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February 26 2014

19:30

February 19 2014

17:19
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February 06 2014

17:00
ProFlowers Comes To iPhone Via A Modern, Simple Gifting App
pf_app_download_hero_imageSincerely, the mobile gifting company acquired by Provide Commerce in November, is introducing the first new application to emerge from their combined forces today, with a new app designed to make ordering flowers from your smartphone as easy as requesting an Uber, Sincerely founder Matt Brezina says. The app, ProFlowers, leverages the Provide Commerce-owned flower and plant distribution network, as well as Sincerely’s expertise in designing modern, mobile gifting applications. Prior to the acquisition, Sincerely had been moving into the area of physical gifts, selected, sent and paid for via your smartphone. Initially, that came in the form of Sincerely’s app for sending gift boxes, called Sesame. But word was, the plan was to expand into other sorts of physical gifts as well, including things like wine and flowers. Brezina explains he’s wanted to build a great app for sending flowers from the iPhone since starting Sincerely several years ago. “It is incredible that in 2014 a good flower app didn’t exist!,” he says. There are, of course, mobile apps for ordering flowers today, like that from the other big-name flower network 1-800-Flowers, but I’d have to agree with Brezina here – it’s pretty average at best. Meanwhile, newer competitor H.Bloom appears to now be more focused on business and luxury floral services – its consumer-facing iPhone application has disappeared from the App Store. As for the new ProFlowers app, it does have the resemblance of something built by a startup, rather than an older, more traditional company. The app has an iOS 7 look-and-feel, and offers simple imagery, and a pared down selection of products so as not to be overwhelming. Today there are 40 SKUs, some curated gift options, and it offers address importing and cards with pre-written sentiments. Checkout is easy too, with an option for credit card scanning to speed up the process of paying for your order. The bouquets and plants are named after famous city and national parks, like Funston, Golden Gate, Bryant, Millenium, Shinjuku and others, and users are directed to the appropriate options by picking a sentiment they wish to express – like “Desired,” “Encouraged,” “Celebrated,” “Appreciated,” or “Comforted.” This narrows down the selection even further, allowing you to more quickly choose the right gift. ProFlowers also ties into Sincerely’s “Thoughtfulness Engine” – the name it gave its birthday reminder tool, tied into Facebook. Meanwhile, users of other Sincerely products, like Sincerely Ink, Postagram, and Sesame will also see

January 27 2014

22:39
Dark Sky Is Ready To Be The Default Weather App On Your iPhone’s Homescreen
dark-skyDark Sky, easily one of the better weather applications on iOS, rolled out an update today that expands its focus beyond rain predictions to become a more comprehensive weather app which offers both 24-hour and 7-day forecasts, global maps, and more. The app was also rewritten from scratch for iOS 7, the company notes. For those unfamiliar, Dark Sky began its life as a Kickstarter project back in 2011, with a goal of offering “hyperlocal” weather information. That is, instead of just showing you what percent chance of rain there is in your area, Dark Sky looks at your exact location, then predicts the rain down to a minute. For example, it may tell you “Light rain starting in 20 min,” and offer a graph of what that future rain pattern will look like in terms of how light or heavy the rain will later become. In addition, the app’s beautiful but simple design won it support and accolades from its user base, where it has consistently earned top reviews on the iTunes App Store. Its four-star rating in the past seems to only have been brought down by those who complain of battery concerns, or of accuracy. Of course, there may be times where Dark Sky misses the mark, but overall, the app is more “surprisingly accurate” than not, at least in my personal experience living in a humid locale, as well as in the majority of app store reviews. And as for those battery concerns, co-creator Adam Grossman tells us that each time they’ve investigated complaints, it didn’t end up being the Dark Sky app that was the problem. After all, the app uses battery-draining GPS for location accuracy only when launched. For notifications, it uses cellular triangulation instead. To date, Dark Sky has excelled its weather predictions, made possible by the backend weather service the company built called Forecast.io. This API, also open to third-party developers, offers current conditions, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and day-by-day forecasts, and more. Its data is sourced from a number of places, including NOAA (USA), worldwide METAR weather reports, the US Navy, the UK Met Office, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, and others. Aggregated together, the service provides a statistically more accurate forecast for any given location. However, Dark Sky is currently only available in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, due to the costs associated with licensing radar data. Fortunately, in the U.S., radar data is free,

