Paris Startup AIRTAG Is All About Mobile Shopping INTERVIEW

A startup in Paris called AIRTAG is offering a complete suite of mobile shopping tools for retailers and e-tailers. The startup was founded by Jeremie Leroyer and Cyril Porteret who also cofounded Haiku which was sold in 2004 for $10 million euros.

AIRTAG’s complete suite of products has every facet of mobile shopping covered. AIRSHOP enables shoppers to order and pay in advance for groceries and fast food using their mobile phone. AIRFID is the rewards and loyalty card arm of the company. AIRPASS is a mobile wallet of sorts adding loyalty cards, gym keytags and even transportation passes. AIRTAG kit is the companies development tool kit for developers to interact with their PayPass applications.

The company’s stable of clients already includes McDonald’s, McCafe’, Reebok, Dior and many other globally well known brands. This has prompted AIRTAG to deploy offices throughout the world including a recently opened office in New York. They plan on adding partnerships in both the US and Canada from the New York office.

Mobile shopping and payments have grown into a huge industry and right now it’s still anyone’s game. Google got off to a very rocky start with Google Wallet. Three of the four major US wireless carriers teamed up to help create ISIS an alternative to Google Wallet which was supposed to have seen a larger national footprint heading into this years holiday season.

According to the co-founders of AIRTAG, Japan is light years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to allowing smartphones to manage people’s lives. Since selling their first startup to Japanese investors both Leroyer and Porteret have spent a lot of time in Japan where they noticed everyone used their phones for everything including bus fare, key locks, and payments. AIRTAG’s hope is to help replicate that system across the world.

We had a chance to interview the AIRTAG team. Check out the interview below.

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Google Has Added Amber Alerts To Maps and Search

Google,Amber alert,mobile,techSomehow in the hubbub of activity surrounding Halloween and the Presidential election we missed some great news out of the GooglePlex. Google has teamed up with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Google Public Alerts Platform, to send out Amber alerts, when and where they are relevant to you.  Of course Amber alerts are the alerts used to help bring children back home safely.

Google wrote on the official Google Blog:

If you’re using Google Search or Maps on desktop and mobile you’ll see an AMBER Alert if you search for related information in a particular location where a child has recently been abducted and an alert was issued. You’ll also see an alert if you conduct a targeted search for the situation. By increasing the availability of these alerts through our services, we hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise.

AMBER Alerts will provide information about the abducted child and any other details about the case as they become available. Additional details could include the make and model of the vehicle he/she was abducted in or information about the alleged abductor.

Source: Google Blog

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children

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Belkin First To Produce Lightning Accessories

Belkin,Apple,iPhone,iPhone 5,lightning,GriffinWhen Apple made the decision this year to switch from the 30 pin connector that they introduced in 2001 to the new lightning connector on their devices today, the world went into a panicked frenzy. Now, households were going to have a mix of 30 pin devices and lightning devices, until eventually every Apple device they owned had a lightning connector.

The lightning connector is slimmer, can go in on either side and is considerably faster at both data transfer and charging. Because the connector is smaller it’s less likely to cause the cord to break if it gets tangled. The lightning connector also does away with the locking clip which makes it easier to pull the cord away from the device.

Although Apple’s loyal customers with older generation iPods, iPads and iPhones mixed into their iLifestyle, are undoubtedly upset, it’s Apple’s accessory partners that have to be feeling the biggest pinch. Companies that were known for their data accessories like Griffin, Belkin and even Verbatim, were able to revive themselves by making accessories for Apple’s consumer electronics.

Fret not, all of the accessory companies will eventually get around to making accessories with the lightning connector. Belkin is actually the first one out of the gate. The popular accessory company has produced a car charger and a home dock which both have lightning connectors.

While many of the case manufacturers have already had an iPhone 5, iPad Mini or the new, the new iPad case ready to go, accessories for power and audio are the ones most affected.

