BGR 5 April 2018

‘Spyro Reignited Trilogy’ screenshots and release date leak on Amazon

Two months after Kotaku UK published a report declaring that a Spyro the Dragon remaster was in the works, a pair of leaks on Amazon appear to have corroborated that rumor. An Activision listing discovered on Amazon Mexico last night spoiled the surprise, providing a synopsis and release date for Spyro Reignited Trilogy. A subsequent leak on Amazon India offered up even more, including a collection of screenshots. Providing the listings aren't an elaborate prank, Spyro Reignited Trilogy will be available for both PS4 and Xbox One on September 21st of this year. The compilation will feature all three original Spyro games (Spyro the Dragon, Ripto's Rage! and Year of the Dragon) fully remastered in HD with improved controls. Rumors of a Spyro trilogy remaster have been floating around for quite a while, even before the Kotaku piece began making the rounds. In fact, ever since the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy launched in 2017, many PS1-era video game fans have assumed that Spyro has to be right around the corner. It looks like they were right. And while the Amazon listings are all but confirmation of the game's existence, the first hints that something was in the works came earlier this week when IGN received a purple egg in the mail with the message: "Something's about to hatch." It was signed by Falcon McBob, which led them to this dormant Twitter account. It doesn't take a detective to figure out that Activision was probably preparing to make an announcement in the coming days. We'll keep our eyes peeled for an official reveal, but in the meantime, here are some screenshots from Amazon:

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Pixel 3 makes its debut on Google’s Android project site

Google's Pixel smartphone lineup isn't the best-selling smartphone line in the world. In fact, it's nowhere close, with recent estimates suggesting that Google sold just 3.9 million Pixel phones globally in 2017. To put that in context, Apple sells more smartphones than that in a single day when new iPhone models first go on sale. But what the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL lack in sales, they make up for in adoration from hardcore Android fans. That makes sense, of course, since Google's Pixel phones are the only handsets that offer a pure Android experience and receive new software updates as soon as they're made available. Since the current Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are so widely adored by Android fans, it stands to reason that their successors are hotly anticipated. Early details surrounding the Pixel 3 series began to leak not long ago, and now we have another first to report in the long run up to Google's Pixel 3 release. Recent reports revealed a big surprise for Google's unreleased Pixel 3 phones: there will be three of them. In addition to the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL everyone is expecting, Google is also said to be working on a third new Pixel 3 phone that comes with some good news and some bad news. The good news is that this third new Pixel phone will apparently be an affordable Android Go phone, likely filling the void left by Google's dead Nexus smartphone line. The bad news is that it's reportedly only intended for a few emerging markets, and it likely won't be available in the United States. If you're a Google phone fan who's anxious to see how Google's acqui-hire of HTC's smartphone engineering team pans out this year, we've got a tiny bit of news for you on Thursday. For the first time, Google's Pixel 3 has been mentioned on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website's issue tracker. As fans will know, AOSP mentions are always an important point in the leak cycle, and more details surrounding Google's unreleased phones typically follow soon after.. This time around, the Pixel 3 was spotted by a blogger from xda-developers in a commit titled "Cherrypick 'Add device config to decide which Auto Selection Network UI to use.'" Here's the text from the commit: This change added the config because the HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3, and the new Auto Selection Network UI is based on HAL V_1_2. So we set the flag to decide which Auto Selection Network UI should be used based in the device type. It's not terribly exciting, though xda-developers explains that it does make mention of a previously unknown networking feature in Android P. Of course, we're not sure anyone really cares that Google is updating its "scan networks" feature in Android P. Plenty of people care about the Pixel 3 though, and we can expect to see more new details trickle out in the coming weeks and months.

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Today’s top deals: Newest Tile tracker, gigabit cable modem, robot vacuum, $20 Alexa speaker, more

We've got a terrific roundup of daily deals for you to check out on Thursday, beginning with a great deal on Tile's newest Tile Sport Bluetooth trackers with industry-leading 200-ft range! Other great bargains from today's list include the lowest price on the most popular portable Bluetooth speaker we've ever covered, an extra few bucks off the popular portable charger with a built-in magnetic Apple Watch charger, a $17 LED bulb with a built-in wireless speaker, $10 off the fan-favorite Crock-Pot Express Crock, more than $100 off one of our favorite robot vacuums, an Alexa speaker that's just like the Echo Dot for just $19.99, a $10 discount on a gigabit cable modem that'll save you up to $120 annually when you return your old modem, $60 off a Roku 4, and plenty more. See all of today's best bargains below.

