1. TikTok/WeChat saga continues (but worse)
Sorry but the TikTok and WeChat saga is continuing, amid new strangeness which is starting to give off a bit of a foul smell.
In short, the White House managed to get neither TikTok nor WeChat banned on China-owned apps on Sunday, but that’s partly because the White House made its own confusing call on TikTok.
Here’s where we’re at:
- TikTok and WeChat both managed to avoid their Sunday bans: via a presidential blessing for TikTok, and via a judge for WeChat.
- But given the WeChat circumstances are more temporary, the focus is on TikTok, Oracle, Walmart, an IPO, and $5B in taxes for “patriotic education” …but in the US, not China.
- Here’s a fact check from TechCrunch as to where we’re at — TikTok fact checks: US IPO, Chinese ownership, $5B in taxes.
- What the TikTok deal achieved (NYT), which includes how Walmart rushed to react: “A news release published by Walmart on Saturday on its website — then edited later — captured the chaos. “This unique technology eliminates the risk of foreign governments spying on American users or trying to influence them with disinformation,” the company said. “Ekejechb ecehggedkrrnikldebgtkjkddhfdenbhbkuk.” (Really!)
Reactions from the tech community? White-hot in their fury:
- TechCrunch has been at the fore: Gangster capitalism and the American theft of Chinese innovation: “So what are we left with here in the U.S. and increasingly Europe? A narrow-minded policy of blocking external tech innovation to ensure that our sclerotic and entrenched incumbents don’t have to compete with the best in the world. If that isn’t a recipe for economic disaster, I don’t know what is.”
- Also at TechCrunch: The TikTok deal solves quite literally nothing.
- And more scathing: The TikTok saga would be a comedy if it weren’t so tragic (Gizmodo).
2. Would you have tried a rebooted Xperia Play 2? This might be a first glimpse of the canceled slide-out gamepad (Android Authority).
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review: Overpriced and underbaked — the vanilla Note 20 disappoints. (The Note 10 Plus might be better, and way cheaper now!) (Android Authority).
4. It’s time Google took streaming seriously with its new Chromecast (Android Authority).
5. The Android 11 interview: Googlers answer our burning questions: Android engineers Dave Burke and Iliyan Malchev return for the yearly Q&A (Ars Technica).
6. Google brings back humans to take over moderating YouTube content from AI (Digital Trends).
7. Twitter has had its AI decimated by viral tweets over the weekend, as clear evidence showed it favors white faces over any other race, especially notable for how it ignores Black faces: Twitter is investigating its image preview AI (The Verge).
8. Sony apologizes for botched PlayStation 5 pre-orders, with more consoles available soon (Engadget).
On that note, it seems only a quarter or less of PS5 consoles made available are the digital-edition, which Sony may not have expected (Ars Technica). And finishing that line, here’s a great thread with scale mockups showing how the PS5 and the new Xbox consoles look when on your entertainment console, based on their real sizes (Twitter).
9. EV startup Nikola founder Trevor Milton has stepped down after fraud allegations and regulator probes (FT).
10. Behind Facebook’s giant bet on hardware: beating Apple and Google to next-gen tech? (Axios)
11. Marvel’s old-timey new trailer for WandaVision on Disney+ is now out, but no release date yet (YouTube).
12. “What was the first video game you felt was a work of art and not just something to play for fun?” (r/askreddit).
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