Larry Fishback, an Apple customer we met at the Lenox Square Apple store this weekend told us “I’ve got a home audio dock on my desk at home and another at work, as well as an in dash system that all use the old connector.” Fishback is a loyal Apple user and was purchasing an iPad Mini this weekend. For now he says he’s going to use the 3.5mm cord adapters for his docks. He plans on upgrading his iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5 when more lightning accessories are available.

Corrine Watson, also from Atlanta, is hoping that the new lightning connector devices will be able to control the music function on her iPhone 5. “Once I plug my iPod into my car stereo I can control it with the car stereo controls, I hope we can still do that with the itty bitty connector”.

BGR reports that Apple is holding a workshop for it’s accessory partners on the lightning connector. There are also Asian knock offs already on the market.

Both Belkin accessories retail for the normal $29.99 Apple accessory price.


Source: BGR

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We Talk Mobile Payments With Canadian Startup Payfirma

Payfirma is an early adopter in the mobile payment space. This Vancouver based startup is credited with being the first company to bring mobile payments to Canada.

Mobile payments are the way of the future, and for many the future is now. In the US we have Square, Paypal, Google Wallet and the forthcoming ISIS available in several mobile platforms for consumers to pay for services and goods.

Like others, Payfirma makes it extremely easy for merchants to take payments from customers in a variety of ways. Payfirma offers an online platform, point of sale software and a mobile app.  Payfirma started out in 2011 and quickly became an industry leader in mobile payments. Back in December of last year they had passed the $1 million dollar per day transaction mark, and were already being called the “Square of Canada”.

The company was also named Canada’s best startup in 2011 at the KPMG startup awards. Payfirma has built a US presence as well, opening offices in Chicago and San Francisco.

On the mobile side Payfirma looks a lot like Square or Intuit’s mobile offering with a card swiping dongle that attaches to the top of an iPhone or Blackberry. Information is read from the dongle and transmitted via the smartphone to give merchants the ability to take credit card payments on the go.

Merchants who vend at swap meets, flea markets, craft fairs and other events were often faced with a tough choice. They could either choose not to accept credit cards at all or take them the old fashioned way by hand, for processing later. Processing credit cards by hand and then running them later can easily result in fraudulent sales.

We got a chance to talk with the team behind the award winning Payfirma platform. Check out the interview below:

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Scottish Startup: sensewhere, Perfecting Positioning Without GPS

Sensewhere,Scottish startup,startup,startups,startup interview,location based,GPS trackingA startup in Edinburgh Scotland, called Sensewhere has become a leader in providing positioning and location based information without the use of GPS. The technology is ideal for rural areas and indoor locations where there is either bad satellite coverage or none at all.

Sensewhere automatically crowd-sources and cross-references RF access point data via users’ own devices, cheaply and dynamically creating an almost limitless proprietary global RF location database that self-corrects with use. sensewhere will allow social networks, device manufacturers and app developers to finally capitalize fully on the enormous potential of highly-accurate indoor location.

Like other existing indoor location systems sensewhere uses whatever hybrid RF location reference information the end-device can receive to fix a location; whether Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, UWB, NFC, RFID, GPS, etc. The system checks signals against its own database of fixed-location reference points, then uses industry-leading proprietary low power algorithms to provide an accurate and reliable indoor location.

The team behind Sensewhere is hoping that their technology will work as effortlessly as GPS does (in most situations), where the end user won’t even have to think about it. One of the biggest misconceptions in this space is that GPS can penetrate buildings and work underground. Anyone who has tried to navigate out of parking garage knows this isn’t true.

Sensewhere is currently available for iOS devices and Android phones. The Sensewhere team is hoping that the technology will be available on every mobile device.

One of the big advantages to Sensewhere is that as the user base grows, the accuracy grows with it. Ultimately it will be more accurate both indoors and outdoors when trying to navigate to other people or businesses in a close environment like an outdoor festival or a shopping mall.

Another down side to typical GPS, is that, even though accuracy has improved once you get to a location like an outdoor shopping mall, you’re stuck finding things on your own.

Google Maps has recently deployed indoor navigation for some major airports and even some Ikea stores. This technology relies heavily on wifi and other rf identifiters as well.

