NFS 2017 to Feature Offline Single-Player, EA’s Ghost Games Reveals

EA-owned Ghost Games has confirmed that a new Need for Speed game will release later this year, with the return of a feature whose omission had infuriated many: the option to play offline.

“You will be able to play through a single player experience completely offline,” the developers said in an official blog post. “Before you ask, and we know you will, this does mean you will be able to pause the game.”

In two previous entries, Need for Speed had become an always-online experience, in a bid to merge the single-player and multiplayer experience. It seems EA is willing to backtrack on that mission, though there’s every chance that you will lose out on some single-player features while you’re offline. We won’t know for sure until EA Play, the company’s E3 off-shoot, rolls around in June.

On the face of it, it’s still a nice acceptance by the studio, after delivering two NFS titles – 2013’s Rivals, and 2015’s eponymous reboot – that essentially held you hostage.
Alongside, Ghost Games also revealed a few other details of their new racing game. For starters, the new NFS will be playable in daylight, as opposed to the 2015 instalment that took place entirely at night/dawn.NFS 2017 to Feature Offline Single-Player, EA's Ghost Games Reveals

Secondly, car customisation will stick around after making a return. “It’s not going away and it will play as strong a role as ever as we move forward into the next game and beyond,” it added.

In addition to that, it will stick with its open-world policy: “Whether you’re checking out your freshly customised ride or smoking the competition in an event up in the canyons, you’re going to want a world that not only looks beautiful, but offers you the space in which to do the things you want.”

And lastly, dirt racing also looks to be a part of NFS 2017. “We’re dialling up the action and allowing you to tear up the tarmac, and dirt, to your heart’s content,” Ghost Games said.


CIA Reveals It Was Hacked by an Insider Network of Snack Thieves


The Central Intelligence Agency admitted this week that it had been compromised for months in 2013 by a network of high-tech snack thieves.

A report released this week shows the premier US intelligence body discovered that insider hackers had stolen more than $3,300 worth of potato chips, chocolate bars and other snacks from its vending machines.

The culprits weren’t undercover agents or veteran Al-Qaeda chasers, but instead “contractors” – of which the CIA has thousands, doing everything from terror analysis to servicing the machines that answer American spies’ junk food needs.

A CIA Inspector General’s report on the candy cabal was released following a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed journalist Jason Leopold.

Unsurprisingly for the CIA, the report is heavily redacted – no names, or sources and methods behind the investigation. But it shows that an unidentified contractor figured out how to get snacks without paying.CIA Reveals It Was Hacked by an Insider Network of Snack Thieves

The machines took stored value payment cards from the FreedomPay company.
The contractor figured out that if you disconnect the cable that connects the machines with FreedomPay’s cloud-based payment systems, they would accept a card that has no more funds.

The culprit told friends who also disconnected the machines’ cords to download snacks for free.

But, of course, the agency finally caught up. After suspicions were raised, CIA officials put surveillance cameras on the machines, and figured out the scam.

The main perpetrator “admitted to originating the idea of how to effect the thefts based on his knowledge of computer networks,” according to the report.

Members of the cabal were rounded up, interrogated and then escorted from the building and fired by their employers.


Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery


Earlier this month, Samsung made a major announcementas the company said that it will be releasing refurbished version of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, called Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition. While the South Korean conglomerate said that it will be using components from the Galaxy Note 7 in the new model, the iFixit teardown of the new handset has revealed that it is the same old Galaxy Note 7 albeit with a new smaller battery.

In its note regarding the Galaxy Note Fan Edition teardown, iFixit says, “Beyond batteries, we’ve got exactly the same phone: no evidence of the rumoured processor bumps, and no surprises.”

galaxy note fan edition teardown ifixit story2 Galaxy Note Fan Edition Story 2

Photo Credit: iFixit

In comparison with the 13.48Wh (3500mAh) battery on the original Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy Note Fan Edition comes with a smaller 12.32Wh (3200mAh) battery. Notably, the new battery even weighs less than the one on original Galaxy Note 7. While the latter came with a battery that weighed 47.7 grams, the battery on Galaxy Note Fan Edition weighs in at 45.4 grams.

 Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition Teardown Reveals It as a Galaxy Note 7 With a Smaller Battery

To recall, Samsung said that it will only sell 400,000 units of the Galaxy Note Fan Edition in South Korea and will decide later whether to release the smartphone elsewhere or not. The smartphone was priced by the company at KRW 699,000 (roughly Rs. 39,700) and was released in South Korea on July 7.

To recall, Samsung had to recall around 3 million Galaxy Note 7 units due to reported explosions later attributed to faulty batteries. We will have to see if the company will introduced the refurbished units elsewhere on the globe as well, with a recent report claiming the company had not ruled out such a move.


iPhone 8 does NOT exist, new Apple leak reveals


The iPhone 8 does not exist.

Apple will not launch a next-generation smartphone with the long-rumoured iPhone 8 branding this September, it has been claimed.

Instead, the new flagship phone will be marketed as iPhone Edition, according to a new report from reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The iPhone Edition brand would reportedly be used to signal that the smartphone is a higher-end model, similar to the top-of-the-range Apple Watch, which also carries the Edition moniker. Previous rumours suggest iPhone Edition could start at an eye-watering $1,000, roughly £820.

The latest report from Mac Otakara also claims Apple is still testing a number of different prototypes for the new flagship iPhone.

Apple iPhone 8 will debut a brand-new all-glass look, with a curved OLED display and no physical Home Button

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different display technologies and materials.Prototypes being tested in Cupertino include some iPhone Edition models with an LCD display, while others use an AMOLED panel.

Other prototypes are being passed around the Apple campus with and without physical Home Buttons, the report adds.

Apple is also believed to be experimenting with glass, aluminium and white ceramic chassis for the device.

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass bodyIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass body

In fact, the other features Apple is reportedly certain of are the new five-inch display size, wireless charging and dual camera set-up.That display size refers to the primary touchscreen area, which will be around 5.15 inches, according to the latest whispers from Cupertino.

Meanwhile, the rest of the touchscreen – which will reportedly bleed to the very edges of the phone – will be reserved for a row of virtual on-screen buttons.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the overall footprint of the smartphone will be similar to that of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, which all have a 4.7-inch LED display.

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreenDRIBBLE • ALHASAN HUSNI

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreen

Apple purportedly plans to debut an edge-to-edge display in an effort to keep the physical size of the device down, while simultaneously increasing the size of the display.Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is reportedly designing the phone so that it resembles “a single sheet of glass”.

Apple is hotly-tipped to ditch the physical Home Button from the front of the smartphone, so that it can reduce the bezels around the display.

But the dramatic changes planned for the next iPhone will not just be surface-deep.

According to a new research note from UBS, Apple has put together a team of more than 1,000 engineers working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology ready for the iPhone.

Augmented Reality sees artificial elements – like video footage, CGI animation or GPS data – placed on-top of real-world elements.

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprintIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprint

Pokémon Go is probably the best known example, which lets players use the camera to search for CGI monsters within the world around them.Apple CEO Tim Cook is very interested in AR and has spoken at length about the potential for the technology.

“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone,” Mr Cook said in an interview earlier this year.

“The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.”

According to Business Insider, Apple now “may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR”.

The same UBS research note claims Apple will include Augmented Reality technology inside its best-selling smartphone as early as the iPhone 8, or iPhone Edition.

If Apple keeps to the same schedule as previous years, the new iPhone will be launched in September.Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple will incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, usually located in physical Home Button, beneath the glass display in the next iPhone.

According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition functionality will not allow for its revolutionary all-glass design.

Instead, Mr Kuo claims, the new fingerprint sensor will require optical sensors to read the print resting on the display.

The complicated new display set-up, which presumably will still need to incorporate the pressure-sensitivity debuted with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will require a number of new, custom solutions from the panel manufacturers.

However the KGI Securities research report states that Apple has enough clout within the industry to get the system built ready for the new iPhone.