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Are Apple’s rumored new iPhone features Android ripoffs, or revolutionary?

After three consecutive years of iterative iPhone updates that included almost no design changes, Apple in 2017 released a completely redesigned iPhone. No, I'm not talking about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which recycle Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus designs for the fourth consecutive year. I'm talking about the iPhone X, which is a completely reimagining of the iPhone. Now that the wheel has been reinvented, however, Apple is expected in 2018 to once again release iterative iPhone updates. Things will get a bit more interesting this year if Apple does indeed release two additional new iPhone models alongside its iPhone X successor, but all three phones are expected to feature the same design as the current-generation iPhone X. But if we look a bit further down the road, the company may be working on new iPhone models that are unlike anything we've ever seen before from Apple. I first discussed them on Wednesday, but I wanted to quickly revisit the topic following a wave of presumptive coverage from tech blogs. Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that Apple's iPhone engineers are working on some pretty interesting things that could hit the market in the not-too-distant future. As I covered yesterday, touchless gesture control features are reportedly being developed for upcoming iPhones, and Apple is supposedly even testing a new iPhone design that is curved instead of flat, like every iPhone that has been released so far. Now, it's important to acknowledge that those are the only two facts pertaining to Apple's future plans that were included in that Bloomberg report (facts is italicized because the report cites only one anonymous source for each of those claims). Everything else was background, filler, or speculation, like the notion that Apple might be considering a curved iPhone design in order to "differentiate design" in a "crowded marketplace." Coverage on other sites also included no additional facts, only speculation. There's nothing wrong with speculation, of course, but a narrative developed on many sites that seems like it could be way off base. The basic idea presented in posts like this one from my favorite blog Gizmodo (other than BGR, of course) is that Apple's touchless gesture control and curved screens aren't novel new ideas. Instead, they're similar to things that were done on Android phones years ago. This may be true. Apple may be cooking up pointless touchless gesture controls like we've seen on earlier smartphones. Apple might also be toying with curved phone designs merely to "differentiate" its phones in a "crowded marketplace." Does that really sound like Apple, though? Does the company ever really do silly things like just to be different? Would Apple release a curved phone to differentiate itself after seeing that no one liked Samsung's curved phone in 2013 or LG's curved phones in 2014 and 2015? That sounds... unlikely. What am I getting at here? In a word, chill. Until more light is shed on the internal projects at Apple that Bloomberg revealed, we have absolutely no idea why Apple is working on these new iPhone features, or how they'll tie in with other new iPhone features. As I mentioned in yesterday's coverage, these two features may actually be releated. Apple has been working for years on all sorts of exciting new tech, including displays with 3D holographic capabilities. What if Apple is developing touchless gesture support in order to allow people to interact with objects that appear as though they're floating in front of the screen? What if Apple is testing curved iPhone designs so that the sensors reading these touchless controls can detect gestures performed so close to the display? We don't know, and we won't know anytime soon. Until we get more information, however, let's try not to jump to any conclusions.

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IBM is doing something with quantum computing that’s never been done before