We got a chance to talk with the year old startup. Check out our interview below.

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Who Are Smartphone Users More Likely To Vote For? Obama!

Election 2012, Obama, Romney, Smartphone owners,infographicMobile advertising firm Mojiva has released an interesting infographic after surveying American’s with smartphones. The infographic details which party smartphone owners favor, how they’ll use their smartphone on election day, who they are more likely to vote for, and even would smartphone users use their phone to vote if it was possible.

While we aren’t able to use our smartphones to vote in the 2012 election it’s likely that sometime in the next few presidential election cycles there will be some kind of way to vote with a smartphone and have each registered voter only able to vote one time.

82% of those surveyed said that they would vote this year. For the survey respondents that’s a whopping 82% which is nearly 30% higher than both the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

47% of respondents said that they vote democrat compared to just 28% that said they lean Republican. 25% indicated they lean independent or other.

Only two questions swayed in the Republicans favor. 53% of Republican respondents said they would use their smartphones to research candidates, whereas 50% of Democratic respondents said they would use their smartphones for that. The other category was “would they use their smartphone for election related activities leading up to the election”. 81% of Republican respondents said they would. 79% of Democratic respondents said that they would.

50% of respondents said that they would use their smartphones to contribute money to a political candidates campaign. Most respondents said they would use their smartphones to donate less than $25.

Check out the infographic below:


Source: Mashable

Infographic source: Mojiva

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Analysts: Apple Sold 18M iPads In Their Their Q4 2012

iPad,Apple,IPad Sales, Ipad sells 18mApple’s Fiscal Q4 ended on September 30th and analysts are anxiously awaiting their 4th quarter results. It was a good year for the Cupertino based company, breaking stock price records repeatedly in their last 12 months.

In the spring of 2012 Apple released their newest iteration of the iPad. It wasn’t called iPad 3 as expected, instead Apple went with calling it “The New iPad”. This put retailers and vendors in a frenzy as the iPhone 5 approached, with companies like Best Buy opting to use signage that said “The New iPhone”. Of course, 10 days before the release of the newest iPhone, Apple confirmed it would be the iPhone 5.

The New iPad, saw a significant upgrade in processor speed, display (retina) and additional wireless speed with the addition of 4G/LTE on multiple carriers. Throughout three cycles of the iPad, Apple has been able to maintain roughly the same price point, as they have with all their previous releases of iPads, iPods and iPhones.

Apple is also expected to announce a 7″ version of their world famous slate as early as a press event next week. Many internet sources are reporting that Apple has ramped up production and ordered 10 million of the as yet unannounced devices.

As for The New iPad (the 10″ version), Analysts are suggesting that Apple has sold around 18.38 million units. Fortune Magazine’s Phillip Elmer-DeWitt polled 61 wall street analysts and independent firms to come up with that figure. If that’s the case, Apple has sold a million more iPads than the previous quarter and 60% more than the same time last year.

While the 10″ “The New iPad” has been around for six months, there’s still no slowing down the tablet machine. With the new increased size in the iPhone 5 many people are curious to see how many 7″ iPads can be sold. The “iPad Mini” is expected to be the “must have” gift this holiday season.


Source (never thought we’d ever do this but) Thedroidguy

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Did Apple Just Save Color?

We’re only reporting on Color because as you probably know it’s one of the worst deal stories of the decade. The startup founded in Silicon Valley in 2011 by Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham, sky rocketed onto the scene after closing $41 million dollars in their pre-release seed round.

The initial idea for Color was a photo sharing app. After launching the app they didn’t pick up the traction they expected and eventually Pham left. The companies Chief Product Officer DJ Patil also left shortly after Pham.  With a bust of an app the team was still sitting on almost all of their seed capital.

Nguyen eventually had the team pivot to a new, silent video application that allowed users to share videos as easily as they did pictures.

