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Sony is transforming one of its most successful businesses, image sensors, into a brand new company called Sony Semiconductor Solutions. All of its chips will be produced under the new company, but Sony said in a statement that "image sensors are a primary area of focus." The division will be carved away from Sony's devices group as part of a larger reorganization, and the rest of the group (storage and batteries) will be folded into other operations. Sony emphasized that the new company will operate "alongside existing Sony group companies," and start operating by April 1, 2016.

The iOS platform's "App Thinning" feature is now available, and you'll be able to download leaner, smaller apps if you've already installed iOS 9.0.2. App Thinning or "app slicing" allows you to download only the parts of an app needed for your device, effectively saving you storage space. For instance, if you download an app for the iPhone 6, it won't have the parts needed for an iPad, because the developer tagged its assets for specific devices. It was supposed to be part of iOS 9 from the start, but it unfortunately got delayed due to an iCloud bug that forced users to download universal versions of apps.

YouTube has given its iOS app a full facelift, making it look a bit more like its Android counterpart. Now, the main page has three tabs on top: Home, which houses the usual recommended videos/channels, Subscriptions, which lists all the new uploads from the accounts you subscribe to, and Account, which shows a summary of your... account! It also comes with new in-app editing tools that you can use to polish videos to upload whenever you don't have access to professional software. In addition, serious YouTubers can get the refreshed version of the Creator Studio app for an enhanced Analytics section. The latest version's only available for iOS at the moment, but the Google-owned company promises that it'll soon be out on the Play Store.

Must Reads

  • Soon you'll be able to remap your Xbox One controller's buttons

    Xbox One users will be able to transplant one button's function to another -- without having to stump up money for a fancy new Elite controller. While that controller costs $150 (with other reasons that might warrant a purchase), Mike Ybarra, Microsoft's Director of Program Management, replied to a...

  • Scottrade learned about a data breach from law enforcement

    Companies typically find out about data breaches first-hand, and bring in the police after the fact to (hopefully) identify the culprits. Unfortunately, Scottrade didn't even have that luxury: the investment firm only learned about a huge breach after federal law enforcement showed up at its door with...

European Flag

A legal framework used to justify the movement of user data across the Atlantic has just been ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The Safe Harbor agreement, as it's known, let companies like Facebook and Twitter freely move your information between its centers in Europe and the US. However, following today's judgement, they may now need to store those details locally or prove that European privacy standards designed to protect your rights are being upheld.

Advances in medicine are treating patients in ways that were never thought possible. The latest breakthrough comes from a team of scientists in Boston who have developed a way to fix holes in the heart without the need for invasive surgery. They created a ground-breaking catheter, biodegradable glue and patch that fit inside the patient's veins and are guided directly into the heart. Once there, it uses a reflective balloon and UV light to apply the patch and activate its adhesive coating.

Pixelated Bitcoin symbol made from cubes, mosaic pattern

Here's your last chance to grab a chunk of those bitcoins authorities seized when they arrested Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. On November 5th, the US Marshals will be auctioning off 44,341 bitcoins -- around $10.7 million worth -- from 8AM to 2PM EST. The bitcoins will be sold in 21 chunks of 2,000 each, along with a single block containing 2,341 BTC. Note that you can't just show up during the online auction and bid: you need to fill out a bidder registration form and email it to the Marshals by November 2nd. The agency will then notify the winners on November 6th.


It's clearly video-streaming box season. Apple finally dropped an updated Apple TV, the Chromecast got all colorful and the Fire TV upped its resolution to 4K. Now it's Roku's turn with the new Roku 4. The flatter and wider set-top box sports 4K, has a remote locator (YES!), an updated OS and a redesigned app that makes it easier to travel with your favorite shows. The new device joins the rest of the Roku line instead of replacing anything. Priced at $129, it sits between the Apple TV and Fire but without all the recent drama.

SpaceX envisions a Dragon capsule on Mars

NASA may believe that it'll be the first to land on Mars, but don't tell that to Las Vegas betting houses. Popular Mechanics has asked Docsports' Raphael Esparza to set odds for the first organization to reach Mars, and he believes that SpaceX stands a much better chance of reaching the Red Planet (5 to 1) than anyone else, including NASA (80 to 1). To put it bluntly, SpaceX has the money and the motivation that others don't -- NASA would be the favorite, but its budget cuts are holding it back.

Watch the teaser video after the break. Skip along then come back to me. Sharp's RoboHon is so damn adorable, I can't look away from this kawaii singularity. This robot smartphone may be cute, but it's also jammed full of skills and features. A projector, articulated animated arms and legs, talkative but in a charming Japanese robot sort of way. You're old, Pepper the robot. There I said it.

toronto  canada   september 13  ...

Apple's acquired a startup with a keen focus on developing artificial intelligence systems that run locally on your device rather than at an offsite server farm. In Perceptio's case (why does every start-up sound like Aviato now?), it's using deep learning for photo classification rather than other mundane tasks, according to both Bloomberg and ReCode. The latter notes that Facebook and the like do this with cloud processing but Apple is incredibly big on not storing user-data offsite. So it makes sense that the company would be interested in bringing this sort of imaging tech to its handsets and computers -- especially considering that new camera the iPhone 6s series is sporting.

