Twitter is testing a Twitter Lite Android app, first in the Philippines

 Twitter today has nearly four times as many monthly active users outside the U.S. as it does in its home market — 260 million versus 68 million — and this week it quietly launched a new app in an effort to boost those numbers further. The social network is testing a Android app for Twitter Lite, a native app version of a mobile web site Twitter launched earlier this year that… Read More

Microsoft confirms plans for a new flagship store in Regent Street opposite Apple

 Shopping may be turning into an increasingly virtual experience, with people buying goods online and through apps, but there is no denying the power of a physical in-store experience — a lesson Microsoft is taking to heart. Today the company announced it will be opening a new flagship store in London — just a stone’s throw from the Apple flagship store. Read More

Facebook design head bullish on voice, dodges questions on voice apps and hardware

 Facebook has been reportedly working on a video chat device and a smart speaker that would use a new voice interface, to compete against the likes of Amazon and Google in the race to control your living room; and it’s also been testing as a voice search feature for its app. Today, the company’s head of design, Luke Woods, came out bullish on the promise of voice commands, squirmed… Read More

Google debuts Tez, a mobile wallet and payments app for India

 After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, today Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and search giant has launched Tez, a new mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers. “Send money… Read More

Samsung launches $300M autonomous driving fund, puts $90M into TTTech

 Not to be outpaced in the connected car market by other tech giants, today the world’s largest smartphone maker, Samsung, announced two major pieces of news to take its automotive strategy up a gear. It has launched the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund, a $300 million fund to back startups and other interesting bets in the automotive market. And as a first investment out of that… Read More

Facebook is testing a feature for mentorships between users

 Earlier this year, Facebook signalled a plan to move into LinkedIn’s territory with the launch of job advertising. Now it appears to be taking another step to help develop the professional you. TechCrunch has learned that Facebook is testing a way to use its social network to link up users who are looking for mentorships, either as mentors or mentees. Our first look at the mentoring… Read More

Fully autonomous drone maker Airobotics nabs $32.5M, expands into defense

 Airobotics, a startup building autonomous drones for the enterprise sector that do not require humans to get involved in any aspect of operating them, has picked up $32.5 million in funding to expand its business into defense and homeland security, and to expand its business globally. The Series C round was led by BlueRun Ventures China, with participation also from Microsoft Ventures… Read More

Amazon’s Souq acquires Wing.ae to expand Prime-style same and next-day delivery

 Earlier this year, Amazon jump-started its business in the Middle East by paying $580 million to acquire Souq.com, an Amazon-style marketplace based out of Dubai. Today, Amazon and Souq are making another acquisition to build out the logistics that will underpin that operation’s growth: Souq has acquired Wing.ae, a startup that is building out a network for Prime-style same-day and… Read More

Prowler.io nabs $13M for its new approach to decision making in AI

 As we continue to see a wide proliferation of artificial intelligence-based startups come to market, one of the persistent and big questions has been is whether an AI system will ever be able to make decisions as well as a human can. A startup out of Cambridge called Prowler.io is developing a new kind of decision-making platform based on probabilistic modelling, reinforcement learning and… Read More

Via raises $250M led by Daimler to bring its carpooling technology to Europe

 As outsized ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft continue to build out their taxi-style marketplaces largely based around connecting individual passengers to individual drivers, a startup focused squarely on the carpooling opportunity has raised a large round of funding to expand outside of the U.S. Via — which has developed a shuttle-based carpooling service that it offers directly… Read More