Surge Snippets – Stuff you might have missed this week

It’s been a crazy week out there but we’re hoping the weekend gives us all a breather. So  we’re gonna kick back with a cold beer and get ourselves up to speed with whatever’s new on Netflix. More importantly, we’re certainly not gonna be putting images sent over Whatsapp as our Android phone wallpapers. Why? Keep on reading to see what we’re talking about…

Sony delays PS5 reveal event

Sony was supposed to take the wraps off the PlayStation 5 this week, but they’ve now put this on hold citing the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd. In a message posted on the PlayStation Facebook page, Sony attributed their decision this not being “a time of celebration”. While there’s no news on when the grand reveal will now take place, we hope the actual launch goes ahead as planned – in a financial statement released in early May, Sony said that despite ‘challenges’, the PlayStation 5 was on course for a launch in the 2020 holiday season.

VW to invest $2.6 billion in Argo AI

German automaker Volkswagen AG has invested $2.6 billion in Argo AI, making it the second auto industry giant (after Ford) to grab a stake in the Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle startup. Under the terms of the deal, VW will be investing $1 billion in cash and will also be handing over its Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit (valued at $1.6 billion) to Argo, which will be setting up its European headquarters at AID’s premises in Munich.           

OnePlus and McLaren end tie-up

Petrolheads, there’s some bad news for you: OnePlus and Mclaren have called off their partnership, which means no more McLaren co-branded versions of OnePlus devices! This was first noticed by a Redditor, but even as lots of folks were hoping this was only a web page publishing snafu, McLaren themselves confirmed that the partnership was over. If you’d still like to buy a McLaren-branded phone, hurry up and you still might be able to find yourself a OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition!

Sorry freeloaders, no encryption on Zoom for you

Zoom’s taken the world by storm thanks to the pandemic forcing us all to work from home. Office meetings, school lessons, college lectures, family get-togethers- it’s all on Zoom. Even established stalwarts like Google (Meet, once known as Hangouts), Facebook (Whatsapp and Messenger), and Microsoft (Skype) haven’t seen the kind of uptake as Zoom has. But despite Zoom having responded quickly to incidents of unwelcome interruptions during video calls by introducing new security measures, it seems their future plans to add end-to-end encryption don’t extend to free accounts – In a quarterly earnings call this week, founder and CEO Eric Yuan made it clear that they didn’t want to make end-to-end encryption available to free users, but would restrict it to paying customers:  “Because we also want to work together, see, with FBI, with local law enforcement, in case some people they use Zoom for a bad purpose, right?”

Android 11 Beta delayed, but gets pushed out to a few devices

As we saw with Sony’s grand PS5 reveal, the widespread protests in the US have also led to the postponement of the Android 11 Beta release. But someone at Google’s OTA team didn’t get the memo, it seems, as a handful of users reported having the beta release pushed to their devices. And yes, as you’d expect, there’s more new stuff coming our way, and XDA-Developers’ Mishaal Rahman has summed it all up in this Twitter thread.

Lenovo’s targeting the workplace with its Mirage VR S3 headset

Lenovo has showcased its Mirage VR S3 headset, which seems to be targeted at businesses and will be available by the third quarter of this year. Features include a 4K display, integrated audio, an easy-clean design, and support for Lenovo’s ThinkReality enterprise AR / VR platform. The Mirage VR S3 will also form the centrepiece of the Lenovo VR Classroom 2, which brings VR and AR apps to middle and high school classrooms. 

This wallpaper makes Android phones crash

A user on Twitter recently issued a warning about an photo of an idyllic sunset at a lake that was able to soft-brick Samsung phones when set as wallpaper. Now, it seems that this image can freeze up just about any Android phone – including Android 10 devices that are up to date with all the latest patches. Turns out that this is a bug that has to do with how Android handles the colour space in a photo. This image somehow causes Android to throw a fit. And since it’s set as the wallpaper, you’ll end up getting stuck in a bootloop with no way out but a factory reset. A fix has reportedly been added to AOSP, but it’ll take ages (and that’s the best case scenario) for it to arrive on your device. Till then, be very careful about where you get your device wallpapers from!

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