Earlier this month many tech sites started reporting that Nguyen was out of the office for a while. He had gone back to Hawaii on a “sabbatical” of sorts. Shortly after those reports, many tech sites began to report that Color may be shuttering it’s operations, and those remaining staffers may be getting on with their lives.

Well, TNW ran a story late Wednesday that suggests that Apple may by the quick-vid service and it may just bail them out of lot of trouble.

TNW reports that the deal could be in the high double digits, hopefully eclipsing the companies first round.


Source: appleinsider

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Is This The iPad Killer You’ve Been Looking For? Microsoft Reveals Surface Pricing

With our deep roots in mobile technology we’re not quite sure what to think of the Microsoft Surface series of tablets or the next iteration of Windows, Windows 8. Sure it’s going to be a Microsoft game changer, but are they trying to come in and change a party that’s been going on for the last five years?

Microsoft is betting a great deal on the fact that people will come back to the Windows brand on the desktop, the laptop the tablet and the smartphone. They’ve lost a tremendous amount of ground in the mobile sector and have taken their time bringing a tablet to market. Hopefully, they’ve used that time wisely and they’re ready to compete with Apple’s iPad and the onslaught of Android tablets available everywhere.

Microsoft has been working hard on making Windows the same experience across multiple screens. Windows 8 integrates well across desktops, laptops, tablets and with Windows Phone 8, phones. They’re hoping to capture a lot more of the mobile market than they have with past versions.

Now, after nearly four months of being completely in the dark about pricing and final specs, Microsoft has revealed what you want to know.

The baseline Surface tablet will set you back $499. This includes 32gb of memory but no fancy shmancy Touch Cover. A $100 more will get you the 32gb model with the Touch Cover. The 64gb Surface tablet will set you back $699 and that will also include the Touch Cover.

Here are other specs that Microsoft revealed today:

  • 1366×768 10.6-inch screen with five-point multitouch,
  • 9.4mm thick
  • weighs 1.5 pounds
  • Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (1.4GHz Cortex A9 part coupled with a 520MHz NVIDIA GPU,)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32 or 64gb of flash memory
  • Bluetooth 4
  • microSDXC slot
  • mini-HDMI port
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Preview versions of Office 2013 apps

The Surface is priced competitively with the iPad and several Android based tablets from computer manufacturers like the Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx.

The Surface Tablets are available for preorder now and will be shipped October 26th. Microsoft is reporting that on launch day the Surface tablet will be available at Microsoft branded stores across the country and 34 pop up stores in malls across the country. While Windows 8 will be widely available on October 26th, including at Best Buy and Walmart, there is no word on when the Surface tablets will make it to Microsoft’s retail partners.


Source: Arstechnica

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Best Buy To Combat “Showrooming” With Online Price Matching


Although the details are still being worked out, Best Buy has vowed to stay competitive this holiday season by price matching online offering from top rates sites like

There’s a new phenomena in retail that’s stemmed directly from online sales, dubbed “showrooming”. Showrooming is when customers walk into their neighborhood electronics big box store to touch and feel products they will ultimately purchase online because of pricing. Until now, Best Buy would not match prices found online at sites like Amazon.

Amazon, while a huge operation in itself, still doesn’t have nearly the overhead that a brick and mortar retail chain like Best Buy or HH Gregg have.

Not only that, but while Best Buy will go into the black during the holiday season, the cost of business increases drastically. Best Buy more than doubles their in-store work force, and has to contend with an onslaught of returns after Christmas.

Best Buy has gone through some major executive changes at their home office in Minnesota including the ousting of career man and former CEO Brian Dunn. Scott Durchslag is the companies new head of e-commerce, who’s been preaching price competitiveness since his arrival.

The goal with offering price matching with is to convert those showrooming customers into actual sales.

“Once they’re in the store, they’re yours to lose,” Durchslag Business Insider.“A lot of people talk and write about the ‘showrooming’ phenomenon. It’s a symptom, not a cause. There are things that you’re not doing for the consumer that makes them not want to purchase.”

It’s unclear if the price match move will be temporary through the holidays or continue on as policy.


