This Guy Accidentally Took a Photo That Crashes Android Smartphones

Basilisk Stare

Amateur photographer Gaurav Agrawal had no idea his spectacular picture of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana could end up mercilessly crashing countless Android phones.

But if it was set as the wallpaper on smartphones running the Android 10 operating system, the phones started acting up, switching off and on repeatedly.

“I didn’t do anything intentionally,” Agrawal told the BBC. “I’m sad that people ended up having issues.”

The image, edited in Adobe Lightroom and uploaded to Flickr, didn’t seem to cause any issues on iPhones. But thanks to a tiny snafu during the export of the image, Agrawal unintentionally turned his gorgeous landscape photo into an Android-killing threat.

Color Spaces

So what the hell happened? Agrawal uploaded the image in “RGB,” a color model that Android 10 phones just couldn’t cope with — rather than the far more commonplace standard RGB (sRGB), as Twitter user Romain Guy explained. “RGB is a color model, not a color space,” Guy wrote.

A deep dive into the code on Twitter by Android developer Dylan Roussel revealed that the color space may just not be supported on certain devices.

“I hoped my photograph would have gone ‘viral’ for a good reason, but maybe that’s for another time,” Agrawal told the BBC.

READ MORE: ‘How my photo ended up breaking Android phones’ [BBC]

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