PCR Five for Friday (31/03/2017)

Five for Friday is a weekly feature to give a brief roundup of our top five stories from the week that you might have missed. Think we left anything out? Let us know your favourite stories of the week by pinging us a tweet @pcr_online.

Encryption ban would be ‘waste of government time and money’

After Home Secretary Amber Rudd called for a ban on end-to-end encryption, experts have said that the UK government would be ‘wasting its time and money’. Alec Muffett, technical advisor for the Open Rights Group (who previously worked at Facebook), claims that enforcing the existing legislation will ‘never’ work for the government.

“They may buy some time forcing people to pay lip-service to it,” he said. “Eventually they will lose the battle because they will never coerce the global open-source community to comply. Government time and money would be better spent elsewhere – pursuing criminals through ‘human’ means and by building upon metadata – than in attempting to combat ‘secure communication across the internet’ as an abstract entity.”

More evidence of PC recovery

Compal Electronics president Ray Chen announced on an investor’s call that the company expects its notebooks and desktop shipments to grow 10 per cent year on year in 2017, to 40 million units. In addition, he also noted that the company expects the shortage of DRAM and SSDs will remain this year. Chen said that the SSD shortage is due to the market shifting away from HDDs, and DRAM production is down to vendors who are reducing supply in order to inflate prices. 

Samsung reveals Galaxy S8 and S8+

After months of anticipation (and leaks), Samsung finally announced details of its latest flagship smartphones: the Galaxy S8 and S8+. New features for the phone include a new voice assistant called Bixby, facial and retina recognition and a new-look elongated screen.

We also rounded up some of the best deals that are going around for the phone over here.

Toshiba receives offer for chip unit

Cash-strapped Toshiba has received its first official offer, as it attempts to sell off a number of assets to recoup a multi-billion dollar loss made on its nuclear arm Westinghouse. US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has joint forces with US chip manufacturer Broadcom to present Toshiba with a $17.9 billion offer for its profitable chip unit. About 10 bidders are said to be weighing up an offer, but as it stands a Silver Lake-Broadcom deal is the only official bid to be made.

Amazon investigating VR and AR homeware stores

The online retailer is reportedly looking into launching brick-and-mortar homeware stores that would utilise virtual and augmented reality to show customers what the products would look like in their homes. 

Amazon would not be the first to launch a retail store that utilises VR and AR, with US B&Q/Homebase equivalent Lowes implementing what it refers to as its"Holoroom How To". This essentially shows customers how to use the retailer’s products for DIY jobs using an HTC Vive VR headset. The retailer also recently launched an AR app that allows users to navigate their way around the store. 

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