There’s no doubt that one of the most important things happening in the world of tech right now is quantum computing. It’s also one of the least understood aspects of modern computing. It sounds complicated and boring, and it lacks consumer-facing applications that could make quantum computing popular with regular people. But the technology is evolving at a fast pace, and IBM, one of the pioneers in the business, might fix that. IBM announced on Friday that it is making its quantum computers available to a variety of startups in various fields, giving them access for the first time ever to the pricey and highly advanced tech, while simultaneously helping IBM accelerate its own innovations in the quantum computing space. At the first IBM Q Summit in Silicon Valley, IBM revealed the names of the first startups that will join the IBM Q Network and receive cloud-based access to IBM’s real quantum computers and other resources. These companies will then be able to run quantum computing experiments, test the capabilities of IBM quantum computers, and collaborate with IBM researchers and other IBM Q Network organizations on the development of their quantum computing projects. Resources including the IBM Q Experience, a cloud-based platform for quantum experimentation and learning, and QISKit, an open source quantum software developer kit for real quantum computing hardware, will also be available to the startups or to anyone interested in the field. IBM says that in just one year, more than 80,000 users have run more than 3 million remote executions on cloud quantum computing resources with the help of the SDK. Moreover, more than 60 research papers have been written with the help of the technology. All that still sounds boring to regular computer users, as long as the actual benefits of quantum computing aren’t explained with the help of actual real-world applications. That’s hopefully where these startups come in. With IBM’s help, they may end up redefining various aspects of current computing. Here are the startups joining IBM Q Network today (our emphasis on their fields of interest): Zapata Computing – Based in Cambridge, MA, Zapata Computing is a quantum software, applications and services company developing algorithms for chemistry, machine learning, security, and error correction Strangeworks – Based in Austin, TX and founded by William Hurley, Strangeworks is a quantum computing software company designing and delivering tools for software developers and systems management for IT Administrators and CIOs. QxBranch – Headquartered in Washington, D.C., QxBranch delivers advanced data analytics for finance, insurance, energy, and security customers worldwide. QxBranch is developing tools and applications enabled by quantum computing with a focus on machine learning and risk analytics. Quantum Benchmark – Quantum Benchmark is a venture-backed software company led by a team of the top research scientists and engineers in quantum computing, with headquarters in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. Quantum computers require specialized software to mitigate the inevitable errors that arise during a quantum computation, which will lead to incorrect output. Quantum Benchmark provides solutions that enable error characterization, error mitigation, error correction and performance validation for quantum computing hardware. Quantum Benchmark’s True-Q™ technology helps users determine the quantum advantage that is achievable with any given quantum computing hardware for any application of interest. QC Ware – Based in Palo Alto, CA, QC Ware develops hardware-agnostic enterprise software solutions running on quantum computers. QC Ware’s investors include Airbus Ventures, DE Shaw Ventures and Alchemist, and it has relationships with NASA and other government agencies. QC Ware won a NSF grant, and its customers include Fortune 500 industrial and technology companies. Q-CTRL – Our hardware agnostic platform – Black Opal – gives you the ability to design and deploy the most effective controls to suppress errors in your quantum hardware before they accumulate, accelerating your roadmap to functional systems. Based in Sydney, Australia, Q-CTRL is backed by Main Sequence Ventures and Horizons Ventures. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) – Established in 2014, CQC is a leading independent quantum computing company combining expertise in Quantum Information Processing, Quantum Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Chemistry, Optimization and Pattern Recognition. CQC designs solutions such as a proprietary platform agnostic compiler that will allow developers and users to benefit from Quantum Computing even in its earliest forms. CQC also has a growing focus in Quantum Technologies that relate to encryption and security. 1QBit – Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, 1QBit builds quantum and quantum-inspired software designed to solve the world’s most demanding computational challenges. The company’s hardware-agnostic platforms and services are designed to enable the development of applications which scale alongside the advances in both classical and quantum computers. 1QBit is backed by Fujitsu Limited, CME Ventures, Accenture, Allianz and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Head to IBM's site for more info.

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This $12 Bluetooth tracker isn’t just cheaper than the Tile Mate, it’s better

The Tile Mate is a great little Bluetooth tracking tag that definitely helped popularize this new product category. The problem with the Tile Mate, just like every other Tile tracker, is that it’s not rechargeable. When the battery dies, you have to just throw the device away and buy another one. Even though return customers get a discount on new purchases, it’s still a tough pill to swallow. If you wish there was a better way, it’s time to stop wishing. The nonda AIKO Finder lasts for about a month per charge, and then you can just plug it in for a little bit to power it back up. On top of that, it’s cheaper than the Tile Mate to boot, with a 4-pack dropping the price to under $12 each! Stop throwing money away, literally, and check it out. Here are some bullet points from the product page: [Rechargeable & Low Battery Notification] Over one month battery life. [Easy Setup & Intuitive App] Download the free iOS/Android app with short video tutorials. [Find Your Lost Items & Phone] Tap “Find” on the AIKO App to make AIKO beep. Double press the AIKO device to make your phone ring. [Last Known Location & Community Search] Use “Community Search” to leverage other nonda users’ help to find your lost item. [What's Included] An AIKO device, a micro USB cable, a user manual, one-year warranty, responsive customer service (2017 The Stevie Award Winner). Or buy a 4-pack and you’ll get an even better price!

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Of course Facebook has been spying on your Messenger chats