January 15 2014

23:06
Revamped Polaroid Camera App Polamatic Makes You Nostalgic For Your Awful Instant Photos
polamaticHoping to capitalize on our collective nostalgia for the Polaroid brand, San Francisco-based indie app developer Dana Shakiba of Appadana, a self-confessed “Polaroid enthusiast,” set out to launch a mobile photo app, Polamatic, that would reintroduce the idea of the classic white-bordered instant photo to a younger generation of smartphone users. Today, the company has rolled out the first update to its iOS app since 2012, which has now been completely rebuilt from scratch, adding new borders, filters, and text features. I know what you’re thinking: we already have Instagram, right? Sure. But that hasn’t stopped a bunch of other startups from launching photo-filtering apps of their own – some, even building businesses around their creations, like Aviary has done with its photo-filtering developer SDK. Polamatic at least has this element of fun to it – you’re kind of screwing up your pictures on purpose, and somehow this feels like an artistic endeavor. Shakiba says that getting Polaroid’s blessing to create this app was a difficult process back in the day. “I literally was rejected by the marketing and legal teams of Polaroid numerous times before being able to secure a meeting with the President of Polaroid, Scott Hardy. He loved our ideas and the app itself,” Shakiba tells us. Today, the company sells the app for $0.99, and as an authorized Polaroid licensee, has a revenue share agreement in place with the company on the sales of its products, which are developed in close partnership with Polaroid. The app was first released on iOS back in May 2012, where it hadn’t been updated since December that year. Now, that changes. With Polamatic 4.0, the largest amount of work went into creating the Polaroid filter presents. The app cleverly tries to mirror the experience of using a real Polaroid camera itself, which as you may recall (or so your parents have told you, kids!), was kind of unpredictable. You never quite knew how the image would develop. In the app, which comes with 36 filter presets that attempt to capture the soft glow of the Polaroid film, there are those that include random emulsion streaks and textures which simulate the impact of dirty rollers in an actual camera. In addition, the company gathered up a huge collection of Polaroid pictures, and scanned in those with the most unusual borders to offer Polamatic users something beyond just the generic white frame found in competing apps.

December 13 2013

17:16
Last Minute Holiday Shopping? San Francisco-Based SixDoors Raises $600K To Courier Gifts, Well, To Your Door
Six_Doors-55Same-day mobile shopping app SixDoors has been iterating on its idea of local product delivery since August, but only with the latest version released just weeks ago has the app really found its footing. With the new release, SixDoors has since doubled its user base, and now offers San Francisco residents a way to shop from over 60 local retailers from their iPhone in order to have their items delivered in as fast as 90 minutes, or within any other time slot they desire.

December 12 2013

18:06

No More Private Foursquare Check-ins? No Problem. Pins For iPhone Lets You Save & Share Your Favorite Places

Foursquare did away with private check-ins this week, finally ending support for what had been, for a long time, one of the service’s most-neglected features: the ability to privately track places you’ve visited for personal use. Today, a new iOS app simply called Pins is offering an alternative with the debut of a service that lets you collect, organize and optionally share lists of places you want to remember.

This is not the first time something like this has been tried, which means even for a small app like Pins, it faces a lot of competition. Everplaces, PinDrop, Drawer, and even to some extent Pinterest, with its new “Place” pins, have been working to make collections of places easy to create, track and share.

But Pins has a few features that make it stand out. For starters, when you build your collections of places in its app – like, “favorite sushi spots,” “best art galleries,” “date night go-to’s,” “restaurants to try,” etc. – you can hashtag each pin, which allows you to add the venue to multiple lists on the fly. For instance, a great Italian place might get an “Italian” hashtag, while it’s also added to another list of favorite downtown restaurants.

Your friends can then follow these color-coded hashtags, unless you’ve made your pins private. In addition, you can allow anyone to follow your lists by making your pins public, instead of just friends-only.