Vodafone's American Dream Ends in Once-in-a-Decade Verizon Deal

New York isn't the only city getting up in Verizon's grill over the provider's reluctance to roll out FiOS across its service areas. The mayors of 13 large US cities (plus a mayoral candidate in Philadelphia) have sent a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam criticizing his company's network practices, especially its lackadaisical attitude toward fiber internet access. The telecom reportedly hasn't met its obligations to offer FiOS in some cities (such as Newark and Pittsburgh), and in other cases (like Albany and Syracuse) is refusing to offer it at all. Verizon isn't just frustrating customers who want high-speed data, the mayors say -- it's reducing competition.

Daily Fantasy Football

Massive ad campaigns have made the rise of daily fantasy hard to ignore, but maybe there's one thing that could put the brakes on the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings: scandal. The issue seems to have started with a forum thread on Rotogrinder calling out "Millionaire Maker" information posted early by a DraftKings employee. Usually, that info is not available until after games start because its impact on each football player's value could help someone set up their roster, and it's come under more scrutiny since that same employee won $350,000 in the same week on competing site FanDuel. Now players wonder who has access to what information, when, and if they're using it to gain an edge by playing on rival daily fantasy sites. DraftKings and FanDuel have responded to the controversy with a joint statement, which is included after the break.

Destiny is getting microtransactions. Unlike item cool-downs or the obnoxious stuff that's intrinsic to all those Facebook distractions that clog up your news feed, however, these purchases aren't game-impacting. No, come October 13th they'll take the form of emotes and other cosmetic items. Developer Bungie stresses repeatedly that these will not impact your performance in any way should you not buy them. "You won't lose a Crucible (adversarial multiplayer) encounter or fail to clear a raid because you didn't have the right" emote equipped, the blog post says.

Android party

Google loves placing Easter eggs in its products. On Android devices, this has been a tradition since the Gingerbread days, wherein a zombie showed up on the screen after repeatedly tapping a menu's setting. That's still the case now, although the results have changed throughout the years to resemble the name of the platform -- Android 4.1, for instance, made room for a bunch of cute, floating jelly beans that you could flick out of your sight. But what's the story behind these Easter eggs? Now you can learn more about it thanks to Nat and Lo, a side-project started by two Google employees (Natalie and Lorraine) to give people an inside look at the company. In the video below, they sit down with Android Framework Engineer Dan Sandler, who shares some insight into Google's long history of Android Easter eggs.

iPhone 6s

With certain exceptions, most iOS-focused malware targets jailbroken devices whose compromised security makes them easy prey. However, there's been concerns that a recent strain of malware, YiSpecter, can attack even 'pure' devices running stock iOS. Do you have to worry about catching a bug online and losing control over your device? Probably not, if you ask Apple. In a statement to The Loop, the company notes that it not only fixed the vulnerability with iOS 8.4, but blocked the apps handing out the offending code. The victims downloaded apps from "untrusted sources" (that is, outside of the App Store) Cupertino adds. In short, Apple believes this is a non-issue as long as you install updates and stay cautious -- and given that more than half of its users are already running iOS 9, it might be right.

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 - Day 3

After several months of waiting, the Winklevoss twins (they who claim to have invented Facebook) have the all-clear to run their Gemini bitcoin exchange. New York state's Department of Financial Services has granted a license to Gemini that lets it run as a chartered trust when it launches on October 8th. This doesn't make it a full-on bank, but it'll have the authority to accept deposits, make loans and serve as an agent for the government across 26 states and Washington, DC. All told, this takes bitcoin one step closer to legitimacy -- important when the virtual currency world still tends to be defined by scandals.

[Image credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch]

When the Surface Pro 3 was announced last spring, Adobe revealed that it was working on touch-friendly versions of its design apps for Windows. At today's Max event, the company announced that its collection "core" apps are ready to accept your swipes and taps on compatible devices, like Microsoft's slate, with new Touch Workspaces. Photoshop and Illustrator already had some touch-based features, but now there's an expanded software lineup that'll let you get hands-on with your work across audio, video, motion graphics and graphic design projects. This means that Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Audition all accept input with your fingers, in addition the regular ol' keyboard, trackpad or stylus. And Photoshop's finger-friendly tools have been revamped to improve performance. Adobe's timing couldn't be better either, as Microsoft is poised to announce some new devices in a matter of hours.

Hong Kong ounterfeit Products

These days, people are resorting to the internet for most of their shopping. Who can blame them; the experience is far more convenient, and often cheaper, than going to traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. One of the problems with this, however, is how easy it is to find and buy counterfeit goods online, and the US Department of Justice wants to put an end to that. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has announced a plan to fight intellectual property crimes in the country, which includes a grant funding of 3.2 million dollars expected to be made available to local and state law enforcement agencies. The idea behind the strategy, led by the FBI, is to work with third-party marketplaces (such as eBay or Amazon) to make sure they have "the right analytical tools and techniques to combat intellectual property concerns on their websites."

Google Now on a Nexus 5

Russia is convinced that Google's policies on pre-installed Android apps are anti-competitive, and it's now drawing a line in the sand. The country's regulators have ordered Google to remove restrictions on bundled third-party apps by November 18th if it wants to avoid stiff fines, which could include up to 15 percent of its Russian revenue from last year. That means allowing device makers to load directly competitive apps and search widgets, even if it means bumping Google's own software to lesser positions on your home screen.