The Burner app is turning the phone number into a powerful tool

Image courtesy Burner

Phone Roam

Burner phones’ first claim to fame was on HBO’s The Wire, where Baltimore drug dealers used the prepaid, disposable phones to evade surveillance. So you might be surprised to learn that burners can be used for more than just illicit activity.

Witness the success of Los Angeles’ Burner, currently the number two top-grossing app in the Utilities section of the Apple App Store. The app (available for both iOS and Android) offers users temporary phone numbers to avoid being spammed from a Craigslist offering, maintain privacy while dating online, or any number of perfectly legal use cases.

“I’ve long been interested in identity and privacy, but I felt it hadn’t really been figured out for mobile,” Greg Cohn, CEO and cofounder, told us. “My phone is a super smart piece of hardware that incorporates clever software, but the phone number itself wasn’t very smart.”

In October, the company launched Burner Connections, a set of tools for your burner phone number, featuring integration with Slack, Dropbox, Soundcloud, Evernote, and more.

These app-like features allow users to perform a variety of tasks through their Burner number – automatically save incoming voice mail to Dropbox, manage customer service through Slack notifications, or create a simple text reply bot through Evernote.

“We’re not deeply investing in any one ecosystem,” Cohn said. “We’re interested in creating a very smart phone number that seamlessly connects to the services we’re already using.”

You can download Burner right here

Now go forth (and embrace impermanence).


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