps off the… Read More

Watch HMD unveil Nokia phones live right here

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:01 AM PST

 HMD is holding a press conference at MWC in Barcelona to showcase some Nokia-branded phones. The conference starts at 4:00 PM CET (3:00 PM GMT, 10:00 AM EST). HMD licenses the Nokia brand so that the company can release smartphones under the Nokia brand. It isn’t the company we used to know and love, but it still says Nokia. So get ready for some new Nokia phones running Android. You… Read More

ZTE will deliver the first Android Oreo (Go Edition) handset for the U.S. market in March

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:00 AM PST

 Things have been mostly quiet on the Android Go front since Google announced the low-power mobile operating system back in May — aside, of course, from an unexpected name chance to the decidedly less catchy. Android Oreo (Go Edition). One of the things that’s made the offering unique from the start, however, is that unlike most of these sorts of lite offerings targeted at the… Read More

ZTE brings premium features to its mid-range Blade line

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:00 AM PST

 ZTE’s one of those workhorse smartphone companies you don’t hear much about, aside from the occasional misguided flirtation with a bizarre form factor, a la the dual-screen Axon M. But the Chinese handset manufacturer still powers away and manages to produce some solid handsets at bargain bin prices. The company hasn’t officially announced pricing on the Blade V9 —… Read More