Alongside the new fingerprint recognition technology, the iPhone Edition could also see Apple introduce facial tracking sensors into its flagship smartphone, Mr Kuo has claimed.

These could be used to scan users’ faces to help verify identification.

Concept images reflect Apple's rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home ButtonREDDIT • FLOCKMANN • CONCEPTSiPHONE

Concept images reflect Apple’s rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home Button

Mr Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will “ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system” in an effort to make the iPhone even more secure.”However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution,” he writes.

Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly looking to distance itself from the curved aluminium design language it has used for the past three generations of iPhone, first introduced with iPhone 6.

With the Home Button gone, Apple can extended the display to the bottom of the phone – reducing the chunky bezels around the screen, and shrinking the overall footprint of the device.

Apple is expected to debut its new industrial design language early next year with a refresh of its iPad range.


Galaxy Note 8 Leak Reveals Samsung’s Expensive Smartphone

Galaxy Note 8 information has spread and even Samsung is ‘accidentally’ leaking its own phone. But we might just have our best look at it yet from a good source…

Ice universe, which previously nailed the Galaxy S8 designin February, has issued a matter of fact tweet stating “Yes, this is Note8.” and attaching three detailed images of the phone’s fascia.

Galaxy Note 8 shown off in three new renders Ice universe

Galaxy Note 8 shown off in three new renders

These tie-in with claimed press renders shown off by SlashLeaks last week and reveal a smartphone with a massive Infinity Display (expected to be 6.3-inches), no physical home button and an overall design that has slightly sharper angles than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

If Ice universe proves to be as accurate with the Galaxy Note 8 as it was with the Galaxy S8, I suspect users are going to be very happy indeed.

The only downside? These shots don’t show the most controversial part of the Galaxy Note 8: its back.

Popular case maker Olixar is already selling Galaxy Note 8 cases which show Samsung failed to integrate the fingerprint reader into its display as expected, instead placing it in a position only slightly less silly than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus.

Olixar's retail Galaxy Note 8 cases all clearly show the fingerprint sensor beside the cameraOlixar

Olixar’s retail Galaxy Note 8 cases all clearly show the fingerprint sensor beside the camera

Ice universe’s images also don’t answer the question about whether Samsung will remove the headphone jack from the Galaxy Note 8, but thankfully other sources have cleared this up.

But I do have one concern: the renders Ice universe has depict a battery percentage sitting between 14 and 15%. Official Samsung renders would never (and have never) shown the battery being so low. That said this likely means Ice universe is rendering the shots from information it has and it makes no claim the images are directly from Samsung.

With time running out before release, Samsung will be hoping Apple’s iPhone 8 problems are as big as feared and Google’s Pixel 2 XL doesn’t look as great as leaks suggest. But regardless (and despite its extreme pricing), the Galaxy Note 8 appears destined to be one of the best phones of 2017.


Samsung ‘Accidentally’ Reveals Galaxy Note 8

It isn’t long now until the Galaxy Note 8 launches, and given the radical changes coming it seems even Samsung can’t resist ‘accidentally’ teasing this phone…

Using the company’s official Twitter account for its Exynos chipsets, today Samsung tweeted a promotion for the Exynos 8895 – the chipset used in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. But the phone used in the promotion was neither of these well known flagships.

Galaxy Note 8 based on multiple leaks

Concept Creator

Galaxy Note 8 based on multiple leaks. Image credit: Concept Creator

Instead Samsung gave us a good look at a new smartphone with an Infinity Display which has even smaller bezels than its two flagships. A smartphone which matches up almost exactly with the leaked renders, schematics and cases for the Galaxy Note 8 and which also features the curved edge display expected to debut for the first time this year on the Note range.

Samsung promotes the Exynos 8895 with the Galaxy Note 8?


Samsung promotes the Exynos 8895 with the Galaxy Note 8?

Needless to say, the tweet set Twitter users into a frenzy. In the meantime Samsung has kept quiet about the image while – crucially – not removing it.

