Microsoft’s Word Flow Keyboard Comes To iOS | Crunch Report


Microsoft’s predictive keyboard comes to iPhones,
Yik Yak adds private chat, a big funding round for a $10,000 smartphone and more… It’s Monday, April 25 and this is Crunch Report.
Microsoft’s Word Flow app was designed for Microsoft smartphones, but it’s now live for
iOS users, at least in the United States. The app allows smartphone users to type faster,
both by predicting what you want to type and by giving you the ability to swipe to type
which I’m pretty pretty terrible at, but hey, maybe it works for you. Anyway, even
though Word Flow was created by Microsoft’s experimental projects division, this is an
area where the company has been making serious investments, especially with the $250 million
acquisition of keyboard company Swiftkey, whose technology was supposed to be integrated
into Word Flow and other Microsoft products. Remember Yik Yak? The anonymous social app
exploded onto college campuses, but TechCrunch’s Josh Constine recently reported that growth
has stagnated, with a number of high-level team members departing. The app itself has
been changing, with the introduction of user handles, and now with private chat. Users
can request to chat with other users based on their handles or in response to one of
their messages. These features could potentially make Yik Yak a more useful communication tool
as the novelty of anonymous posting wears off. “There have been a lot of stories about smartphone
security and privacy in the news recently. If you’re worried about these issues, a startup
called Sirin Labs has raised a $72 million round to build a phone that’s supposed to
combine military-grade security with the smartphone features that regular consumers want. These
phones won’t be cheap, but the prices could go down over time — co-founder Moshe Hogeg
said, “”It won’t be the most expensive phone in the world. We are in the neighborhood of
$10-15k per phone. Tesla is a good example for us. They started with high priced cars,
but today their car prices are much lower.” The company also says it will reveal more
details when the product launches later this year. When you think of NASA, you probably think
of space, obviously, but the agency is also responsible for the experimental X-planes,
including the X-15, which was the fastest and highest-flying aircraft in the 1950s.
NASA just announced a new, 10-year initiative called New Aviations Horizons. It’s supposed
to create a new lineup of X-planes with greener energy, that use half the fuel and are half
as loud as commercial aircraft. The agency isn’t doing this on its own, but rather offering
government funding to private companies to make it more affordable to do research and
development. The first contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in February for the design
of a quieter supersonic passenger jet. A list containing hundreds of Spotify account
credentials has appeared online at the website Pastebin in what appears to be a security
breach. Spotify, however, says it has not been hacked and its user records are secure.
So what’s going on? Well, it’s possible that this is a list of previously compromised accounts
that’s still circulating. On the other hand, TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez reached out to some
of the listed users and they confirmed that their accounts were compromised only a few
days ago — for example, one said he found tracks on his saved songs list that he hadn’t
added. Now that’s annoying, but the real risk is your Spotify password might have shared
and maybe that’s also your password on another site. So if you’ve noticed weird behavior
on your Spotify account, you should probably check this out. One more thing. TechCrunch Disrupt NY is coming
up so hurry and get your tickets. The event will take place in Brooklyn from May 9 to
11 with a lineup of speakers including Jessica Alba, Carmelo Anthony, Erica Baker, Fred Wilson
and Soledad O’Brien, plus our Startup Battlefield. And no big deal, but I’ll be there too. That’s the report for today. I’m Anthony
Ha. Crunch Report airs every weekday at 7 pm Eastern,
4 pm Pacific on techcrunch.com. You can also find us on iTunes, and on YouTube. See you
tomorrow!

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