The app also offers a nifty trick with Pins’ support for “picture pins.” This process makes it easier to create pins, by importing photos from your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Another option pulls in your check-ins from Facebook. You can now view a venue’s Yelp page, check-in on Facebook from a pin, and soon, check-in on Foursquare, too.

The app has a clever interface which is easy to understand and use, but we did encounter some bugs in testing – it would crash upon loading up large contact lists, for example, so you may not want to switch on the friend matching function just yet. (For what it’s worth, LinkedIn’s Contacts app has never been able to process my contacts list, either. I should probably clean it up.) The syncing process involving Pins’ Facebook integration was slow as well. And until all these background functions complete you can’t jump into using Pins, which is a problem.

In other words, your mileage may vary here.

Pins was created by fellow ShopKeep employees. CEO Jonathan Bensamoun has since left the POS maker, while Pins’ CTO is, um, still there.

Though the app is live on the iOS App Store, they’re staging the rollout to help them manage server load. TechCrunch readers can use the link http://pinsapp.co/techcrunch to move the head of the line.

The company has a small amount of get-off-the-ground angel funding from Yair Goldfinger (ICQ) and Adam Neumann (WeWork).


15:50
Space-Saving iCloud Alternative Loom Now Syncs & Stores Video, Too
loom-videoLoom, a simple but well-built photo-sharing app targeting the mainstream, has been focused on building something of an iCloud alternative which also helps users to free up disk space on their smartphones or iPads. Today, it's taking another step closer to that larger goal with the introduction of video support in Loom. Before, the app was able to store, optimize and sync photos between devices, and now it can do the same for video by generating multiple versions of the video for quicker playback.

December 11 2013

19:07
“Feels” For iPhone Updates The Pro/Con List For The Emoticon Generation
Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 2.02.20 PMTorn up by a complex decision you need to make, and that pro/con list just isn't helping? A new app called Feels can help. Feels is a recently launched app designed by three students at the Savannah College of Art and Design which offers a clever, quick way to work through your decision-making process via a simple and colorful iPhone app interface.

December 06 2013

22:00
Wisely Helps You Find Where To Shop Or Eat Based On Real Consumer Spending Patterns, Not User Reviews
Header ImageWhen looking for a new place to eat, drink or shop, most people turn to local recommendations services like Yelp, Google Places, or Foursquare, for example. A new mobile application called Wisely, launching today, has a different idea. Instead of user reviews, Wisely taps into actual transaction data, allowing you to filter searches by things like popularity or average bill size.

December 05 2013

17:11
Sound Familiar? Trace Launches A Social App That Lets You Share Your Purchases With Friends
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...to build another social network around users' recent shopping purchases. Trace is the latest startup to give social commerce a go, with a new iPhone app, launching now, which allows users to share what they've just bought with a network of friends.
15:33
Social Travel App Jetpac Ditches Facebook, Pivots To Instagram-Based “City Guides” For At-A-Glance Recommendations
Facebook-based social travel apps may have run their course. Jetpac, a gorgeous but ultimately slow-to-grow travel app for iPad, which last year raised $2.4 million in Series A funding, is shifting its focus today with the launch of its new Jetpac City Guides for iPhone. These visual guides cover millions of venues in 5,000 cities worldwide, but in a different way than you might expect: by analyzing Instagram photos.

September 18 2013

17:00
Memoir, A “Google Now” For Photo Memories, Is An App That Helps You Remember The Past
Thanks to the ubiquitous spread of smartphones, and the ease of photo-taking they bring, our photo galleries have become filled with what are almost like disposable memories - we snap and share, but then never return and reminisce. New York-based Memoir, a new app launching today on iOS first, wants to change that by offering a way to time travel through your past, allowing you to rediscover who, when and where you've been before, and connect you with others who shared those experiences with you.