Both moves are understandable. The ‘accidental’ reveal builds interest ahead of the launch while the silence on adds to it. It’s Smart Marketing 101.

Furthermore the angle of the handset Samsung shows does not answer the most contentious aspect about it: whether the fingerprint sensor will be integrated into the bottom of the display or not. Multiple leaks suggest Samsung hasn’t been able to pull this off and it will remain rear mounted in a slightly less ridiculous place.

Olixar's Galaxy Note 8 range is now on sale

Mobile Fun

Olixar’s Galaxy Note 8 range is now on sale

Were this the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus or even just a generic image then Samsung would have surely have had no issue showing this part of the phone. Yes it could be a coincidence, but it would be one heck of a coincidence just a month from launch and two months before Apple’s headline grabbing (if troubled) 10th anniversary iPhone is unveiled.

Samsung is not that naive.

Of course it isn’t just the iPhone 8 which Samsung has to worry about. With Google’s heavily redesigned Pixel 2 XL breaking cover this week and arriving in a similar time frame it means the smartphone wars are reaching boiling point. And with such competition comes the need for an occasional ‘accident’…


Samsung Galaxy S8 Drop Test Reveals Corners Can Easily Be Shattered


Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are undoubtedly gorgeous looking smartphones. The near bezel-less new flagships from the South Korean giant will go on sale in India from Friday. These smartphones look so good that one would want to hold on to them carefully lest they should drop. But for those of you wondering how they would hold up if they ever did manage to slip out of your hand, you may want to check out this new drop test.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 was put through a drop test by German testers from The smartphone was put through their special testing drum that lets the phone fall from 80 centimetres over and over again. This sort of test makes sure that the handset is tested for durability thoroughly from all sides. The site claims that there have been smartphones that have survived through a 100 falls without any major damages.Samsung Galaxy S8 Drop Test Reveals Corners Can Easily Be Shattered

The drop test with the Galaxy S8, however, did not end well. As pleasing as the design of the flagship is, they do come with certain tradeoffs. The edge-to-edge display with rounded corners makes the Galaxy S8 quite weak against accidental drops. The test managed to shatter the corners of smartphone’s Gorilla Glass 5 screen after 50 falls. Notably, the touchscreen continued to work and the back panel managed to hold up just fine.

The latest drop test reveals that the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are a lot more fragile thanks to their Infinity Display. The screen can be shattered on accidental drops and replacing it can cost you around 25 percent more than the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Previously, the Galaxy S8 was put through a series of durability tests by JerryRig Everything. The phone underwent scratch, burn, and bend tests and managed to survive most of them impressively.


New leak reveals Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus specs, features and pricing

We already know that the Meizu Pro 7 will be launching on July 26 along with its Plus variant. The smartphones are also expected to go one sale on sale on August 4.

Being the flagship devices, both the smartphones are said to come with stunning design as well as a powerful specs lineup. The models will have the same specs sheet, the exception being the display size. We have already seen a countless number of rumors and leaks pertaining the Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus, and yet again the publication has come up with some new information. It has also revealed the pricing details.New leak reveals Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus specs and pricing

Going by the information, the base model of the Pro 7 will be sold for 2799 Yuan ($409) while the higher version will carry a price tag of 3299 Yuan (around $484). On the other hand, the Meizu Pro 7 Plus will start at 3299 yuan ($484) and the higher version will be priced at 3799 yuan ($555).

Talking about the specifications, the latest leak says that the Meizu Pro 7 will sport a 5.5-inch display contradicting previous reports claiming of a 5.2-inch display. Keeping in line with the other leaks, the new leak also says that the device will be powered by a MeidaTek Helio X30 chip.

On the optics front, the smartphone is likely to feature a rear dual camera setup consisting of Sony IMX386 and IMX286 sensors. In addition, the Pro 7 is likely to feature a 16MP front-facing camera, 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C Port, Meizu’s patent mBack home button and the fast charging technology.

Coming to the most highlighted aspect, both Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus will come with a small-sized secondary ink display at the rear panel, which will probably show notifications for missed calls, SMS, chat messages along with date and time.