Facebook came out swinging on Wednesday, revealing a bunch of changes that will be made to the social network in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Continuing its apologetic tour, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg made plenty of disturbing revelations about the way Facebook hasn’t been protecting your data. 
Zuckerberg said that a maximum number of 87 million people may be affected by the Cambridge Analytica data gathering apps. He also said that all 2 billion users should assume that malicious individuals could have scraped their profile data, if certain settings were enabled, revealing that sophisticated attacks were detected on the network, but Facebook chose not to answer them until now. And, of course, Facebook has been reading your Messenger chats. This isn’t really news. Facebook first hinted about the capability a few days ago when Zuckerberg talked to Vox — that’s the same interview during which the exec took several shots at Apple’s Tim Cook. Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s automatic systems can surface content that doesn’t abide by its rules. Like the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “In that case, our systems detect what’s going on,” Zuckerberg said, explaining that Facebook detected that people were trying to send sensational messages through Messenger. “We stop those messages from going through.” Facebook further explained to Bloomberg that Messenger conversations are private, but Facebook does scan them to prevent abuse. “For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery, or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,” a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman said. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.” Facebook says it doesn’t really read the contents of those chats, and that it doesn’t use the data to target you with ads. On any given day, that should be enough from a tech company whom you trust. But how do we really know that’s the case? One could argue that it’s great to see Facebook step up its game against malicious behavior, including hate, pornography and even attempted malware attacks. Of course, it is. Also, Facebook already tracks your online activity, whether you’re a user or not, which can reveal even more relevant information for ad targeting. The problem, again, is that Facebook hasn’t been forthcoming about these features and many people have no idea that everything they may type inside Messenger is screened by Facebook bots, and flagged messages can even be read by moderators. On the other hand, let's not forget that Google, which is probably watching very closely Facebook’s scandal unfold, has been scanning your Gmail for years and serving you ads based on it. Google announced last summer that it’ll stop the practice for ads. But it’ll keep scanning email for malware attacks, and to offer smart features, like Smart Reply. Finally, you can turn on full, end-to-end encryption on Messenger, but you must do so for every chat you want to keep private. That's the Secret Conversation feature.

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Everyone who has ever used Facebook should just assume their data may have been hijacked

Facebook on Wednesday came forward with several announcements meant to show the world how much it really care about its users and their privacy. The company revealed that as many as 87 million users may have been affected by the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, and announced new measures meant to improve data security going forward. Mark Zuckerberg also confirmed that all changes Facebook is about to make in Europe will be applied worldwide, after initially saying that Facebook will honor the guidelines “in spirit” in non-European markets. Tucked away in one of its announcements, however, was a really annoying revelation. That malicious individuals may have been scraping the data of Facebook users without their knowledge. And nobody is safe. Facebook’s chief technology officer penned a blog post titled An Update on Our Plans to Restrict Data Access on Facebook , in which he explained the various things Facebook is doing to prevent apps from accessing certain user data. Buried in the post was a startling revelation, that anybody with access to your phone number or email address may have used that knowledge to scrape public profile information. It all starts benign enough, explaining why the “search and account recovery” feature is useful. Search and Account Recovery: Until today, people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them. This has been especially useful for finding your friends in languages which take more effort to type out a full name, or where many people have the same name. In Bangladesh, for example, this feature makes up 7% of all searches. But then things quickly take a turn for the worst (emphasis ours): However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well. Wait a second there, Facebook. What scale? What sophistication? This particular type of attack can’t have been discovered in the weeks since the Cambridge Analytica revelations. This must have been going on for quite a time, and it looks like Facebook chose to acknowledge it now, to get it out of the way. Was it the Russians? Is this type of profile scraping connected to any other hacks, say the Yahoo data breaches that compromised all of its accounts? Sure, it may not sound that dangerous. What could have these malicious individuals used the profile data for? And it's hardly a warning that all 2 billion accounts were compromised by the same attacker. But it still goes to show how lax Facebook has been with your data if something like this was possible, especially when hit by attackers capable of deploying sophisticated attacks at scale. That's what's alarming here. Also disturbing is the fact that Facebook doesn't elaborate on these type of scraping attacks. Zuckerberg confirmed it all in his chat with the media: In terms of sophistication, this is stuff that I’ve already said on some of the other answers, so I’ll try to keep this short. We had basic protections in place to prevent rate-limiting, making sure that accounts couldn’t do a whole lot of searches. But we did see a number of folks who cycled through many thousands of IPs, hundreds of thousands of IP addresses to abade the rate-limiting system, and that wasn’t a problem we really had a solution to. So now, that’s partially why the answer we came to is to shut this down even though a lot of people are getting a lot of use out of it. That’s not something we necessarily want to have going on. In terms of the scale, I think the thing people should assume, given this is a feature that’s been available for a while and a lot of people use it in the right way, but we’ve also seen some scraping, I would assume if you had that setting turned on, that someone at some point has accessed your public information in this way. He also elaborated on the kind of sophistication that was used to scrape data. But I think what was also clear is that the methods of rate limiting this weren’t able to prevent malicious actors who cycled through hundreds of thousands of different IP address and did a relatively small number of queries for each one. Given that and what we know today, it just makes sense to shut that down.

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