August 22 2013

15:00
Photo-Sharing App Cluster Snags Instagram Seed Investor Steve Anderson & Others To Lead $1.6M Round, Launches Version 1.0
Cluster, a mobile photo-sharing app which helps users collaborate on albums with their friends, is today announcing $1.6 million in seed funding in a round led by early Instagram investor Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures. Also participating were Freestyle Capital, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, and Sherpa Ventures. The news comes alongside the app’s exit from beta and the debut of Cluster version 1.0, an updated iPhone release which adds several new features, the goal of which is to make it easier to invite friends, sign-up, and make the app more engaging. Founded by Onesheet and Tiplist founder Brenden Mulligan, along with ex-Google/YouTube developer Taylor Hughes, Cluster is tackling a problem so many apps have tried, and yet so far, have really failed to solve: it wants to make it easier to mutually share your photos privately with a select group of family, friends and others. Cluster 1.0 Features Since the debut of the beta version of the application in February, the team has been busy rolling out updated releases to add new features like favoriting and commenting, a streamlined design, social sharing and more. But today’s launch of version 1.0 is the biggest app upgrade to date. In the new version, which we were able to beta test briefly ahead of today’s launch, Cluster has added a number of smaller enhancements, including things like new activity indicators on albums, access to albums outside the iPhone’s Camera Roll, as well as the ability to tap to hide unflattering photos your friends share in a group album, the ability save the high-res version of shared photos, and more. But the biggest changes speak to how the company is aiming to smooth out and shorten the sign-up process for new users, as well as make it easier to invite friends. Cluster introduces a smart invite feature – something that’s been somewhat necessitated after a surge of spammy social apps have taken advantage of users’ address book access in order to send out mass invites to their contacts. Now, Cluster allows you to choose whether it sends out the invites automatically with a default message, or whether you want to create custom invitation yourself. If you choose the latter, you can send invites however you see fit – text messages, email, social media, etc. Friends are given an invite code which they can use to access the shared album. The benefit to this is two-fold. Not only does it

August 14 2013

15:32
Chronos, The Quantified Self App Without The Financial Commitment, Relaunches With Version 2.0
Chronos, a time-tracking application for iPhone which launched at last year's TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, is rolling out its first major update today with the debut of Chronos version 2.0. The app has been completely overhauled, rebuilt, and now features a new user interface and a different approach to setting personal goals, like getting to bed on time, or visiting a new place, for example.

August 08 2013

16:37
Yevvo For iPhone Debuts A New Take On Live Broadcasting
Newly launched mobile broadcasting app Yevvo has a different idea about how live mobile video apps should work. Instead of focusing only on a social model where users find and follow other people on the service, Yevvo users can also follow places in the real world, as well as events. Beyond its own walls, the app mainly targets the Twitter ecosystem, and is designed to be push-button simple. One tap and slide, and your entire Twitter network is alerted that you are live and on-air.

July 24 2013

13:28
Video Texting App Glide Is Going Viral, Now Ranked Just Ahead Of Instagram In App Store
Video chatting app Glide is on a roll of sorts. In recent weeks this mobile messenger for iPhone and Android devices has been climbing the app store charts on both platforms, having gotten as high as #6 overall in the Apple App Store, and #1 in the App Store's social networking section. Today, the iPhone app is ranked #16 in the U.S., Glide's top market - just one spot below Instagram, according to AppData's leaderboards. But on the iPhone App Store on the phone, it has actually bumped Instagram from spot #15 in the U.S.

July 18 2013

13:50
Hullabalu, A Startup With A Different Take On Touchable Storybooks, Arrives On iPhone
Hullabalu, the New York-based kids app maker backed by $1.8 million from SV Angel, Great Oaks, and others, is today bringing its iPad storybook app to the iPhone. Like the big-screen version, the new app also features the same cast of characters (a tribe of cute, and sometimes precocious bears), as well as the "touchable" story play.

July 17 2013

16:46
Potluck, The Link-Sharing Service For The Rest Of Us, Arrives On iPhone
Potluck, the new link-sharing service from the team behind social conversation Branch, has now arrived on the iPhone, where Branch CEO and co-founder Josh Miller believes it may be able to better serve its larger goal of bringing today's Internet "lurkers" out of the shadows.
06:00
Weathermob Raises $650K More To Turn Smartphones Into Mini Weather Stations
Weathermob, a mobile, social network centered around crowdsourced weather reporting, has raised an additional $650,000 in new funding today from a number of angel investors, including Mark Hastings, Lord Waheed Alli, Victoria Hackett, and Drew Volpe, bringing its total raise to date to $1.1 million.
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