Source: Business Insider

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Boulder Startup Orbotix Hits Target With Sphero Ball

We’ve covered Boulder startup Orbotix since the beginning. We began covering them at our previous Android website when we saw the Sphero ball at a Show Stoppers event during CES 2011. We also covered their Techstars pivot, which came about when working with their mentor Brad Feld, and we covered their biggest fan, President Barack Obama.

Orbotix is the startup behind the Sphero ball. Sphero is a smartphone controlled ball. The concept in itself can bring tons of fun, maneuvering the ball throughout the house, teasing the dog and cat can be hours of fun. However, Sphero isn’t just about the ball. They’ve built some great interactive apps (games) like golf. The control the user has with their Android phone or iPhone, over the ball, is world’s apart from other smartphone controlled toys.

While the company launched in 2011 after going through the TechStars program in Boulder, Chief Executive Paul Berberian feels like this distribution deal with Target is their big consumer launch.

“The name of the game in consumer electronics and gaming is getting in front of customers,” Berberian said to the Boulder County Business Report. “We feel like we’ve been out there for a long time telling our story, but most people have never seen a Sphero. This is essentially our launch.”

The Sphero ball has limited distribution in some Apple stores as well as some Brookstone stores but of course Target means they’ll reach the masses. It’s also a great time to get into a retail stores shelves as Americans prepare for the busy holiday shopping season.

Target already has a good selection of interactive smartphone accessories. Their toy section is filled with iPhone and iPad games that have a physical component like fishing, and even an Angry Birds game where you move the bird across the screen. Target’s smartphone accessories section, located within their electronics department, stocks the iCade mini arcade machine accessory as well as some of the “cooler” music accessories.

Sphero will be stocked among the smartphone app accessories section and available online at as well.


Check out Sphero here

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You’re Holding It Wrong… Again

It seems like just last week Apple CEO Tim Cook was apologizing for Mappsgate. As we all know, and have ridiculed constantly, Apple’s new maps app for the iOS 6.0 fell short of their typical “magic”.  In a bold move Cook acknowledged that Apple Maps didn’t deliver the quality that iOS users are accustomed to. They even went as far as to suggest that users download other apps like Waze or use the Google Maps website.

Well late last week another problem started making it’s way onto the interwebs. Users of the new iPhone 5 (released just two weeks ago), have discovered a purplish haze in photos and videos shot with their iPhone 5’s when shooting against something bright, like the sun.

The problem has been officially described as:

Apple,iPhone 5, iOS, Camera, Holding it wrong

image: MacRumors

“a purplish or other colored flare, haze, or spot is imaged from out-of-scene bright light sources during still image or video capture.”

While it’s nothing that’s going to affect the overall performance of the iPhone 5, nonetheless it can be annoying especially when the iPhone camera is touted as one of the best in the way of smartphone cameras. Many users have ditched their traditional point and shoot cameras in favor of the 8 megapixel iPhone camera.

Apple has now released a support document entitled “iPhone: Camera image effects”

In the document Apple doesn’t take responsibility for the problem the way they have in the past with Maps and Antennagate, instead they say:

“Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. This can happen when a light source is positioned at an angle (usually just outside the field of view) so that it causes a reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor. Moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand, should minimize or eliminate the effect.”

So there’s no running back to the Apple store or Best Buy on this one. If you’re having this issue with your iPhone 5 you’re evidently, holding it wrong.


Apple’s support document

Source: SAI

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Dallas: Mobile Security Leader, NQ Mobile Introduces NQ Family Guardian

It’s no secret that smartphone adoption in the United States is growing rapidly. The fastest growing segment of new smartphone users are tweens and teens between the ages of 13-17. While parents want their teenagers to have the features, and independence that come with a new smartphone, this is also a risky proposition for some.

Responsible parents and guardians want their children to have access to the latest technology and at the same time keep them safe. While it’s hard enough to monitor your children’s whereabouts 24/7 it’s even harder to monitor their smart phone usage. You want to know if your children are accessing inappropriate websites, if they’re using the phone in school or in class, and if they’ve become the target of cyber bullying via mobile.

