Burner (mobile application)
|Developer(s)||Ad Hoc Labs|
|Initial release||August 2012|
|Operating system||iOS, Android|
|Type||Instant messaging client and VoIP|
Burner is a mobile application for iOS and Android made by Ad Hoc Labs, Inc. that allows users to create temporary disposable phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada. The app allows smartphone users to have a phone number that is anonymous and can be thrown away, for purposes such as online ads, while traveling, for business projects, or for dating profiles. Burner is a product of Ad Hoc Labs, an Atwater Village, Los Angeles-based software startup.
The application's name is a reference to so-called "burner phones," prepaid mobile phones that are replaced frequently. Burner phones have been used to control costs, reduce contractual obligations, and provide a degree of privacy in mobile phone use. They have been used in popular culture by drug dealers on The Wire, spies on Burn Notice, and agents in Mission: Impossible. The company has stated it would comply with law enforcement requests but would require valid search warrants.
The Burner application launched in August 2012 with angel investors including Techstars founder David Cohen and super angel Dave McClure in October 2012. Its iPhone application was released in August 2012, followed by an Android version in April 2013. In October 2013, Ad Hoc Labs raised an institutional funding round led by Founder Collective and Venrock, with participation from 500 Startups, Miramar Digital Ventures, TenOneTen Ventures and others. In an interview with Ars Technica, CEO Greg Cohn stated "we definitely think that communications, and telephony specifically, have been left behind by the wave of social innovation that’s been happening. The network should be smarter, it should be more socially aware and more privacy-aware." He has also stated that the long-term vision for Burner is to build technology where phone numbers are smarter and act more like software.
Burner allows users to make phone calls and VoIP calls and send SMS and MMS messages via phone numbers issued through the app. Users can purchase credits for temporary numbers or add an additional line for an ongoing subscription fee. The Burner Connections features, launched in October 2015, allow users to integrate their Burner numbers with third-party applications like Slack, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Evernote and SoundCloud. This functionality allows people to automatically archive SMS messages and images, program auto-responses, sync voicemails and more. In November 2015, Burner launched a way for developers to connect the app with various applications, like IFTTT, or create new custom integrations through the use of webhooks.
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- Perez, Sarah (26 September 2016). "Disposable Phone Number App Burner Grabs $2 Million In Seed Funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- "Burner Launches New Version Of Temporary Phone Number App". SocalTECH.com. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- "Burner Rolls Out MMS Support, New App". SocalTECH.com. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Henry, Alan (10 April 2013). "Burner Brings Disposable Phone Numbers to Android for Private Calls, Texts, and More". LifeHacker. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
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- "Burner Launches New Version of Temporary Phone Number App". SocalTECH.com. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Graham, Jefferson (8 October 2015). "Burner brings apps to phone numbers". USA Today. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Yeung, Ken (24 November 2015). "Burner's new developer tool lets you control your smart home by text". VentureBeat. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Baldwin, Roberto (8 October 2015). "Burner's disposable phone numbers save everything in the cloud". Engadget. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
- Swanner, Nate (24 November 2015). "Burner now lets developers tap in using Web hooks and opens up to IFTTT". The Next Web.