NQ Mobile, Dallas, Mobile Security, Omar Khan, Android, Safety App,Family GuardianNQ Mobile, a global leader in mobile security has now released NQ Family Guardian to help protect children from those issues and a whole lot more. NQ Family Guardian was designed and crafted with the same attention to functionality and protection that all of their other products are known for. The comprehensive suite of tools protects children from harassing phone calls, allows parents to set up phone usage hours and more:



  • Browser Blocker: Safeguard your children by blocking inappropriate websites
  • App Filter: Make smart choices about which apps your children can access
  • Contact Filter: Help your kids fight spam text and harassing calls by adding numbers to their block lists
  • Schedules: Control your children’s mobile phone use by setting up times when they can unlock their phones to make calls, browse the Internet, text, and more
  • Monitors: Keep track of your children’s locations, messages, calls, browsing histories, app downloads, and photos
  • Geo-Fences: Set up a safe zone to for your children and receive a notification when they’re outside of this safe zone
  • Check-in: Get check-in messages when your children arrive safely at their destinations. You can also track their location if they forget to check in
  • Panic Alarm: If your kids are in trouble, they can send an alert message to your phone with their exact location

“Recent Nielsen research shows that 58% of kids aged 13-17 own smartphones, and that number is expected to continue to climb. While most teens admit they’ve been given rules to follow, such rules have been difficult to enforce – until now,” said Gavin Kim, Chief Product Officer, NQ Mobile. “With NQ Family Guardian, parents now have the ability to unobtrusively manage their kids’ mobile phone usage while also ensuring a safe and fun experience. ”

NQ Mobile Co-CEO Omar Khan told directly “NQ Mobile is extremely proud to extend our product line to include NQ Family Guardian. This is a suite of services which helps parents manage, monitor and protect their children’s mobile experiences. With this product, NQ Mobile is working to help parents raise responsible cyber-citizens.”

NQ Mobile’s NQ Family Guardian is available now in the Google Play store check out the link below.


Download NQ Mobile’s NQ Family Guardian here

Here’s more information on NQ Family Guardian here

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New York Startup: Sonar Officially Goes Android

One of our favorite startups in New York is Sonar. It may have to do with the fact that Founder and CEO Brett Martin and I grew up in the same area, or it may just happen to be that Sonar is an amazing startup. We’ve covered Sonar since their finalist appearance at TechCrunch Disrtupt 2011 and then caught up with Martin for a pretty lengthy interview a year later at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012.

During our interview back in June Martin told us off the record that they were really close to an Android app that he was happy with and feature packed. He promised us we’d see it before the end of the summer, and low and behold he made it.

If you’re not aware of Sonar, it’s a people discovery app that helps you find and organize your people locally. They added some great functionality to the app this year which helps folks automagically do some amazing things. For instance Martin explained that with the newest iteration of their iPhone (and now Android) app Martin checks in on Sonar after he gets off of the subway. When he passes the Sonar office for the coffee shop his co-workers are alerted and they can put together their coffee order for Martin without texting or calling. Pretty magnificent huh.

Of course it’s not all about coffee. Sonar comes in really handy when you’re at a conference or convention with colleagues. We use it all the time and through Sonar we can tell when our press colleagues are near by at events.

Android has been part of the plan since Sonar’s inception however Martin and the Sonar team wanted to make sure that the app was just right. They began beta testing it in the spring and our old site was part of that beta test.

On the news of the Android release into the Google Play store Martin told nibletz:

“Launching in Google Play is a huge milestone and an amazing opportunity, with the 500M total Android activations and 1.3M more that are added daily. Sonar is the best way to connect and share with friends and interesting people nearby. We combine proprietary and third-party data to give you the best, most relevant results. By launching in Google Play and localizing in so many new countries, we’re enabling a huge new audience to spend more time connecting with their friends face-to-face.”

Now if you’re an iPhone or an Android user you can experience Sonar.


Sonar in the Google Play store

More about Sonar here at their website

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